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, July 12, 2024

AmeriCorps Spotlight - Noah Doyle

Noah, an AmeriCorps member wrapping up his service at Nevada Outdoor School, gives insight into what he has learned throughout his service. Noah was born in California before moving to the Elko area at around four or five years old. He graduated from Spring Creek High School and went on to work various food service jobs before deciding that he needed a different path. He found AmeriCorps through a parent of a friend, whose child had also been an AmeriCorps member, and from there, he found a job that provided him with the opportunity to be a part of something more and to work with the community. Reflecting on his experience, Noah shared, “AmeriCorps is the opportunity to provide service for people. It’s an opportunity to be a part of a community and do more for your community than a retail or fast food service job ever could.”


One of the most significant personal growth areas for Noah has been leadership. Initially hesitant to take charge, AmeriCorps has given him the confidence to make decisions, such as ensuring the safety of campers during a lightning storm. This newfound assertiveness and leadership have been instrumental in shaping his goals post-AmeriCorps, where he envisions himself as an author or potentially a high school English and creative writing teacher.


For Noah, AmeriCorps has been transformative. It's not just about the tasks he undertakes but the impact he makes on young minds through programs like the Young Naturalist Club. One standout memory for Noah was organizing activities that encouraged children to explore temporary art forms, fostering creativity and curiosity outdoors. Noah talked fondly about the hard work he put into finding temporary art forms, and how much fun the kids had with the project. These experiences have not only enriched Noah’s time with AmeriCorps but have also left a lasting impression on the children he has mentored. 



Looking ahead to life after AmeriCorps, Noah is open to the opportunities that may come his way. He acknowledges that the program has been challenging at times, pushing him beyond his comfort zone, but ultimately rewarding. “You do a lot of hard work, but it's a lot of good work,” he affirmed, reflecting on the impact of his service on both himself and his community.


In closing, Noah mused, “I’ve struggled a lot through my life, and actually being able to do something that’s meaningful has been really powerful for me and has made me feel more confident in myself.” His journey with AmeriCorps has not only equipped him with skills and experiences but has also instilled in him a belief in the impact of service, a belief that is sure to follow him in his future goals and plans.





Friday, July 5, 2024

Exploring Northern Nevada: Top Camping Areas You Don’t Want to Miss

Lamoille Canyon, Nevada.

Northern Nevada is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of landscapes and camping experiences that cater to everyone from rugged adventurers to families seeking relaxation. Whether you're drawn to alpine lakes or vast deserts, this region has it all. Here’s a guide to some of the best camping spots northern Nevada has to offer.

1. Great Basin National Park

Near the Utah border, Great Basin National Park is a must-see spot for all nature lovers. The park boasts diverse camping options, from developed campgrounds to backcountry sites for the more adventurous. Great Basin Park is known for the ancient bristlecone pine forests, Wheeler Peak - the second-highest pearl in Nevada, and Lehman Caves - a great opportunity to see stalactites and stalagmites. There are opportunities to stay on developed campgrounds, such as Wheeler Peak Campground, in more secluded areas. Great Basin National Park does experience heavy snowfall in the winter, so the best time to visit is late spring to early fall. 

2. Lake Tahoe

While predominantly in California, Lake Tahoe’s northern shores extend into Nevada and offer some of the most picturesque camping spots in the area. Campgrounds like Sand Harbor and Spooner Lake provide easy access to hiking trails, beaches, and water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. Summer and early fall are ideal for camping here, as the weather is mild, and the lake activities are in full swing.

3. Ruby Mountains Wilderness

Known as the "Alps of Nevada," the Ruby Mountains offer beautiful views and quiet solitude. Lamoille Canyon features several campgrounds surrounded by towering cliffs, alpine lakes, and cascading waterfalls. Campsites like Thomas Canyon and Terraces Campground are popular choices for hikers looking to explore the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail. Late spring through early fall is the best time to visit, although higher elevations may retain snow into early summer.

4. Black Rock Desert

Known for hosting the renowned Burning Man event, the Black Rock Desert features an expansive, playa-covered terrain ideal for secluded camping and stargazing. Primitive camping is allowed across large portions of the area, providing a rare chance to immerse oneself in the desert's beauty. The best time to visit is late summer and early fall when temperatures are milder, and the desert floor is dry enough for vehicle access.

5. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

Including a majority of Nevada’s wilderness, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest offers countless camping opportunities amidst stunning mountain ranges and forests. Popular areas include the Toiyabe Range near Austin and the Jarbidge Wilderness, known for its wild rivers and abundant wildlife. Popular campgrounds include Angel Creek Campground near Wells, which provides access to fishing and hiking opportunities, and Wildhorse Campground near Elko. Camping seasons vary by elevation, but generally, mid-summer through early fall offers the best weather and accessibility.


Northern Nevada’s camping spots are as diverse as they are beautiful, offering something for every type of camper and outdoor enthusiast. Whether you prefer the rugged terrain of the Ruby Mountains or the calm shores of Lake Tahoe, each destination promises unforgettable experiences and stunning natural beauty. Plan your visit and prepare to immerse yourself in the wilderness that northern Nevada has to offer.



Monday, June 10, 2024

What's New at NOS - June 2024

Hey there, summer seekers! The excitement is in the air as we gear up for a season packed with adventure. This month we're prepping for summer camp, counting down the days to Nature in the Park events, and eager to hit the trails with the Backpacking Club, get ready for an epic summer ahead. Stay safe and get outside!

Monday, June 3, 2024

What's New at NOS - May 2024

Summer is here, and excitement fills the air! Last month, we immersed ourselves in outdoor adventures, learning to identify native plants, hosting the Fire and Ice Golf Tournament Fundraiser, and so much more! Now, with the sun shining bright, we're ready for more fun in the great outdoors. Join us as we embrace the season with open arms, ready for new experiences and unforgettable moments!

What's New at NOS - April 2024

Spring has sprung, and with it comes a burst of vibrant energy! And what better way to embrace the new season than by diving headfirst into outdoor adventures?

Here at Nevada Outdoor School, we've been eagerly awaiting this moment to reconnect with the great outdoors and share our passion for conservation and outdoor education. Over the past few weeks, we've been busy gearing up for an exciting lineup of activities, from immersive training sessions on Leave No Trace principles to engaging workshops on Hunter Education, and even delving into the fascinating world of plant identification!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

What's New at NOS- March 2024

In this March's What's New at NOS we are show casing what our Winnemucca team did during Spring Break, partnership events and road shows! Check out the recap below to find out the details! 


On March 1st, 8 Elko Community members joined Meghan and Noah from Nevada Outdoor School at Elko’s Peace Park for the ‘Mountain: Rain or Snow? Weather Watchers’ workshop. Scientist Meghan Collins from Desert Research Institute couldn’t make it but provided valuable information and tools for the program. Meghan Strugell discussed rain, snow, and snowflake formation, while Noah shared insights on snowflake shapes and formation conditions. Participants used DRI’s Mountain: Rain or Snow? App to report weather information. Despite the lack of snow, attendees explored close-up photography with a macro lens and observed salt crystals. The workshop sparked a newfound interest in science and weather among participants.



Photo Caption: Participant using a macro lens to take photos of raindrops on vegetation


The Elko Sportsman's Expo was great for outreach! We had a booth at the convention center, Kindra and Noah had the evening shifts, while Leanna and Kaniesha had the morning shifts (3/2-3/3/2024). We helped youth make Tread Lightly! keychains with colorful beads. We also brought the NOS wheel of ethics for kids to spin and answer questions to get a sticker. We got a couple sign ups for the email send outs, and we had children who recognized us from prior lessons! The best part was how excited the kiddos were to spin the wheel. All in all, over the two days, we spoke to just over 500 people!




Photo Caption: NOS Booth at Sportsman Expo


On Monday, March 4th, the Winnemucca community was invited to join us at Vesco Park to make bug crafts out of beads and pipe cleaners and learn some cool facts about bugs. 3 families showed up and everyone enjoyed making their own bugs. Even though the weather was a bit cold, they still had fun and got to take home their crafts. Along with the bug facts, there also were some bugs preserved in resin for the participants to see - the scorpion and the cicada were the kids favorites. Overall, the craft went well for everyone and the event was a success.


Day 2 of Art in the park on March 5 at Vesco Park in Winnemucca focused on letters. AmeriCorps members William, Sedric, Noah worked with two families teaching them how to create bubble letters and adding dinosaurs and other cool ideas. Overall, it was a blast! The kids had fun with their drawings and everyone  got to spend quality time outdoors creating art together.


