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, May 18, 2023

Nevada Outdoor School: What's New At NOS- April Edition!

 Reno Motorsports Expo

March 29th - April 2nd 2023

On March 28th through April 3rd, NOS members were able to attend the Reno Motorsports Expo in Reno, NV. The event was exciting and fun and NOS was able to reach out to community members of Reno and surrounding areas. At this event, we were able to explain Leave No Trace and the 5 Tread Lightly! Principles. We were able to do this with our large question wheel that participants got to spin, answer a question and get a prize! We also had the opportunity to explain our summer camps. At this event we were able to reach out to 401 people and explain what we do here at NOS and impact the participants of the Expo in a fun way!

Photo Caption: Nevada Outdoor School’s outreach booth at the Reno Motorsports Expo.

NDOW & NOS Spring Break LNT Camp

April 5th 2023

During the week of Elko County Spring Break, NOS partnered with NDOW to help with Wild Week. During the week there are different activities each day such as Hunters Ed, Archery, Biologist Day and more! For our day, we hosted a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop. Participants learned all 7 Leave No Trace Principles, which are ways to be safe and responsible while recreating outdoors. The principles are taught through a series of fun and interactive games. A favorite was, “Save the Forest” where students learned the importance of putting out campfires and how firefighters help to prevent the spread of wildfires! 

Photo Caption: Participants learning the importance of putting out campfires through a fun game! 

April Full Moon Hike

April 6th 2023

On the first full moon of April NOS hosted a nighttime hike to watch the full moon over Water Canyon and Southfork Meadows. In Winnemucca the snow was still present on the trail so the use of snowshoes became necessary to reach the end of the trail. During this event the participants got to experience snowshoeing as well as nighttime navigation. NOS puts on these hikes for the community so they can see what nature has to offer them as far as recreation and general well-being.

Photo: Winnemucca office on top of the lookout at Water Canyon

Homeschool Program

April 14th, 2023

With our lesson for the homeschool group, we had fun teaching them about compasses and counting paces. When the kids first got a hold of the compasses they learned how to sight their compasses to always keep the direction arrow ready and then they learned how to read coordinates. The kids at the homeschool group got to do a scavenger hunt and coordinates following to find pieces of a paper flower to build a picture for spring. Overall the students enjoyed learning about compasses, their uses, the history of them, and building the spring flower for their parents.

Tahoe Truckee Earth Day

April 15th 2023

In April two AmeriCorps members went to the Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival. 

We had a booth that saw 434 people. At the event we educated people about the 7 Leave No Trace principles and how they can be applied to when they are outdoors exploring. We taught the principles through the Leave No Trace hang tags as well as educated people on how to choose actions that have a lesser impact when outdoors through our wheel of ethics. Overall this was a great event where we got to educate many people.

Photo Caption: AmeriCorps members at an outreach booth

Ducks Unlimited Dinner

April 15th, 2023

On April 15th one AmeriCorps member and one staff member went to the Ducks Unlimited dinner. We were able to reach out to parents and tell them about our upcoming summer camps and our other activities for the month. During the event the children were able to make and decorate reusable bags for Earth day and Leave No Trace hang tags. Overall the event was really fun and we were able to reach out to quite a few people who don't know what we do.

Photo Caption: Participants making Leave No Trace hangtags

Carlin Trout Release

April 18th, 2023

The Carlin trout release was on April 18th in Carlin, NV. At this event, NOS was able to teach students about erosion and prey vs. predator. We played games and talked about vegetation and how having a heavily vegetated area can help with areas that have erosion. We were also able to talk about the prey and predators of trout, such as bears for predators and bugs for prey. NOS was able to reach an awesome 4th grade class, and although we weren't able to release any trout, we were still able to learn and play. 

Photo Caption: Students at the Carlin Pond for Trout Release

Health and Wellness Carnival

April 20th, 2023

On the evening of April 20th, NOS was able to participate in the Level Up 4 Health School Carnival. This event was hosted at Flagview Intermediate Level Up 4 Health is a community initiative promoting health and wellness in children and teens. The booth NOS set up showed students and their families the importance of ATV safety with our NOS Toss game. Every student won a prize and left with more knowledge of ATV safety! 

Photo Caption: NOS booth at the Health and Wellness Carnival 

Minden Ride Safe Ride Smart Presentation with Renown Medical Center

April 20th, 2023 

Nevada Outdoor School traveled to Minden, Nevada with our Ride Safe Ride Smart OHV Safety program partnering with Jorge Montano, Renown Hospital’s Pediatric Injury Prevention Specialist, to do a presentation about OHV Safety Education to five Douglas High School Health classes and 130 students.  Jorge shared stories and photos of several Nevada youths that have suffered traumatic brain injuries from preventable accidents while not wearing head protection or helmets while recreating off-road.  Mel from NOS engaged the students in conversations about the positive and negative impacts of riding OHVs and the choices that can be made to positively impact themselves and the environment and limit negative impacts whenever possible.

