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, July 27, 2023

AmeriCorps Spotlight- Mayra Rivas, Outdoor Educator with Nevada Outdoor School

Hello! I am Mayra Rivas with Nevada Outdoor School. I am an AmeriCorps member and an outdoor educator with Nevada Outdoor School. I grew up in Winnemucca, Nevada with my family of three at the time. I was looking for a job when I found this AmeriCorps program. I was looking for a job where I was on my feet more and I can be more active so I thought an outdoors job would suit me. Nevada Outdoor School was where I learned about AmeriCorps all together. I have been an AmeriCorps member since the beginning of June. AmeriCorps is where many people can go through to get a job and pursue their future. I am not really sure what it is word for word. It is important because it is a great place for opportunities! Being an AmeriCorps member, I have learned a lot about how to be an educator and how to teach someone as well as I can. I have also been surrounded by some great people. Being an AmeriCorps member, we have been able to be more involved in the community and I think this also helps them by giving people something to do when they may not have other things to do. We also teach some important things to others. My favorite memory while being an AmeriCorps member is when we had our first camp and all the campers were excited to be there and have some fun! I liked seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing them giggles at things we said. Being an AmeriCorps member has been really great and I have learned so much from it!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

What's New at NOS- June 2023

What an amazing month June was! And we can’t thank you enough for being part of it! Everything from our 20th Anniversary to our Boy Scout Hike in Lamoille was a huge hit.

To start the month, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary “Nature Indoors” Art Auction and Gala in Battle Mountain. For this event we were able to auction off paintings, drawings, photographs, birdhouses, a Native American antler rattle, jewelry, quilts, handmade backpacks, a book with songs and matching CD, wreaths, and several items made of wood. With this art auction we raised over $5,000.


On June 10th in Lamoille, NOS led an animal track and native plant hike on the Talbot trail with a boy scout troop in Spring Creek! We had 27 participants in total at the hike and everyone had a super fun time! The participants were given animal track identifiers and walked around looking at and identifying different animal tracks that we may find here in Nevada. 

In celebration of the end of the year, we met our rural schools at the Whitworth Recreational Park and splash pad for some water fun and a NOS lesson. 68 students from Paradise Valley, Denio, Orovada, and Kings River schools expanded their knowledge of local wildlife with a hands-on lesson on Skulls and Skins. 

At this month’s Ride Safe Ride Smart (RS2) Camp in both Winnemucca and Elko, NOS was able to give each participant a helmet to take home. We could not do this without the partnership of Renown Children's Medical Center! During camp, campers
played many games and activities that focused on safe and responsible OHV riding practices for kiddos to learn whether they drive or ride a side-by-side, ATV, or dirtbike.

June 21st was our very first family bike ride event with 14 locals! During this ride, participants stopped and learned about the history of the California Trail. It was around an 8-mile round trip but riders could turn around and go back at any point. Thank you to the California Trails Heritage Alliance and California Trail Interpretive Center for helping host this successful event. 

Elko Adventure Camp #1 went magically with the theme being Harry Potter. Participants made wands, potions, tie-dye, and played lots of Harry Potter-inspired games! 

Winnemucca Adventure camp also went great with the kids making tons of memories! Campers played in the water, had water balloon fights, camped overnight, hiked, made s’mores, and had a talent show. And, of course, they learned about Leave No Trace and how they can be good stewards of our habitat!

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

3rd Annual Fire and Ice Golf Scramble Fundraiser- Spring Creek

A great big THANK YOU! to all of the sponsors and participants in Nevada Outdoor School’s 3rd Annual Fire and Ice Golf Scramble Fundraiser last Saturday, May 20th at the Spring Creek Golf Course.  The day was full of beautiful weather, great golf shots, and lucky winners!

The theme for the event is “Fire and Ice” and we raffled off 4 firearms and 4 Cordova 48 Qt Coolers.  The firearm winners were: Pete Romero who won a Savage 17HMR custom stock rifle sponsored by Elevation Transport; Neil Smith who won a Howa 1500 Hunter .270 rifle sponsored by RamCon Construction; Jeff White who won a Mossberg 500 20-gauge shotgun and D. Gates who won a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun sponsored by Nevada Outdoor School.

