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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Nevada Outdoor School Received a National Award!

Nevada Outdoor School's Outdoor Ethics Program has been selected in the category of Education and Communication to receive one of the Coalition for Recreational Trails’ (CRT’s) respected national awards for 2020.


Washington, D.C. (October 22, 2020) – Twelve trail projects and programs have been chosen by the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT) as recipients of its 2020 Tom Petri Recreational Trails Program Annual Achievement Awards.  The awards – honoring former U.S. Representative Tom Petri (WI) – recognize outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funds.  These projects were honored at a live virtual ceremony on October 22 with participation by award  recipients and key trails champions, including Members of Congress.

Normally, the CRT Awards are presented on Capitol Hill in June. In addition to honorees and members, the annual awards program attracts important Members of Congress, Federal Highway Administration officials, and leaders of federal agencies that manage nearly one-third of our nation’s surface as national parks, forests, refuges and more. COVID-19 has altered the plans for 2020 so there was a virtual awards ceremony on October 22, at 11:00 AM PST via Facebook Live.


The trail projects honored by the CRT and award categories are:

  Nevada’s Outdoor School’s Outdoor Ethics Program (Nevada) – Education and Communication  

·         Pine Street Woods (Idaho) – Multiple-Use Management and Corridor Sharing

  Gwinnett Countywide Trails Master Plan (Georgia) – Community Linkage

  Cal-Ida Connector Trail (California) – Maintenance and Rehabilitation

  Boardwalks and Observation Deck Rehab/Replacement (South Carolina) – Accessibility Enhancement           

  Trailhead and Trail Construction in the Shawnee National Forest (Illinois) – Public-Private Partnerships and Access to/Use of Public Lands

  Thurston Hills Natural Area Trail Project (Oregon) – Public-Private   Partnerships and Access to/Use of Public Lands

  Milan Trail Huggers Nash Stream Bridge (New Hampshire) – Construction and Design

  Blue Ridge Tunnel Rehabilitation and Trail Project (Virginia) – Construction and Design

  Monadnock Trail Improvement Project (New Hampshire) – Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach

  Sam Houston National Forest—Eastside Multi-Use Trails Rehabilitation (Texas)Enhancement of Federal Lands

  Maricopa Trail Volunteer Stewardship Program (Arizona) – Engaging Public-Sector Partners


Details on the honored projects and programs as well as a link to viewing the awards ceremony are available at


The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). See the RTP website ( Federal transportation funds benefit recreation by making funds available to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from nonhighway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks. A database of the more than 25,000 projects funded by the RTP since its inception in 1991 can be found at

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mysterious Water

 Water.  Required for survival by all living things.  That is what we teach our “littles” in school, therefore we grow up learning the importance of water.  But, have you ever thought much about water itself?  The miraculously simple molecule that it is?  Two hydrogens (H) and one oxygen (O), H2O, with polarity (state of having two opposite aspects; a positive and negative side) that allows is to easily bond with some molecules, but also be a bit stingy with others. When water freezes it forms crystals.  Crystals are something becoming solid in an orderly fashion. 


The human body is about 70% water – therefore, in the physical realm we are mostly water.  Because we are mostly water, it makes sense that the quality of the water in our bodies impacts our health.  One way to determine water quality is to observe the structure of the crystals that are formed when it is frozen.  Beautiful crystals are there result of pure water that can organize itself in an orderly fashion.  Misshapen and distorted crystals are often the result of impurities that do not allow for orderly organization.   

Is there a link between the ability of water to form crystals and human health?  A scientist in Japan, Dr. Masaru Emoto, has studied water for decades and one day began to look at frozen water with a microscope.  He found that the crystal structure of the water is impacted by the words the water was exposed to.  He discovered that water “reacts” to its environment, and that harsh words are as damaging to the crystals as chemicals.  To western science and medicine, this may sound nutty, but when we open our minds to what the western world might call “alternative medicine” we open ourselves up to things such as this that sound a bit nutty!  Dr. Emoto did extensive experiments and published a book, “The Hidden Messages in Water”, that explains his motives and reasonings.  His bottom line is that what water is exposed to, physically such as chemicals and emotionally via words matters.  Therefore, since we are mostly water, what we are exposed, physically and emotionally, also matters because it impacts the water in us.  Fascinating!

This points to a fascinating connection between humans and a natural substance.  If Dr. Emoto’s research is accurate, then the importance of healthy (clean) water only expands.  It seems to reason that if humans are kinder and gentler, then based on Dr. Emoto’s findings our biological water is “healthier”, which in turn keeps us in state of health.  Can you see the connections and implications? 

There is a lot of research connecting human health and nature, and perhaps Dr. Emoto’s research is one more piece in this puzzle.  However, it is understandable that this thinking for some is probably a stretch.  That is okay, and you are not alone because there are skeptics of Dr. Emoto.   There are people who have not been able to replicate the research results and therefore question the validity of his conclusions. 

Like many things, science is still working to determine many of the mysteries associated with life on Earth.  It is known that water is critical for life, and clean water benefits all, humans, plants and animals.  Therefore, caring for our natural resources, both physically and with an emotional pleasantness may impact human health in a variety of ways we are just beginning to understand.  Get outside, find your emotional sweet spot, and release the negativity that builds up during a busy week, it is good for humans everywhere.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Fall Doings!

