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, April 27, 2022

You too, are a Watershed Hero!

 As we experience a wave of spring precipitation across northern Nevada, for the past several weeks, 2nd grade students in Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, and Elko Counties participating in our Watershed Hero Field Trip have had the opportunity to see precipitation in action, learning through light rain and hail! Precipitation is an important component of the water cycle – the movement of water through the environment.  If starting at precipitation, water falling from the sky in a variety of forms, then next in the water cycle is runoff, water moving from the high points to the low points due to gravity.  At the low points, accumulation occurs in rivers, lakes, and oceans.  From there, the heat from the sun drives evaporation, where the water turns into a gas and condenses forming clouds.  As atmospheric conditions change the gas changes form, and the cycle starts all over again.     


A watershed is an area of land that drains water, sediment, and dissolved materials to a common water body, such as a river.  The size of watersheds varies, the largest watershed in the United States is the Mississippi River Watershed draining over 1 million acres.  A watershed contains both biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) components.  Humans influence and impact the structural and functional characteristics of watersheds.  These influences and impacts may be beneficial or disruptive to the watershed. 

One the unique aspects of the Humboldt River Basin Watershed is that it is wholly located in northern Nevada.  The watershed spans from near Wells to the Humboldt Sink, not far from Lovelock.  While the straight-line distance between these two communities is about 250 miles, the meandering nature of the river causes it to measure about 330 miles.  The Humboldt River runs entirely within Nevada!  The flow of the Humboldt River is highly variable because it is entirely dependent on precipitation.  The source waters for the river derive from runoff from the Jarbidge, Independence, and Ruby Mountains in Elko County.  The Humboldt River is contained entirely within the Great Basin, meaning that the Great Basin retains the water and there is no outflow to another body of water such, as an ocean.

As we know from living in a desert, water is a precious commodity!  The quality (how good) and quantity (how much) of available water in the desert has health, recreational, and financial impacts on all who live here, human and non-human.  Because water cannot be created, water education is critical.  It is important that we all learn to protect, conserve, and better manage water resources in our local region.   When we understand the interconnectedness of all living things, and our collective dependence of water, we become more united in the drive to keep water clean. 

At Nevada Outdoor School, we love to get people outside and deepen their connection to and care for the natural world.  The 2nd grade students who attend our Watershed Heroes field trip can now make choices that will respect and help protect their watershed.   No matter our age, our actions matter!  By picking up trash, not allowing oil and soap to drain into the river, and being aware of erosion along streams, you too can be a Watershed Hero!  Go on Heroes, get outside and enjoy the Humboldt River Basin, just remember, your actions not only impact your local community, but everything down stream as well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Destination Recreation - Lucky Peak State Park (Idaho)

Just ten miles outside of Boise, Idaho, you can find Lucky Peak State Park. In the foothills on the Boise River, you can find a place filled with lush green trees, a rushing river, and wildlife around every corner. Sandy Point and Discovery Park located within Lucky Peak provides an amazing space for picnics, fishing, boating, and swimming. 

But deeper into the 247 acre park you can find a much more relaxed and lively wilderness. Deer, Bald Eagles, River Otters and many other species of wildlife can be seen if you step lightly and have a sharp eye. 

I was able to see many beautiful creatures on my trips, but for me, the most memorable part of Lucky Peak was the calming sounds of the river, birds chirping, and the warm sun accompanied by a gentle breeze. I had set up a hammock between two coniferous trees, kicked off my shoes, and took a nap. My hand hung out of the hammock while I pet the grass and felt the dirt. Three hours had passed and I awoke to the sounds of the birds chirping and the river flowing, feeling as though no time had passed. 

Most areas of Lucky Peak are very accessible by car, though 4 wheel drive can make it much easier. The roads and park as a whole is very well maintained. Being sure to follow Leave No Trace principles helps you do your park in keeping all parks you may visit clean and beautiful for all visitors! Walking and camping on durable surfaces is very important in Lucky Peak because there is a lot of very fragile vegetation that provides food and shelter to many species throughout the park. For more information on Lucky Peak State Park visit 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Bring Your Own Reuseable (BYOR)

 At Nevada Outdoor School we are consistently analyzing our actions, evaluating our impacts, and working hard to choose wisely.  This is not only our overarching outdoor ethic philosophy that we teach to others, but also how we choose to run our organization.  Utilizing our Action. Impact. Choice. model is a powerful way to maneuver through life, because it helps each of us realize how our behavior matters and impacts others: other humans, and nature too.

Every day, in the news cycle, are stories of environmental impact linked to human actions.  Complex issues often times oversimplified, and tugging on our emotional strings to move us into action.  It can certainly get depressing if there is no appearance of hope.

The good news is, there is hope!  How?  Because if each of us do one or two small things, over time those small things can become big things!  So often we get hyper-focused on the big, that we forget to remember the power of the small.  Small changes lead to big results.  Small actions can have big impacts.

It was that thinking that moved Nevada Outdoor School to its latest major aha! moment.   If you have attended any of our community events, you will know that we love two things: s’mores and hot chocolate!  One day, at the end of an event as we served hot chocolate in Styrofoam cups, filling up a trash, we stopped to analyze our actions, evaluate their impacts, and then opted for a different choice.

The realization that as an outdoor education organization we were not “practicing what we preach” was a stark wake-up!  One of our favorite Leave No Trace principles is “Dispose of Your Waste Properly” and we are great about keeping it in a bag, but the spark was, “what if we worked to reduce our waste?”  That is the next step thinking that we like to have here at Nevada Outdoor School.  Hence our newest initiative, BYOR, bring your own reusable.

In Nevada there are approximately 3 million people.  Just think, what would happen if even only one-third, or 1 million people chose to use a reusable water bottle instead of a disposable water bottle?  That would be 1 million less water bottles in the trash!  It is that kind of thinking that can give us hope, and remind us that our actions matter.  Small actions lead to big impacts. 

As temperatures rise, staying hydrated is important.  Think about your actions and then choose to reduce your plastic use and utilize a reusable instead!   Looking for a cool new cup? Text NOSreuses to 41444 to get your own cup, and choose what you use!  Good for hot chocolate or water.  Do you need help getting outside?  We can help with that! Find our current events at   Get outside, it is good for humans everywhere!