The Cordova cooler winners were: Wayne Brenner sponsored by High Mountain Metal, Jessie Going sponsored by State Farm Insurance – Shaboyna Dutton, Cathy Rich sponsored by Canyon Construction, and lucky D. Gates sponsored by American Legion – Post 5.

Twenty-four - 4 person scramble teams came out to support Nevada Outdoor School and competed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes, plus 3 on-course game winners.  Due to a 2-team tie with a score of 61, there was a quick putt-off to determine the winner.  The 1st place team of Michael Kay, Ryan Owen, Clint Jensen, and Shaun Larson – all from MedX-Air One – the main tournament sponsor, each won a $50 gift card to the Star.  The 2nd place team of Chet George, Tom Smith, Chris Martinez, and Shaun Murphy – also with a score of 61, each won a $35 gift card to the Spring Creek Golf Course.  The 3rd place team of Keith Preston, Jeff White, Kristine Austin-Preston, and Susan Austin-Preston, with a score of 62, each won a $25 gift card to the Spring Creek Golf Course.  We also presented prizes to the “most in need of improvement” to the 2- person team of Adrian Valdez and Raul Macias with a score of 86.  They were gifted a sweet leather head cover donated by Ruby View Golf Course and coupons to Big 5.

We added some fun to the tournament play with some on-course games for yardage advantages on hole #7 and hole #10 where participants were challenged with some NOS outdoor ethics education questions to spark conversation about safe and responsible outdoor recreation and exploration.

The winner of the ladies’ closest to the hole contest on #8 was Kristine Austin-Preston and she was awarded a trip to Wendover to golf at Toana Vista Golf Club with a guest and an overnight stay at one of the Wendover Fun’s 3 resorts. The winner of the mens’ closest to the hole contest on #17 was Shawn Murphy and he was awarded with a trip to Jackpot to play golf at Jackpot Golf Club with a guest and an overnight stay at Cactus Pete's.

Additionally, there was a Straightest Drive competition on hole #2.  Winner, Kelli Boulette hit the straightest drive with a shot 4 inches off the center line and won a $100 gift card to Scheels.

Thank you to our donors – Elko Broadcasting and Elko Convention and Visitors Authority for advertising, Jackpot Golf Club and Toana Vista Golf Club for rounds of golf, Cactus Pete's and Wendover Fun for the overnight hotel stays, Scheels for the gift card, The Star for the 1st place prizes and Ruby View Golf Course for the leather head covers.

Lastly, thank you to Arms R Us and Gun World for the discount on the firearms, and thank you to Andrew Collins and his team at the Spring Creek Golf Course for so much help to NOS in hosting this annual fundraiser event.  It gets bigger and better every year!


Monday, July 10, 2023

2023 2nd Grade Watershed Field Trip

Between the months of April and May, Nevada Outdoor School put on our largest field trip to date! We hosted 761 students between 38 teachers and 4 counties, our Watershed Heroes Field Trip for 2nd graders! During this field trip experience, students learn about how they all live in a watershed and ways to respect and protect it while also using it!

We begin our field trip off with a skit hosted by our friends Thunder and Lightning! They engage the students by asking questions about their local watershed and where it is located. Once someone guesses the name of our local watershed (The Humboldt River Basin) a special guest, Watershed Hero *superhero pose* joins in on the fun as well! Then, one lucky student gets to come up and join in a game of Race to the Humboldt! Where that student shows the rest of the school how water moves from a high point (Mountains) down to a low point (our very own Humboldt River!) 

Once we end the opening skit, students break up by class into one of our four hands on stations where they learned about identifying towns along the Humboldt River, how different plants and animals impact the quality and quantity of the water, act out the water cycle through a boogie, and locate the different parts of our watershed on a map!

One station is “Sum of its Parts” where students identify towns located along the Humboldt River and demonstrate how negative impacts accumulate and move downstream. Students then model how a Watershed Hero plays an active role in preventing or reducing negative impacts by analyzing their actions, evaluating their impacts, and choosing wisely to positively impact their watershed.

Another station known as “Water Quality and Quantity: Who Feels the Impact?” is allowing students to “turn into” a variety of plants and animals that are in our local watershed. Through different games and activities, they evaluate how those plants, animals, and even people are impacted by the quality and quantity of water in a watershed. Students are then challenged to analyze how their actions can impact their watershed and generate ideas for how they can choose wisely to lessen negative impacts when possible.

