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!

Friday, September 29, 2023

The Outside Guide: Exploring the Wonders of Nevada: Great Basin Basics Workshop

Ladies and gentlemen, grab your curiosity and your sense of adventure because the Great Basin Basics Workshop is just around the corner! Picture this: it's Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, and you find yourself in the captivating Powerhouse Picnic Area in the heart of Lamoille Canyon, Nevada. If you're wondering what's in store for you, let me spill the beans!

The Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) has teamed up with local experts to whisk you away on a whirlwind tour of the best that Nevada has to offer. Are you ready to dive headfirst into a day of discovery, learning, and unforgettable experiences? Of course, you are!

Rock 'n Roll: Geology of the Great Basin

Ever wanted to know what's beneath your feet? First up on our adventure itinerary, we have local geologists unraveling the secrets of the earth's crust. Get ready for a rocky adventure and learn about the geology of the Great Basin and its surroundings. 

A Blast from the Past: Local History Unearthed

If you're a history buff, prepare to be transported back in time. The California Trail Center and Northeastern Nevada Museum will regale you with tales of pioneers, gold rushes, and the wild west. History class just got a whole lot more exciting!

Botanical Beauty: Local Plants and Trees

Next, we'll delve into the green wonders of this region with none other than NOS. Discover the secrets of the local flora, from towering pines to delicate wildflowers. Your inner botanist is in for a treat!

The Wild Side of Nevada: Wildlife Galore

Are you ready for an encounter with the diverse wildlife that calls the Great Basin home? With the Nevada Department of Wildlife as our guides, you'll learn about the fascinating critters that roam these parts. Who knows, you might even spot a bobcat doing the cha-cha with a pronghorn!

Feeding Your Mind and Body

All this exploring and learning can work up quite an appetite. So, don't forget to pack a lunch to enjoy amidst the stunning Nevada landscape. Did you know that the Great Basin is home to some of the most diverse landscapes and ecosystems? Well, you're about to find out more at this FREE workshop!

Bundle Up and Bring the Kids

Since we're taking this show on the road, please dress warmly. We're in the great outdoors, after all! And if you're bringing along your little explorers, they'll need to be accompanied by an adult throughout the workshop. Safety first, adventurers!

Don't Miss Out, Register Today!

Oh, and here's the best part: registration is absolutely free! But you must call the Elko NOS office at (775) 777-0814 to secure your spot on this educational escapade. Trust us; you won't want to miss this opportunity to bask in the beauty and knowledge of the Great Basin.

So, mark your calendars for October 7, 2023, and get ready to embark on a journey that'll leave you with a deeper appreciation for the incredible world right outside your door. Nevada's Great Basin awaits your curiosity, so let's make this a day to remember! And don’t forget, get outside, it’s great for everyone.

Friday, September 15, 2023

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Noah Doyle, Nevada Outdoor School Outdoor Educator

My name is Noah Doyle and I have been an AmeriCorps member serving with Nevada Outdoor School since May 2023. Before AmeriCorps, I was working full-time as a barista at a locally owned coffee shop here in Elko, Nevada. Almost all of my time in the workforce has been spent in either retail or food service, so I was very intrigued by the opportunity I found through AmeriCorps! I was initially introduced to the Nevada Outdoor School program through a friend of mine who works at the Elko office. I had previously heard little about AmeriCorps, their mission, and the opportunities that are offered through their programming and I was excited about learning more. Starting this job was one of the best things that happened to me this year. I was feeling stuck in my old position and like I didn’t have many suitable options available to me. I’ve always had a passion for creativity and teaching, so I was very eager to begin my service with Nevada Outdoor School. 

During my service, I was able to learn and discover new things that I’d never considered before. One of the first things I got to participate in was our Watershed Field Trips for the different schools in the Elko area. Honestly, I had no idea what a watershed was before helping with this programming! It was also my debut working with elementary grade students, which went a lot more smoothly that I originally anticipated! I’ve experience working with high school students, and the two groups are vastly different. Having to adjust my teaching tactics was a challenge, but one that I had welcomed with open arms. Luckily, I seemed to be pretty naturally good at working with younger students, which only exaggerated the excitement I had for working my term going forward. Everything about my position holds an air of importance and I’ve been able to discover new things about myself as well! I’m now more confident than ever that I’d like to pursue a career in education sometime in the future. As someone who isn’t used to taking initiative in most projects, I was able to practice leadership skills through my service with AmeriCorps as well. The work I’ve done during my term has helped build my confidence and uncover more things about my personality that were previously buried under several layers of self-doubt and uncertainty. 