NOS’s Ride Safe Ride Smart Nevada program is really expanding and evolving with our renewed partnership with Renown, Tread Lightly and the NV Offroad Association.  Youth or adults can take an online OHV Safety Course by visiting and use the coupon code NOSRS2 to complete the course for free.  Hands-on OHV Safety Courses and Ride Safe Ride Smart school-based curriculum can be brought to your community.  Just reach out to!

Triple R Party

April 21st, 2023

On the afternoon of April 21st, the day before Earth Day, members of the Elko community came together to create Earth Day bags and learn about trash decomposition. We started with our trash timeline game, where participants guessed how long some of our everyday trash takes to decompose. Some items were pretty surprising, for example, did you know fishing line can take up to 600 years to decompose! Next, every participant was able to decorate their very own Earth Day bag to be used for picking up or storing trash. 

Photo Caption: Participants create their Earth Day bags. 

Great Basin Greatness

April 27th, 2023

On April 27th all of the current AmeriCorps members went to Grass Valley Elementary to put on the “Great Basin Greatness” event hosted by the Grass Valley PTA. At the event we showcased several types of lessons/ programs that NOS provides such as our elk trunk, Leave No Trace, animal skins, skulls, and tracks, and Ride Safe, Ride Smart sample program. We were also able to educate the families about the actual content in our programs and inspire the kids to think about animals and some of the ways we can affect them. In addition we had a general information booth all about our upcoming summer programs we have to offer this year as well!

Photo caption: AmeriCorps member handing out sticker prizes to participants after they answered an RS2 question.

Zero Suicide Event

April 29th, 2023

On April 29th, we were able to attend the Zero Suicide Elko event at the Elko Convention Center. At this event, NOS as well as many others had booths for participants to look at and learn about. At this event, there were multiple guest speakers for the vendors and the public. They talked about mental health and suicide awareness. We feel so lucky to have been able to participate in this event and help support mental health awareness. At NOS, all members are trained in safeTALK and suicide awareness. NOS is a supporter of mental health awareness and helping people get outdoors to aid mental illness.

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Olivia Cameron: Conservation and Volunteer Coordinator with Friends of the Black Rock- High Rock

Where are you from and what’s your background? 

I am from a small Amish town an hour northwest of Philadelphia. Though I grew up in an agricultural community, it wasn’t until my 2021 Vineyard and Bee-keeping internship that my interest and passion for the environment solidified itself. From that point onward I have been traveling the US in search of more opportunities to learn about, and care for, our planet. 

How did you learn about the AmeriCorps program? What made you interested in the position and why did you choose to apply? 

A friend of mine with experience in blending learning and travel suggested looking into AmeriCorps for opportunities in seasonal conservation work. While searching for positions with an emphasis on environmental education and stewardship. Surprised by the vast options I was presented with, I ended up applying for job opportunities all over the country. Nevada is where I landed 

How long have you been an AmeriCorps member?

I have completed around 1,300 hours of service with two different host sites. In March 2022 I started my 900-hour term with Friends of Black Rock, where I’ve had the opportunity to deeply explore various parts of the 1.2 million-acre National Conservation Area. After I completed my term with FBR I joined the Walker Basin Conservancy team for a 200-hour term. As a Restoration Team Member, I worked on native planting projects and invasive species removal. I started the position at the closing of the planting season, but our team was able to plant over 600 native plants in a short amount of time. On other days we trekked along the Walker River searching for the invasive Tamarisk, so that we may properly remove the plant to provide a more suitable habitat for native species. In 2023, I returned to Friends of Black Rock for a second 900-hour term. Yay! 

In your own words, what is AmeriCorps? 

AmeriCorps is an opportunity to better yourself, your community, and the world around you. I feel the work I do really matters, which is important to me and makes me feel good. As a member of AmeriCorps, not only do you make an impact during your term, but you also get the opportunity to continue doing what you love after you leave the program. With your new experience and educational award you can look for new opportunities in the things that interest you the most! 

What impact has being an AmeriCorps member had on you personally?

Before joining the AmeriCorps program I was unsure of what path I wanted to take in life. I was in a community college with an undeclared major but knew I wanted to study something related to the environment. AmeriCorps gave me the opportunity to work in the field I knew I was interested in. The hands-on experience helped me determine what I enjoyed most and what I wanted to invest my time learning about. As a result, I will be returning to school this upcoming winter to study Natural Resources and Ecological Restoration. 

What impact has being an AmeriCorps member had on your community?