A third station is “Water on the Move”. This station really gets the students moving when they act out the water cycle and connect the movement of water in the water cycle to how water moves in a watershed through a boogie! Students then use a watershed model to identify different parts of a watershed, geographical features and how water moves in a watershed. Using the watershed model, students predict, observe and discuss how water moves. They identify places where pollution might occur and observe how the movement of water, driven by the water cycle, carries that pollution through the watershed, negatively impacting the water quality. Evaluating the causes and impacts of pollution, students generate ideas of how they can help lessen negative impacts on their local watershed as watershed heroes.

Finally, our fourth station is “Seeing Watersheds” where students locate parts of a watershed on a map while learning about what makes the Humboldt River Basin Watershed unique! They then create a kinesthetic model to demonstrate how water flows within a watershed while investigating how negative impacts can also move through the watershed. Students evaluate how they can help lessen negative impacts on their watershed by choosing wisely as a watershed hero.

We conclude our field trip by bringing all the 2nd-grade classes together and having the Watershed Hero lead the group in the Water Cycle boogie one last time and to officially have them become Watershed Heroes *superhero pose*! Each student gets a watershed hero bracelet and a water droplet where they are asked “How can you become a watershed hero?” that they take back to their class and draw, write, and create what they learned from the field trip.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Outside Guide: “Preventing Outdoor Fires: Protecting Our Forests and Communities”

As the warm summer sun entices us to venture outdoors, it is essential to prioritize fire prevention and responsible recreation. Uncontrolled outdoor fires pose a significant threat to our forests, wildlife, and communities. Organizations such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the US Forest Service, the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), Nevada Outdoor School, Leave No Trace, and Tread Lightly! work tirelessly to safeguard our natural landscapes and educate the public about responsible outdoor practices.

The BLM, US Forest Service, and NDF play vital roles in managing public lands, forests, and protecting our natural resources. These organizations work collaboratively to mitigate fire risks, enforce fire prevention regulations, and develop comprehensive fire management plans. By conducting regular assessments and implementing preventive measures such as controlled burns, fuel reduction projects, and fire breaks, they strive to strike a balance between preserving healthy ecosystems and safeguarding communities from devastating wildfires.

In addition to fire prevention efforts, it is equally important to promote responsible recreation and the principles of Leave No Trace. Leave No Trace is an organization dedicated to teaching people how to enjoy the outdoors while minimizing their impact on the environment. Its seven principles serve as guidelines for outdoor enthusiasts to practice sustainable and responsible behavior. The Tread Lightly! organization’s national initiative is to protect and enhance recreation access and opportunities by promoting outdoor ethics to heighten individuals’ sense of good stewardship.

One of the principles directly related to fire prevention is "Minimize Campfire Impacts." Leave No Trace encourages individuals to use established fire rings, keep fires small, and fully extinguish them before leaving. By practicing proper campfire etiquette and respecting fire restrictions, we can significantly reduce the risk of accidental fires and preserve the natural beauty of our surroundings.

Outdoor fires, when uncontrolled, can have catastrophic consequences. They destroy wildlife habitats, damage watersheds, and disrupt the delicate balance of ecosystems. Additionally, they pose a significant threat to human lives, homes, and communities residing near forests or in rural areas.

Preventing outdoor fires starts with understanding their potential causes and adopting responsible practices. Simple actions such as properly extinguishing campfires, using designated fire pits, and avoiding burning debris during dry and windy conditions can significantly reduce the risk of accidental fires. Furthermore, it is crucial to respect fire restrictions and guidelines imposed by local authorities during periods of heightened fire danger.

The BLM, US Forest Service, NDF, Nevada Outdoor School, and Leave No Trace recognize the power of education in preventing outdoor fires and promoting responsible recreation. These organizations actively engage in community outreach programs, school visits, and public campaigns to raise awareness about fire safety and the principles of Leave No Trace.

Through workshops, training sessions, and educational materials, they equip individuals with the necessary knowledge on fire-resistant landscaping, defensible space creation, and emergency preparedness. By empowering people to become responsible stewards of the environment, they foster a collective effort in protecting our forests and reducing the risks associated with outdoor fires.  Nevada Outdoor School has Master Trainers on staff and can provide formal Leave No Trace and Tread Lighty! trainer courses to the public for free thanks to grant funding from the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Parks Recreational Trails Program and the Nevada Off-Highway Vehicles Program.