 Fall is in the air and starting to be seen in the trees!  Cooler nights and mornings, the changing of colors, school is back in session, and the holidays lingering in the future, once again in nature, and in our lives, it is transition time. 

The harshness of summer heat and winter cold are offset by the transition seasons of spring and fall.  In northeastern Nevada, it is certainly a time for layers and being prepared for the change in temperatures throughout the day.  These times of transition are also a great for cleaning, checking, and restocking gear and supplies.  Removing dirt and grim and putting away clean equipment not only extends the life of the equipment, but may also reveal any damage.

For camping equipment, washing your sleeping bags at the end of the season is usually a good idea.  Beware and follow washing instructions for your bag, but generally, a mild detergent in a washing machine works well.  In Nevada, we are fortunate that our low humidity minimizes the likelihood of mold or mildew, but nonetheless, be sure to completely hang dry the bag before storing for the winter.  Generally speaking, for many bags, storing the sleeping bag in a mesh bag that is larger than the usual stuff-sack helps maintain the fluffiness of the bag, which is what provides insulation.  For tents, a good shake out and wipe-down with a mild detergent helps to extend the life of the tent.  Cleaning the poles and removing any dirt from the pole-ends is a good idea, too.  Once again, be sure the tent is dry before storage.  As Nevada Outdoor School staffers have mentioned before, caring for that uber-important sleeping pad is also critical.  Like the sleeping bags and tent, a good cleaning is called for by the end of the season.  Use a gentle detergent and some elbow-grease, as needed.  For self-inflatable or foam pads it is best to store them flat if possible, with valves open, to help prevent the breakdown under constant compression.  Under a couch or bed is a good place to hide these gems until camping season arrives again.

Like camping gear, hiking boots and backpacks also need to be cleaned and dried before storage.  Pull out those boot insoles and give them a good rinse or wash.  If you need new shoestrings, now is a good time to get those installed.  For your backpack, get all the crumbs out and store flat.  Hanging backpacks is generally frowned upon because hanging may cause the straps or material to stretch over time.  Better to store in a bin or shelf. 

Water reservoirs is a great place for mold and bacteria to flourish during the off season.  A good rule for bladders is to only put water in them, this minimizes the likelihood that some of that sugary-awesomeness will be in a crack or cranny and feed a colony of microorganisms.  Plus, the water-only rule minimizes staining of the bag and decreases the amount of cleaning required.  Using commercially available tablets is a good way to keep your bladder hike-ready.  You can also research and use bleach, baking soda, or lemon juice to keep your bladder clean.

Other gear, like fishing, biking, or climbing should also be cleaned, inspected and stored properly.  Using storage bins that are clear and clearly marked may help reduce frustration when we cycle back around to spring and summer again.  Taking good care of your gear is part of the Leave No Trace Principal, Plan Ahead and Be Prepared.  35-miles into the wilderness is no time to figure out that your tent is torn or your bladder housed disease-causing organisms.   Gearing up and transitioning into winter activities is an exciting time, but don’t neglect to care for your summer gear first.  Get outside and explore, it’s good for humans everywhere. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Destination Recreation - Kayaking Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay (Lake Tahoe)

 A few summers ago, I had the opportunity to visit family who were vacationing in the Lake Tahoe area. Knowing I would have the opportunity to kayak one of the most popular paddling destinations in the country, I was excited. One of my main goals for the week was to kayak into Emerald Bay, with its clear waters and spectacular views. My original plan was to launch my kayak from DL Bliss State Park. However, strong winds prevented this from happening, so I decided to kayak a calmer part of the lake and wait for better weather. The next day, I decided to launch from Baldwin Beach, about a 3-4 mile paddle to Emerald Bay. 

Along the way, you have good chances of seeing eagles and ospreys. As you enter the mouth of Emerald Bay, you can see Fannette Island, Vikingsholm, and Eagle Falls in the distance. My goal was to reach Fannette Island to meet up with my cousins, who had hiked down to Vikingsholm and rented a kayak. It still took a while to reach the island from the mouth of the bay, but eventually I landed on the shore. I pulled my kayak onto the bank and hiked up to the tea house, which was built by the owner of Vikingsholm in the late 1920s. 

The views of the surrounding bay were fantastic. Eagle Falls could be seen in the distance, along with other boaters and kayakers. After spending around an hour on the island, I kayaked back to Baldwin Beach to end the day. Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay are definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve had the opportunity to kayak, and I plan on returning soon. 


Know Before You Go

When kayaking, it is important to plan ahead before you head out on the water. Make sure you have the proper gear-a good life jacket, dry bag with extra clothes, sun protection, and extra food and water. Check the weather before you go. If it’s windy, it’s a good idea to wait for better weather. Strong winds make it hard to paddle, and create large waves, which lead to situations that are even more dangerous. Unless you’re an experienced kayaker, it’s a good idea to paddle with a group of people, or at least a friend. Finally, research the area you will be paddling. Having a knowledge of basic landmarks, the nearest towns and beaches, and where you’re going are essential. If you’re not entirely comfortable with the area you’ll be paddling, you might consider a guided tour. Finally, have fun, take pictures, and practice the Leave No Trace principles. Kayaking is not only fun, a good way to stay in shape, and fairly inexpensive, but also a great hobby for the entire family!

Get out, explore, and have fun!