At Friends of Black Rock one of our goals is to keep our community and the surrounding area in its natural pristine condition. We go to tourist ‘hot spots’ around the area, like popular hot springs, and do restoration work. We host nature walks to Fly Geyser which brings around 50 people a week into our small, rural, Nevadan town. We educate people on the vast and incredibly interesting history that the Black Rock NCA holds. We advocate for best practices like those outlined by Leave No Trace so those recreating in the area can minimize their impact on the land and all its creatures. 

What’s your favorite memory or experience (so far) as an AmeriCorps member?

Doing an environmental-based AmeriCorps program has given me the opportunity to truly coexist within nature, something I am very thankful for. Growing up on the East Coast made me unfamiliar with such vast and wild spaces I wasn’t even aware existed. With FBR we host conservation campouts that are a 3.5-hour drive into the middle of nowhere. Getting to camp and giving back to our planet is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Destination Recreation: The Golden Gate Bridge by Jasmine Burnett

The Golden Gate Bridge makes a fun short trip if you are looking for something to do and get outdoors.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspended bridge that was built in 1993. To drive across the bridge there is a toll of about $10 for a two-axle vehicle and increasing in price depending on how large of a vehicle you have.  In the parking area, there are bathrooms available. There are also some signs about the history of the area and bridge. If you enjoy picnics there are sitting areas perfect for eating at.

Walking the Golden Gate Bridge gives you a great view of the San Francisco Bay area. The walk across is about 1.7 miles one way and takes about 35 minutes to walk. You also have the option to bicycle across the bridge. From the bridge, you can see the Ocean, the city of San Francisco, and the old prison building Alcatraz.

If you choose to go to the Golden Gate Bridge there are a few things that you might want to bring and plan ahead for. You should have good walking shoes and it is 1.7 miles one way. You should bring plenty of drinking water as it is typically warm in the area. There are a lot of photo opportunities so you will most likely want a camera. One thing to check on before going is if the bridge is under any construction as if parts of the bridge may be closed. If you have sensitivity to loud noises you may want to wear earplugs as there are lots of motorized vehicles passing along the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge attracts lots of people, on average there are about 88,716 visitors per day. There are ways we can reduce our impacts and help keep this area clean and available to future visitors. One way is that with many people there is a lot of trash produced so we should make an effort to use designated trash cans when visiting. Another way we can minimize our impact is by keeping pets on a leash. 

I hope this information helps you enjoy your trip to the golden gate bridge as much as I did! Remember when spending time outdoors you make choice actions that have a positive impact.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Step Outside and Let Nature Do the Talking

Are you feeling tired, stressed, or just a little bit cooped up? It's time to take a break and step outside. Nevada is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and the benefits of spending time outside are truly endless. From fresh air to stress relief, the great outdoors has got you covered. So, let's take a closer look at why you should make spending time outdoors a top priority.

There's nothing like a breath of fresh air. And in Northern Nevada, we've got some of the freshest air in the country. Thanks to our high elevation and low humidity, our air is pristine and clean, perfect for filling up your lungs and energizing your body. Plus, getting some fresh air can be a real mood booster, especially if you've been stuck inside all day. So why not step outside and let the fresh air work its magic?

But it's not just the air that's good for you. Spending time outdoors is a natural stress reliever. When you're surrounded by nature, you can't help but feel a little bit more grounded and connected to the world around you. Plus, research has shown that spending time in green spaces can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making you feel more relaxed and at ease. So if you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take a break and head outside. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel.

And let's not forget about the physical benefits of spending time outdoors. Whether you're hiking, biking, or simply taking a walk, getting some exercise in nature can do wonders for your body. Not only does it help you burn calories and build strength, but it can also boost your immune system and improve your cardiovascular health. And in Northern Nevada, we've got plenty of opportunities to get active. From the stunning peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the rolling hills of the Great Basin, there's no shortage of outdoor recreation options to explore.

But perhaps the greatest benefit of spending time outside is the opportunity to disconnect from the constant noise and distractions of modern life. In nature, you can truly unplug and let your mind wander. Whether you're gazing at a mountain vista, watching a bird soar overhead, or simply feeling the sun on your face, there's a sense of peace and calm that comes with being in the great outdoors. So why not take a break from your phone, your laptop, and all the other screens in your life, and let nature do the talking?

Of course, we can't talk about the benefits of spending time outdoors without mentioning the sheer joy and wonder that comes with exploring the natural world. From the tiny wildflowers that dot the desert landscape to the majestic elk that roam our forests, Northern Nevada is home to some truly amazing sights and sounds. And let's face it, sometimes you just need a little bit of whimsy in your life. So go ahead and take that sunset hike, build that snowman, or splash in that stream. Let your inner child run wild and savor all the simple pleasures that nature has to offer.

Spending time outdoors in Northern Nevada is one of the best things you can do for your health, happiness, and wellbeing. With fresh air, stress relief, physical activity, and so much more, the great outdoors has got everything you need to live your best life. So the next time you're feeling down or cooped up, step outside and let nature do the rest, it’s good for everyone!