As we embark on outdoor adventures this summer, it is imperative to prioritize fire prevention and practice the principles of Leave No Trace. The BLM, US Forest Service, NDF, and Leave No Trace are dedicated to safeguarding our forests, wildlife, and communities through their efforts in fire management, education, and outreach.

By adopting responsible practices, respecting fire guidelines, and minimizing our impact on the environment, we can enjoy the beauty of nature while ensuring its preservation for future generations. Together, let us embrace responsible recreation, practice fire prevention, and leave a positive trace on the landscapes we cherish.  And remember, Get Outside (and stay safe), it’s great for everyone!

For more information:

BLM Fire Prevention:

US Forest Service, Managing the Land:

NV Division of Forestry, Wildland Fire Management:

Leave No Trace:

Tread Lightly! :

Nevada Outdoor School:

Destination recreation Big Four Ice Caves in Granite Falls, WA

 By Kaitin Phipps 

The Big Four Ice Caves, located in Granite Falls Washington, is an amazing sight to see. I absolutely love the large trees and mountains that surround the area. As well as all of the beautiful flowers and ferns that made their home alongside the trail through the forest.

Thanks to my family, I'm able to visit Washington every year or so. While I visit, my family and I are able to go on amazing adventures like visiting the ice caves. During this beautiful hike, I was able to see beautiful towering trees and so many native plants like wildflowers and ferns, as well as native animals of the area. It was so peaceful and a very easy trail for a nice view and walk. 

This hike is an easy walk that is 2.2 miles roundtrip. There are facilities at the start of the trailhead that are accessible to all. Dogs are also allowed on the trail, with a leash. Washington is a very humid environment, so for this hike I would recommend bringing plenty of water. Humidity can dehydrate you very quickly so have water prepared. While hiking, you may also want to wear lightweight clothing and wool socks or sandals. And of course, always bring sunscreen.

To get to the trailhead, you do need to get a parking pass. This is to ensure your safety and make the area a great place to visit. Thanks to the easy trail, this hike is great for people of all ages, including kids. There are also incredible sites to see, including plants, animals, waterfalls, rivers, and of course the beautiful ice caves! 

Although these ice caves are a beautiful site to see and hard to come by, they can also be very dangerous. At the top of the trail, at the ice caves, you will see a plaque in memory of Grace Tam. Grace was an 11-year-old girl who was unfortunately killed at the caves due to the changing environment of the ice caves. This serves as a reminder to those who visit to please be safe and cautious while visiting. 

You can use our AIC model to ensure that you are respectful, safe, and courteous of otters. Make sure while you are visiting this area to be very careful and cautious. Stay on the trails while hiking here and do not go near or inside the ice caves to ensure your safety as well as the safety of others. Choosing wisely in areas is very important. Not only does this keep you safe, but it also protects the area itself and the wildlife that calls this area home. 

This place is located in Washington so it's quite a ways away from Nevada. However, it is a great spot to stop by when visiting big cities like Seattle. During the winter, it's a little bit harder to get to because of the snow. However, in the summer when I was able to go while the weather was lovely and the trail was wonderful. 

According to this article (  on the ice caves, the best way to get to the area is as follows: “From I-5 in Everett, take exit 194 for Snohomish/Wenatchee, then take exit 204 for Lake Stevens. Follow this road for 2 miles, then turn left onto Hwy 9/9N Granite Falls. Proceed for 1.5 miles, turn right onto E 92/Granite Falls. In 6 miles, come to a roundabout that has a log sign for Granite Falls. Take the following roundabout to Quarry Road and stay on it through two more roundabouts.

Come to a stop sign and turn left onto the Mountain Loop Highway. In 10 miles, pass the Verlot Ranger Station on the left. A mile after the ranger station, cross a blue and grey bridge. 13 miles from the bridge are two signs for the Ice Caves on the right-hand side of the road. The first one will be for the picnic area. A quarter-mile beyond that is a sign marked Ice Caves Trailhead; turn in here. There is a paved parking lot with plenty of parking, vault toilets and a self-serve pay station for a one-day Northwest Forest Pass, which is required for the trail.”

This is such an amazing place to go hiking and visit. The views are incredible and you get to see this rare beauty in a lovely area. I highly recommend this area. It has given me a beautiful memory to look back on and I hope it does the same to every person who gets to visit.