My favorite part of being an AmeriCorps member is how meaningful the work I do is. One of my biggest struggles when it came to working retail, customer, or food service, was how menial and soul-sucking the jobs feel. I yearned to do more for my community, something that did more for the greater good than stocking shelves or bagging burgers and fries. I had felt so disconnected from my community and the people in it because I was seeing so little of it. I spent my days going through the same set of motions, talking to the same groups of people with little variation. Working with AmeriCorps means each day is different, and each project you work on is giving back to the community in so many different ways. I really enjoyed being able to employ my own ideas, use and refine my leadership and problem-solving skills. I love being able to meet new people out in the community and support events to encourage others to get involved with their community. The work that I do helps make my town and community a cleaner, better place for everyone living here or even just passing through!

Part of my job as an Outdoor Educator working with Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) is scheduling and running summer camp programs in order to teach youth Leave No Trace and the importance of doing your part to take care of the environment. I’ve had the pleasure of being a supporting member at a few different camps as well as creating and leading one of my own. Leading and supporting camps take similar but different skill sets. Support definitely takes less effort, but is an absolute necessity to have while working summer camps. Being able to keep multiple sets of eyes on your campers, and have that extra cushion to help manage your groups is life-saving. Leading camps can be very challenging because you’re in charge of creating the schedule and coming up with games and activities to help fill time in the schedule. There’s also the prospect of buying enough servings of food for any overnight camping we do. It’s also the responsibility of the lead to take charge of any sort of behavioral management or disciplinary action that may need to be taken during camp. There are a lot of different pieces to the puzzle that we’re in charge of putting together in order to provide fun and educational programming for our participants.

Overall, my service with AmeriCorps has been incredibly fulfilling and I’m planning to continue with another term of service once I finish this first term. I’ve developed so many wonderful relationships with my coworkers, and I genuinely look forward to the work that I do and the positive impact that my position has on the environment and community. There are definitely some frustrations that come and go while performing my duties, but I see each one as an opportunity to learn and grow and acquire new skills in order to help myself and others in the future. There are so many benefits that I’ve come into while serving this term for AmeriCorps and I can’t wait to pursue the future endeavors that AmeriCorps has given me the confidence to go after!

Noah Doyle (2nd from left) poses for a group picture with NOS Summer Members

Noah Doyle (Front) takes a selfie with his campers and Supports on Lamoille’s Hanging Valley Walking path

Thursday, September 14, 2023

2023 Winnemucca Fire & Ice Golf Tournament Fundraiser

A great big THANK YOU! to all of the sponsors and participants in Nevada Outdoor School’s 1st Annual Winnemucca Fire and Ice Golf Scramble Fundraiser last Saturday, September 9th at the Winnemucca 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: Russ Mullins who won a Savage 17HMR rifle sponsored by NOS; Tim Roybal who won a Tristar Raptor Semi Auto 12 gauge shotgun sponsored by Stewart Title; Lee Bosch who won a Tristar Setter 28 gauge shotgun and Adua Boyle who won a Savage .22 WMR both guns sponsored by NOS.

The Cordova cooler winners were: Brandon Tangreen sponsored by Drake Rose & Associate; Cole Erquiaga sponsored by Carwil, Joey Dendary sponsored by Edward Jones – Walt Vetter and Chrissy Ingle Hunt sponsored by Stewart Title.

We also had a 3-night, 6 hunt Dove Hunting trip to Cordoba, Argentina for 4 people donated by Norte Hunters that was up for silent auction, and lucky winner Brandon Tangreen was the winning bid.

Twelve - 4 person scramble teams came out to support Nevada Outdoor School. Tied for 1st place with a score of 61 were the teams of Max Mavity, Rian DeLong, Goose Thurston and Maddux Nichols and Carl Rose, Scott Ashby, Craig Drake and Rodney Dimock. They all won $70 each to spend at the Winnemucca Golf Club House. Tied for 2nd place with a score of 66 were the teams of Louis Roman, Mitch Weber, Savannah Roman, and Emily Roman, and Stewart Title’s team of Tim Roybal, Mike Adams, Jared Wiss, and Steve Hunt. They each won $20 each in Golf Course Cash. We also presented prizes to the “most in need of improvement” to the Carwil team of Kandy Havens, Kona Jensen, Adam Dossey and Tyler Sabayan. They were gifted $200 in gift certificates to The Martin.

