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!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A message from NOS Executive Director - Urgent Help Needed

Dear Friends,

Coronavirus Consequence – Emergency Funds Needed Now

Due to the current state of affairs and preexisting cuts to traditionally reliable funding sources this year, the future of Nevada Outdoor School is in turmoil and we are facing the real and unfortunate reality of shutting down. We need community support through monetary donations now to keep our doors open and ensure the future of Nevada Outdoor School. 

Nevada Outdoor School programs provide real and important value to the communities we serve, providing experiential outdoor education to our local youth. We are working hard right now to help package food relief to families in need in our communities, and ensuring our students are well fed and taken care of. While we have to practice social distancing, this does not mean the education has to stop. We can continue to help our youth, teachers and parents by providing them outdoor education through online videos and lessons. This will help our youth be able to utilize this time to slow down, better themselves, and appreciate and care for our natural world.  

Your action is needed now for the future of our organization and outdoor education in Nevada.  Your monetary gift of any size will help us continue to serve, support, and educate our students.

I wish you and yours well during this unfortunate and turbulent time.  Remember the outdoors is still a safe place to visit and recreate, but we must act responsibly and practice social distancing while doing so.

Kind regards,

Melanie Erquiaga
Melanie Erquiaga, Executive Director

Monday, March 23, 2020

Peter Lassen

Two years ago, Nevada Outdoor School began taking kids to a new summer camp located at Lassen Volcanic National Park. However, who is the park named after? Well it is a man named Peter Lassen and he was a blacksmith by trade in the 1800s. He travelled from Missouri to Oregon then to California in 1840. In 1845, he obtained his citizenship in order to purchase 22,000 acres at Deer Creek and established the Bosquejo Ranch. He set to return to Missouri to bring people to live at a township he developed on his land. This group of emigrants were the first to cross the Lassen Trail.

Peter Lassen

In 1855, Lassen found gold and held many leadership positions between Native American tribes and his party. He continued searching for additional locations for prospecting when he discovered a silver mine near the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. He organized a scouting party of two groups to meet at Black Rock Canyon. The day after he and his two traveling companions, Edward Clapper and Lemericus Wyatt, arrived at the site in April of 1859, Lassen and Clapper were shot and killed. Speculation remains if members of his own scouting party or Native Americans were the culprits of his death. There is a Lassen Monument in his memory located under a Ponderosa pine tree.

Lassen Trail

To read more about Peter Lassen and his pioneer lifestyle by going to: 

Enjoy the journey!

1. “Sierra Nevada Geotourism.” Peter Lassen's Grave (No. 565 California Historical Landmark) - Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide,

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Daffodil Watch!

Officially Spring is around the corner!  This year the spring equinox is on Thursday, March 19th.  This is the earliest spring equinox since 1896 (that’s 124 years!)  

Here in Northeastern Nevada this time of year can be tricky, but I’m celebrating the glimpses we are having and have officially placed myself on “daffodil watch”.  

What is daffodil watch?  That is when, as you drive around, you keep your eyes peeled for daffodils and when you see one, you point and shout with great exuberant joy, “daffodil!!!!”.   This is what we do in our family because daffodils are my favorite flower and they only last for a short while.  Seeing a daffodil brings me so much joy, I just can’t help but squeal with excitement, respect and awe of nature.


Photo from:

The physical beauty of the daffodil delights me, but the science behind the re-appearance year after year is what really makes me say, “yea nature!”.  The daffodil is in the genus Narcissus and is part of the Amaryllis family.   There are many varieties of daffodils due to selective breeding, but all seem to announce the beginning of spring.  The cool thing about daffodils is that they are planted in the fall, as a bulb, and bust out in spring, even through snow!
What is bulb?  A bulb is a ‘storage organ’[2] that is a stem made of layers of modified leaves that store nutrients.  Roots will emerge out of the bottom of the bulb when conditions are right, and new growth will emerge from the top.  Bulbs are considered dormant, which means temporarily inactive.  They are not dead!  Dormant is not dead!  Plant bulbs are only one example of the many living things that utilize dormancy to overcome environmental stress or gather energy for future growth. 

Figure from:

After enough energy has been gathered, and the environmental conditions are correct (sunlight, temperature, and moisture) we will witness the new growth as it emerges from the ground.  All that time underground, in the dark and cold, important biological processes 
were occurring, we just couldn’t see them!  But WOW!  What a display we get to observe.   

The bright colors and the sleek leaf-less stem is a sight to behold!  Then, as the foliage begins to yellow and fade, the bulb begins to gather energy for the next season, and returns to dormancy once more.

When we see a daffodil, we are witnessing the evidence of a beautiful cycle in nature.  One that, as humans, we might be wise to learn from and begin to follow.  There is time for gathering energy and time for display.  Nature has an amazing way of balancing rest and growth.  

This spring, as you drive around, have fun with daffodil watch!  I hope you find joy in the beautiful evidence of the awesomeness of nature!!

-Brandolyn Thran

[1] The Farmers Almanac.  Electronically accesses 3/6/2020 at