NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Exploring Our Natural Wonders

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country and visit some of our most beautiful national parks and mountain ranges. These include Rocky Mountain National Park, The Great Tetons, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To close out the year, I wanted to do something special. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I decided to take a camping trip to Yosemite during the week of Thanksgiving. After hearing stories and seeing pictures of Yosemite’s famous locations like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Camp 4, I knew I had to see it for myself.

The drive to Yosemite itself was impressive, traveling through the Sierra Nevada’s over the snowy Kit Carson Pass and through small California mountain towns. I arrived in Yosemite right before daylight and made it to Tunnel View as the sun began to rise. As the light began to illuminate the view before me, I was awestruck by the incredible beauty of the valley. I knew this was going to be a great week. After finding a campsite, I decided to get out and explore. Over the next few days, I enjoyed the spectacular views of Glacier Point, Bridal Veil Falls, and Yosemite Falls. For November, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect with daytime temperatures in the high 60’s and nighttime temperatures in the 40’s. 
After returning home and going through my pictures, it’s hard to find words to describe the beauty of these places. I often wonder what the Native Americans thought when they first came upon places like this, and how peaceful it must have been. Even now, in modern times, I think people travel to these places seeking something similar. To appreciate their beauty, peace, and wonder is really something special. As an outdoor educator, I’d encourage everyone to take time to appreciate our natural wonders. Take advantage of the close proximity to places like Yosemite and Great Basin. Go climb a mountain, camp on the Playa, or kayak Lake Tahoe. The world is waiting for you to explore.

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."-Teddy Roosevelt

Happy Trails!


Monday, December 11, 2017

What do you do with Doo-Doo?!?

We’ve all been there, hiking along, taking in the scenery, when you feel that un-settling squish underneath your hiking boot.  You hope that you just stepped in mud, but when you look down, your worst fear has come true… you stepped in dog poop. You curse the irresponsible dog owner who didn’t pick up after their pet, and wonder why they even needed to bring their dog on the trail with them in the first place.  

I grew up in the foothills of Colorado, and it was there that my love for the outdoors, and dogs, grew.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I traveled back to Colorado to spend time with my family, and also hit up some of my old favorite hiking spots.  Can you imagine my surprise when I discovered that many of the trails I grew up hiking on with my trusty pal, Rufus, no longer allowed dogs!?  How could this be? Did the state of Colorado just randomly start hating on dogs!? I took my issue to Google, and what I discovered was … disappointing. Due to pet owners’ consistent disregard for local regulations, including not cleaning up after their pet, many Colorado parks made the tough decision to deny trail access to our four legged friends.  Even one off leash dog park was forced to permanently close due to what they believed to be an excess of 500 pounds of dog feces. Not only is it un-pleasant to see and smell dog poop on the trail, but leaving feces on the trail can have serious environmental and ecological repercussions on the land, which is ultimately why these parks had to close or restrict access.  

So, dog lovers, how do we prevent these closures from happening? PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET! And I’m not just talking about putting it in a plastic bag and leaving it on the trail for the poop fairy to collect, I mean pick it up and throw it in the next trash can that you see.  Picking up after your pet is a small price to pay to keep the land, other users, and your four legged pal happy.

Happy Trails!

-Space Jam

Monday, December 4, 2017

Taking Care of the Places We Love

Over the week of Thanksgiving this year, my husband and I went on our Honeymoon (yay!) to Los Cabos, Mexico.  The weather was fantastic and the scenery was beautiful.  Los Cabos is a big tourist hot spot and with that brings thousands of new people from around the world there every month.  People come to Cabo for all different types of experiences from staying at resorts, shopping, golfing, exploring, swimming, adventure tours, etc.  For our vacation, we stayed pretty local in Cabo San Jose, visiting the beaches and pools and exploring the local downtown area.  I was immediately blown away by two things: the crazy amount of bottled water consumed at the different resorts and the lack of that waste being left behind on the beaches and streets.  Although walking along the beach there was definitely some trash here and there, it was much cleaner than I would have expected given the huge amount of tourists and the large amount of disposal stuff everyone has.  I know that there are a lot of workers at the resorts who probably get paid for cleaning up trash off the beach, but one of the things that struck me was how much people who lived in Cabo loved the place and worked hard to take care of it.  

A perfect example of this was when we visited Cabo San Lucas and did the Lands End tour to see the arches and visit the tucked away beaches.  It was a beautiful place and there was A LOT of people, boats, animals, and activity going on all around.  When we were on the boat riding out to the arches our driver slowed down, leaned over the side of the boat and picked a water bottle out of the water and tucked it away inside the boat.  The way he did it was so natural and seemed second nature to him.  He didn’t make a big scene out of it (although maybe he should have to better educate others), it was very obviously just something he did because he felt he should.  Seeing this guy pick up trash that wasn’t his to leave the place better than we found it reminded me of one of the lessons Nevada Outdoor School teaches through our Leave No Trace programming.  The idea is we are more likely to pick up trash and practice Leave No Trace at places that are important to us and places we love (like Cabo to the boat driver). However, something it is super important to remember (and what I was reminded of and struck by during this boat tour) is that every place we visit is potentially someone’s special place and we should treat every area to the standard we would treat our own special place that we love. 
So, the next time you’re just passing by a piece of trash on the trail or along the sidewalk, imagine what you would do if you really loved that place, and maybe think about leaving that area better than you found it… help spread the love and share the care for the beautiful, wonderful, amazing and inspiring outdoor places we all love.