We added some fun to the tournament play with an on-course game for yardage advantages on hole #6 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 #5 was Holly Gallian and she was awarded with a trip to Las Vegas to play golf at Painted Desert Golf Club with 3 guests and an overnight stay for two rooms at Santa Fe Station. The winner of the mens’ closest to the hole contest also on #5 was Scott DeLong and he was awarded with a trip to Sparks to stay overnight and play golf with a guest at Red Hawk Golf and Resort.

Additionally, there was a Straightest Drive competition on hole #8. Winner, Carl Rose hit the straightest drive with a shot right on the center line and won $300 in gift cards from The Peppermill Resort and Spa in Reno.

Thank you to our donors – Elko Broadcasting, Stewart Title, Drake Rose & Associates, Gamma Electric, Peppermill Resort and Spa, Norte Hunters, Painted Desert Golf Club, Santa Fe Station, The Martin Hotel, Red Hawk Golf and Resort, Winnemucca Golf Course, Carwil, Edward Jones – Walt Vetter and Les Schwab.

Lastly, thank you to Rack City and C.B. Browns for the discount on the firearms and thank you to Joey Dendary and his team at the Winnemucca Golf Course for so much help to NOS in hosting this annual fundraiser event. Our hope is that it will get bigger and better every year!

In gratitude,

Melanie Erquiaga, Executive Director

The Outside Guide: Embracing the Autumn Symphony: Fall in Central and Northern Nevada's Great Basin with a Celestial Bonus

As summer gracefully hands over the reins to autumn, central and northern Nevada's Great Basin undergoes a breathtaking transformation. This unique region, known for its rugged beauty, experiences an enchanting display of seasonal change. And this year, nature is offering an extraordinary celestial bonus—a "Ring of Fire" total solar eclipse. In the midst of this transition, the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, NV, is hosting a celestial watch party for this rare event, adding a touch of magic to an already mesmerizing season.

The Great Basin, sprawling across parts of Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, and California, is characterized by its high deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and distinct topography. This vast region is about to embrace autumn with open arms, turning its typically arid landscape into a mesmerizing tapestry of colors.

One of the most noticeable changes as autumn approaches in the Great Basin is the gradual cooling of temperatures. The relentless summer heat, with its triple-digit highs, slowly gives way to cooler, crisper air—a refreshing invitation for outdoor exploration.

The elevation in central and northern Nevada plays a pivotal role in this temperature shift. As you ascend in elevation, the temperature drop becomes more pronounced. Lower elevations see daytime highs in the 70s and 80s (°F), while the higher reaches experience daytime temperatures in the 60s and even 50s (°F). These cooler temperatures provide an ideal environment for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and stargazing.

As the temperatures dip, the Great Basin transforms into a stunning canvas. The once-dominant sagebrush-covered landscape is replaced by vibrant hues of fall foliage. Among the star performers in this autumnal spectacle are the aspen trees, their leaves turning a brilliant shade of gold, gleaming like nuggets of sunlight against the azure sky.

The quaking aspen, recognized by its white bark and heart-shaped leaves, becomes emblematic of fall in the Great Basin. These trees form extensive groves that seem to come alive as their leaves flutter in the breeze, creating a captivating visual display. Prime locations to witness this breathtaking phenomenon include Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.

In addition to the aspens, other deciduous trees, like cottonwoods and willows, contribute their own shades to the autumn landscape. Their vibrant yellows and oranges blend harmoniously with the golden aspen leaves, weaving a rich tapestry of colors that is nothing short of enchanting.

Autumn in the Great Basin ushers in a flurry of wildlife activity. As temperatures drop and daylight hours wane, many animals gear up for winter by stocking up on food. This is an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to observe the region's diverse fauna.

Mule deer, icons of the Great Basin, engage in the rutting season during the fall. Here, bucks vie for the attention of females, their haunting calls echoing through the valleys, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for observers.

Birdwatchers, too, are in for a treat during the fall migration season. The Great Basin serves as a crucial stopover for numerous migratory birds traveling along the Pacific Flyway. From sandhill cranes to tundra swans, these avian visitors grace the region with their presence as they head south for the winter.

Autumn is a time of celebration in the Great Basin, with communities coming together to embrace the changing season. Amid the traditional festivities, a celestial marvel is set to occur this year—the "Ring of Fire" total solar eclipse.

On October 14, between 9:20 AM and 9:25 AM, a celestial spectacle will unfold in the skies above. During this brief window, the moon will obscure the majority of the sun, leaving only a mesmerizing outer ring of fire—a sight to behold. The partial eclipse will commence around 8 AM and conclude at approximately 10:45 AM.

