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, July 23, 2018

Reflections on AmeriCorps Service - Friends of Black Rock High Rock

Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm the 1700 AmeriCorps Service-member working with Friends of Black Rock-High Rock, 2017-2018, and I'm here to talk about the great things I've been able to be involved in because of my service. I actually did a three-month service with FBHRH May-July of 2017, and I loved working with it so much that, when I heard they were looking for a year-long volunteer, I jumped at the chance!

Things are gearing up for the summer season in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which means that its getting busy around Friends of Black Rock-High Rock's Visitor Center in Gerlach, NV, a town with a population of less than 200. I've been able to help keep the visitor center open through the winter, help address their inventory tracking problems, learn about WordPress, and expand my knowledge of social media outreach during the first half of my service term.

Most of the AmeriCorps volunteers with FBRHR over the last few years have only been involved in summer programs, so it was really great for me to be able to come on through the winter. This helped FBRHR keep the Visitor Center open a lot more than it has been in previous years, with only a single staff member available to manage it. It was great to get to know people who come through. People are of all ages and walks of life who come through here, and many of them have similar questions, and its fun to see what things these people have in common. Often a love of the outdoors, an interest in hot springs, and a curiosity of Burning Man's effect of the town of Gerlach are common factors! But we also have people who are descendants of those who took the immigrant trails into California or Oregon. 

It also gave me time to help with FBRHR's inventory issues, moving them to new software that would track their inventory for them, and creating a sign-up sheet function with one of the Board Members on their WordPress Website, so that they could be more effective in reaching out to volunteers in the future. This was a lot of fun for me, and I was happy to learn more about WordPress. I've also been really happy to share my experiences with social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and Square, while learning a lot about other sites and programs, like WordPress, Instagram, and Flickr. I've also started learning how to use Slack as a messaging platform, which is pretty helpful. Good communication is super helpful!

Overall, volunteering with AmeriCorps and Friends of Black Rock-High Rock has been a great opportunity for me!

Sarah Lyon

Monday, July 16, 2018

Getting Kids Outside During the Summer

Beginning in June, Nevada Outdoor School began our summer season by kicking off with Girl’s Camp. This camp was held at Lake Tahoe and included activities such as hiking, swimming, and team building games. One of the main highlights of camp was a trip to Treetop Adventures, where campers participated in high ropes courses and zip lines. 

Our next camp, Adventure Camp I, took place at the end of June. This is one of our most popular camps, which consists of nearly 25 elementary-age students participating in a variety of games, activities, and hikes. 

Over the next few weeks of summer, youth are given the opportunities to participate in a variety of different themed camps. One of our new camps we are offering this summer is a five day trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Kids will be participating in a wide variety of activities that are led by park rangers and include topics that range from astronomy to orienteering. 
We are also offering a Boy’s Camp this summer that will be taking place in the Pine Forest Range near Denio, NV. At this camp, boys will have the opportunity to learn about survival skills, archery, and fishing.

One of the advantages that we have is the fact that we are close to areas that offer great learning and camping opportunities such as Lake Tahoe, the Ruby Mountains, or even Water Canyon. We are excited to provide youth with opportunities to get outside during the summer and learn about responsible outdoor recreation and stewardship. This includes fun games and activities such as swimming, hiking, and teaching youth responsible outdoor stewardship through the Leave no Trace principles. 

While it’s easy for youth to spend most of their summer indoors, we want to provide them with the chance to get out and explore the world around them, while having fun and making new friends. It’s not only fun for campers, but for adults as well.

We hope to see you this summer!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Recreating Nice With Others

Hotdogs, fireworks, and camping; spending time outdoors seems to be a quintessential part of celebrating the Fourth of July. From 5thwheels and glampers to ultra-light packers, outdoor enthusiasts flood popular camping areas on Independence Day. High volumes of people in our recreation areas can often lead to conflict, but don’t fret; by following a few simple tips, you can do your part to prevent tension between you and your fellow outdoor enthusiasts. 

