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!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Expanding Horizons

 Place-based education (PBE) engages students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, and experiences.   In northern Nevada, there is a wide variety of locations where PBE can be utilized due to our position in history with, for example the railroad and the emigrant trails, as well as our unique ecosystem.  We live in a location ripe for PBE!

Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) embraces utilizing PBE through our outdoor lessons and field experiences taught to K-4 grade students by our AmeriCorps Naturalists.  Our Nature In My World program capitalizes on the place-based experiential learning approach that expands youth’s horizons related to exploring and learning about the natural world.  Kindergartners begin exploring the natural world right outside their classroom, on their school grounds.  First graders explore their local neighborhood, typically in the form of nature walk.  Second graders have the opportunity to travel to a local park.  Third and fourth graders’ horizons are expanded when they visit a community or county recreation area. 


AmeriCorps Naturalist, Macy leading 1st grade students in a graphing activity while investigating signs of fall.

From there, the expansion continues with NOS.  While we are not currently consistently in classrooms for grades higher than 4th grade, we do provide after-school programming and summer camp opportunities that take students to regional natural treasures such as Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  In the summer of 2021, our fleet racked up over 8,000 miles transporting kids to national treasures found in Great Basin National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Watching kids who have never left their county experience “the world” is a rewarding experience!

The best thing about Nevada Outdoor School is that we do not only teach kids - we teach kids of all ages, 0 - 99+.  Why is that important?  Why do we want to be life-long learners and continue to expand our horizons as adults?  Because learning about new locations, as well as improving or learning outdoor skills may just save your life, or the life of a loved one.

With over 640 million acres of federal land, which includes national parks, national forests, and Bureau of Land Management property, not to mention all the private land, there are a lot of places to get lost or hurt in the United States.  Each year many people go missing, for a variety of reasons, and many never known, but chances are many of the “lost” cases are the result of not having or knowing how to correctly use navigational tools.  The reliance on electronic GPS systems is often the culprit.  While fantastic tools, they only work as well as the batteries in them or the technological support they can connect to.  An old fashion topographical map and compass can get you out of a canyon, if you know how to use it.  

Although the natural world is an amazing place to explore, it doesn’t come without risk.  Each year, people get lost and many people are injured as a result of outdoor recreation.  Proper planning, training and knowledge are proactive and effective ways to help you and your loved ones stay safe.  Learning about essential contents of a first aid kit, how to actively practice Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly! and outdoor survival skills are great steps to take.  Don’t worry, NOS has you covered, come learn with us!

Check out for our upcoming outdoor skill offerings, as well as our community events.  Get outside, expand your horizons, it is good for humans everywhere.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Destination Recreation - Metropolis

 What do a group of mid-westerners do in Elko, Nevada? 

In April of 2021, My family from Indiana came to visit me. One of our favorite memories was when we decided to explore this interesting ghost town, Metropolis. We saw a picture of the remnants of the school on the “Nevada Ghost Towns” Map and decided this was going to be our daily adventure. Before beginning our journey, I researched Metropolis on Travel Nevada to learn more about its history.

What remains of The Lincoln School building in Metropolis

Metropolis is located north of Wells, just off of I-80. It’s a little over an hour away from Elko. We rode out in a medium sized sedan without having any issues. The road is dirt, but it’s not terribly washed out or overgrown. I thought it could be tricky to find Metropolis with the possibility of losing our GPS, but the school made it easy to spot from a distance. When we arrived, there was only one other visitor; so we were able to spend a lot of time exploring privately.

Remember Metropolis Plaque with artifacts found from around the area

Remnants of a Hotel Metropolis in Metropolis, NV

Taking a trip to Metropolis was a unique and worthwhile experience for my family and I. It was interesting to learn about the town's history and then build connections when we were able to see some parts of the buildings still standing there today. I found it to be more compelling than some ghost towns because of the architecture and it is still very much abandoned, isolated, and uninhabited today. We spent a total of an hour or two walking around and exploring what remains of Metropolis nearly 100 years after having residents.

Macy Rohr, Elko Naturalist, on a ladder sticking up from the ground in Metropolis

Heading to Metropolis could be a fun family excursion if you’re around the Wells area, need somewhere new to explore, in search of a neat place to take some pictures, or just looking for a day trip that won’t leave Nevada’s famous pinstripes along your vehicle. Consider bringing trash bags with you. This would be a wonderful place to have a trash clean up (just research and be thoughtful about what are artifacts and what is trash); there’s plenty of trash for the picking!  If you decide to check this ghost town out, please plan ahead and prepare and use your best judgment! The buildings are in complete disrepair, the risk of falling through the floor or having a ceiling cave in are high. Proceed with caution. For more information about Metropolis, visit