To make the most of this rare event, the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, NV, is hosting a celestial watch party. It's a unique opportunity to witness this cosmic dance while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Basin. For more information on the eclipse and the event, you can visit the NASA website at

Beyond the eclipse, the Great Basin is renowned for its dark skies, making it an ideal destination for stargazers and astronomers. As fall progresses, the longer nights offer ample opportunities to witness celestial wonders.

The Great Basin's remote location and minimal light pollution create the perfect conditions for stargazing. Whether you're an amateur astronomer with a telescope or simply a lover of the night sky, you'll be treated to a breathtaking view of the Milky Way, planets, and constellations.

Some of the best places for stargazing in the Great Basin include Great Basin National Park, where the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive offers unparalleled views, and the Ruby Mountains, where you can camp under the stars and enjoy the serenity of the night.

Fall in central and northern Nevada's Great Basin is a time of remarkable change and beauty. The transition in temperature, the vibrant display of fall foliage, the bustling wildlife, and the celestial spectacle of the "Ring of Fire" total solar eclipse all come together to create an enchanting and invigorating season. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to witness the breathtaking transition from summer to fall in the heart of the Great Basin, culminating in the celestial watch party event at the California Trail Interpretive Center—an experience you won't soon forget.  And as always, Get Outside! It’s great for everyone.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

What's New at NOS- August 2023

Here at NOS August is always the month to squeeze in one last Summer adventure! And we did just that plus some. Check out our What's New at NOS for the month of August!

Our roadshow booths were seen in both Winnemucca and Carlin during National Night Out. Participants had the opportunity to spin the wheel of recreation, answer outdoor involved questions, and earn prizes. There were many people in these small towns that were informed of what NOS is and the programs that we have at little to no cost for young kids, teens, and even adults. First responders got to show off their equipment and vehicles, flight paramedics who flew in a helicopter directly onto the park, and even the BACA group (Bikers Against Child Abuse) joined in among many others. Police served up hamburgers and hotdogs during this free event. Although the wind and the rain caused some minor inconveniences!

And what would the end of Summer be without a walk and hike! In August we visited the Winnemucca Haskell Street Walkway, Sonoma Creek, the Water Canyon Overlook, and Winnemucca Mountain! Many community members and their dogs joined in on our walks to enjoy the sights, sounds, and creatures in the Winnemucca area.

Associate Director Karl Klein and AmeriCorps member Noah Clymens joined in on the fun in Midas, Nevada during the Midas chapter of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited Annual dinner! NOS helped run fundraising games during this event. Nevada Outdoor School and NBU Midas share the same missions of outdoor youth education and spending more time outside! Since 2013, NBU-Midas has donated $51,032 to NOS, and since 2022, NBU - Elko chapter has donated $10,500 to NOS as well.

Our Wildhorse Camp did not disappoint our 8 enthusiastic campers! Here is a write-up from our AmeriCorps member Stewart!

After loading up our truck and setting off, we arrived at the reservoir later that morning! We set up camp and got to know each other, before starting walking tacos for dinner and s'mores for dessert. We started learning all about Leave No Trace and played games involving the lessons. That night we were hit with a terrible storm that blew tents over. Thunder filled our ears as rain filled our tents. The next morning we collected ourselves and began our trip to the ghost town Jarbidge. After a long drive on a rocky road, we arrived at the town where we explored and got ice cream! Arriving back at camp, we started cooking our dinner for the night, hamburgers and hotdogs! The next day we woke up and prepared for a day of fishing. Nothing was caught, but everyone had a fun time learning and spending time on the beach. That night we cooked spaghetti with meat sauce and enjoyed skits around the campfire! The next morning we packed up all our things and began to head back home, another fun adventure exploring Northern Nevada complete!

We not only like to enjoy being outside during the day but we love to have adventures at night! This year we were able to celebrate National S'mores Day during the Perseid Meteor Shower! Much enjoyment was to be had in both Winnemucca and Elko. In Elko, we entertained over 200 community members during this event!

As hunting season kicks off, NOS staff Meghan and Jacklyn lead their second Hunter Education Course in Elko. The Hunter Ed class is open to all members of the community who are interested in starting a path into hunting or who are just interested in learning more about firearm safety. The class consists of games and hands-on activities related to the sport of hunting and outdoor ethics. The class had 3 participants who all successfully completed the course. If you missed out on this class, no worries we have another one scheduled for September 30th in Winnemucca!