The First issue I usually hear people complaining about During a busy weekend is space. Many of us enjoy camping because it provides us this the feeling of, “Getting away from it all” however, it is important to maintain realistic expectations in order to set yourself up for success. If you are not going to be able to enjoy a camping experience where there are a lot of other people and noise around, maybe camping at Lake Tahoe on the Fourth of July is not for you. Plan a different weekend to visit, or consider a back-country experience if you want a more exclusive experience.

If you’ve decided that you can tolerate camping within a close proximity of other campers, it is important that you still take your camp neighbors into consideration. If there is a “quite time” at you camp ground, try and refrain from loud music or being excessively disruptive after the designated quite hour. Another way to prevent possible tensions between you and your camp neighbors is to make sure to tidy up camp before leaving. If you leave food and garbage out at your campsite, you not only run the risk of attracting wildlife to your site, but heavy winds can also carry those things into your neighbor’s site.

If you decide to go for a hike or ride on a busy day like the fourth, it’s important to remember to be courteous to other users that you will encounter on the trail. Greet people with a friendly hello, and know who to yield to.

I get it; it can be difficult to share your favorite spot or trail, especially when it starts to get overly crowded. However, remind yourself of all the reasons why that area is your favorite. It is likely that the same reasons you fell in love with that place, are the same reasons that drew other users to it. For the most part, we all like do get outside for the same reasons, Lean on that common ground when you experience frustrations with other users and try to be understanding.  

Happy trails!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fire Restrictions and Safety

Happy (Almost) 4th of July!

Summer is a fantastic time to get outside in northern Nevada to hike, camp, explore, and much, much more!  With all those campsites filling up, and more people traveling/spending time outdoors, there is an increased risk of fire!  Fire season is upon us (although it kind of feels like it has been going on all year….) and with that, we would like to remind everyone to practice Leave No Trace (and common sense) and “Minimize Campfire Impacts” and just generally, be smart about fire safety out there.

Going along with that, we would like to share a recent article from KOLO News 8:

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Due to drying vegetation, increasing daytime temperatures and several human-caused fires, the Bureau of Land Management-Carson City, the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Western Nevada Agency, Public Domain Allotments, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex are announcing the implementation of fire restrictions on all lands under their jurisdiction effective Saturday, June 30, at 12:01 a.m. and lasting until further notice.
BLM says vegetation in western Nevada and eastern California is significantly more then we have seen in previous years partly because of a wet spring and the abundance of last year’s grass crop. Warmer-than-average temperatures have increased the rate of vegetation dry-out. A large crop of grass and brush is evident at lower elevations and trees and other forest vegetation at higher elevations is quickly drying out. People are encouraged to safely enjoy the public lands, bearing in mind that human-caused fires threaten human life, private property and public land resources every summer.

Fires should be reported to the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center in Minden at 775-883-5995. or dial 911.

Fire restrictions prohibit the following:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire or stove fire except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit).
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.
3. Operating vehicles or other motorized equipment off of existing paved, gravel or dirt roads.
4. Welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.
5. Using or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit.
6. Possession or use of fireworks or any other incendiary device.
7. Use of tracer rounds (always prohibited), steel-core ammunition, or exploding targets, including Binary Explosive Targets while recreational shooting.

All agencies recommend when operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas, you should have at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water, and carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires. 

As a reminder, the following safety tips should be followed while target shooting:
• Refrain from shooting during hot, dry and windy conditions.
• Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are always prohibited on public lands.
• Place your targets on dirt or gravel areas clear of vegetation and avoid shooting into rocky areas. Placing a target in dry grass increases the risk of fire.
• Be aware that all types of ammunition can start fires under the right conditions, especially steel core ammunition.
• Bring a container of water. This may seem obvious, but shooters often fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water readily available while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start.
• Bring a shovel. Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained.
• Shoot at quality steel targets designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. For steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high quality through hardened steel that has a Brinell hardness number of at least 500.
• Don’t shoot trash. Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found illegally dumped on public land but can be dangerous fire hazards when shot.
• Please shoot responsibly and clean up after shooting.

Have Fun out there and be safe!