All good things must come to an end but we had a blast closing out the 2023 camp season! The Backroad Voyagers camp in Tahoe took place on August 14th and ended August 17th. This camp was an amazing adventure for our 3 campers as well as for NOS AmeriCorps Members. At the camp, campers got to tour UNR as well as TMCC in Reno. They were also able to go to the Tahoe Treetop Adventure park, which was such a fun and exciting experience that all campers enjoyed. Finally, campers got to spend some time at the Commons Beach in Tahoe City to eat ice cream, paddleboard, and kayak! The whole camp was fun and exciting. There was wildlife, beautiful views, and fun adventures. We hope to have another amazing camp like this next summer!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Outside Guide: Unveiling the Wonders of Outdoor Learning

In a world pulsating with technology and screens, it's easy to lose touch with the beauty and wonder that nature offers us. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life, there exists a beacon of hope - a program that brings the enchantment of the outdoors to the hearts of young learners.  At the heart of the Nevada Outdoor School beats the resounding mission to connect students to the marvels of the natural world. With the "Nature in My World" program, this mission springs to life, touching the lives of over 4,000 young minds across Pershing, Humboldt, Lander, Elko, Eureka, and White Pine counties. Through engaging Outdoor Learning Experiences (OLEs) offered quarterly, the program bridges the gap between classroom teachings and the world that thrives beyond the school walls.

Imagine a classroom transformed into a gateway of discovery, where textbooks are exchanged for the rustling leaves and chirping birds. "Nature in My World" is a cross-curricular experiential learning approach that brings age-appropriate nature-based OLEs to young students. These OLEs are windows to explore the natural world, fostering understanding, connection, and interaction with the environment.

With each OLE, students are drawn into the embrace of nature, fostering an increased "Time Spent Outdoors" (TSO). This immersion goes beyond textbooks and worksheets; it's about stepping out into the world and actively engaging with it. Through hands-on experiences, students don't just learn about the environment - they become a part of it.

As young minds dive into the wonders of nature, they are not just learning about flora and fauna. They're building their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, embarking on a journey that ignites their innate curiosity. The "Nature in My World" program nurtures more than knowledge; it nurtures resilience and adaptability, qualities that extend far beyond the classroom.

One of the most precious gifts the program bestows upon students is their very own outdoor ethic. As they explore, analyze, and evaluate their interactions with the environment, a profound connection blossoms. They begin to understand that they are an integral part of a delicate balance, and their actions can leave lasting footprints. These young stewards of the environment learn to cherish, respect, and protect the natural world, becoming champions of sustainability in their own right.

While "Nature in My World" dances harmoniously with traditional education, it isn't bound by academic standards. NOS stands as a beacon of support for classroom teachers, guiding them on how to weave Outdoor Learning Experiences into their lesson plans. These experiences aren't separate from education; they enrich it, offering a tapestry of learning that extends into the great outdoors.

The wheels of this enchanting journey are set in motion by NOS's dedicated Program Coordinators (PC). Based in the Winnemucca, Elko, and the California Trial Interpretive Center (CTIC) offices, they collaborate with school districts and teachers to bring OLEs to life. With the aid of NOS AmeriCorps Outdoor Educators, these OLEs find their home within school premises or NOS-designated field trip sites known as "Watershed Heroes." CTIC PC adds a unique flavor to the mix, facilitating programs that inspire learning through connections to the past.

"Nature in My World" shatters the confines of traditional learning. It ushers students into the heart of hands-on, place-based, cross-curricular education that's not only captivating but exhilarating. Through OLEs, students don't just analyze scientific concepts; they experience them firsthand. Whether examining the delicate intricacies of an ecosystem or delving into the world of geological wonders, these experiences become the stepping stones to deeper understanding and appreciation.

In the realm of "Nature in My World," every tree is a teacher, every cloud a lesson, and every gust of wind a whisper of wisdom. It's an invitation to all students, teachers, and educators to embrace nature's classroom. It's a call to venture beyond the walls, immerse oneself in the great outdoors, and let nature's wonders inspire growth, wonder, and stewardship.

As we embark on another year of outdoor exploration of "Nature in My World," let's remember that the world outside is not separate from our world of learning. NOS's visionary program opens doors to exploration, growth, and transformation. It kindles the flames of curiosity, empowers young minds with skills beyond textbooks, and forges a lasting connection between humanity and the environment. With "Nature in My World," the Nevada Outdoor School fosters not just knowledge, but a deep-rooted love for the natural world and a commitment to protecting it for generations to come. Get Outside! It’s great for everyone.