Winnemucca's weather cooperated, offering a lovely day for Art in the Park. Nevada Outdoor School members Toni, Sedric, and Noah C. shared the craft of Bottle Terrarium building with nine participants, adults and children on the 7th of March at James Kinney pond in Winnemucca. Community members were led through a step by step process of adding gravel, charcoal, and soil to their bottles. Afterwards they all added plants and decor to complete enchanting Terrariums. Overall the event was an enriching experience teaching the community creative ways to express themselves artistically while enjoying the outdoors.    



Photo Caption: NOS member Toni explaining the different layers of a Bottle Terrarium.




Photo Caption: Community participants creating Bottle Terrariums.



On Friday March 8th, Winnemucca community members were invited to participate in a hike up Winnemucca Mountain to the “W”. NOS members Noah C, Sedric, and William all attended the hike. We had an amazing turnout of 13 people with both individuals and families. The weather was perfect for the hike. We met the participants at Veterans Memorial Park and went over Leave No Trace principles and a basic plan of what we were going to do. The hike did take longer than expected but with a big group we kept the pace slow so everyone could stay together. Overall the hike went awesome and everyone had a great time.



Photo Caption: Participants of Hike to the W pose for a picture while on the hike.



On March 8th, NOS AmeriCorps members from the Elko Office held the inaugural Geocache Workshop at Elko Peace Park. Kaneisha led 22 enthusiastic participants in discovering the worldwide activity of geocaching. The workshop featured a geocache terminology quiz and a Geocaching 101 handbook created by Kaneisha, covering geocaching history and Leave No Trace principles. Noah and Leanna guided one group to find a hidden cache at Peace Park, while Kindra and Kaneisha helped the other group create their own geocache box. The workshop was a resounding success, with participants thoroughly enjoying the experience. Kaneisha, Noah, Kindra, and Leanna are excited to announce the upcoming hiding of NOS's very first geocache box and will share a video on social media about its location. 



Photo Caption: Participants searching for a geocache at Elko Peace Park

On the 12 day of March, Nevada Outdoor School partnered with NDOW for their annual Trout Release with Winnemucca's 5th grade students. Sixteen classrooms of students attended a series of exciting, educational, stations up in the picturesque Water Canyon. There they released trout that they've been raising in the classroom, learned about stream habitats, local birds, riparian areas, local wildlife, and electrofishing. NOS provided two engaging stations for the students, Camp Oh No! and Just Passing Through. Camp Oh No! taught how we can camp with our Leave No Trace principles to have the best possible experience while leaving the environment impact-free. Just Passing Through showed students how erosion occurs and how plants and responsible land use can reduce this impact. The event went well with all participants leaving with new learning experiences, impactful knowledge, and outdoor time. 



Photo Caption: Students learning about trout.




Photo Caption: NOS member Toni explaining Camp Oh No! To students.

 
On March 13, 2024, Elko had their STEM fair and family night. It was a good turn out with plenty of children of all ages curious about Nevada Wildlife. With over 200 kids present, NOS AmeriCorps Outdoor Educators, Kindra and Leanna explained to the kids how elk see, some children loved the elk vision glasses and they were shocked to find out a big animal such as an elk was considered prey. Some children were very frightened to find out that NOS had a real elk pelt. Kids were also very excited for the CTIC booth where they could color and make their own pins.


On Saturday, March 16th, NOS AmeriCorps members went to Battle Mountain to help NDOW and the school district clean up the duck pond next to the high school. There was a really good turnout of volunteers, including a lot of highschoolers there for community service hours. At the start, members were pulling weeds from around the pond until NDOW got their skid steer going. The members then helped throw tree trimmings into a dumpster filled by raking and bagging leaves. Overall, it was an amazing event helping clean up a community pond and making it more accessible. 

Early on Friday, March 29th, 5 students joined NOS Members Meghan, Noah D, and Kindra at Mountain View Park for the first Ride Safe, Ride Smart camp of 2024! This day camp led students through the importance of T.R.E.A.D Lightly principles, and actions people can take in order to protect themselves and others while riding ATVs! The day camp included a lot of fun activities from running games to arts and crafts! Overall, the youth involved each learned valuable information that they’ll be able to carry throughout their lives and help protect themselves and others around them! 

On March 29th, Winnemucca AmeriCorps members Noah C, Sedric Zimmerman, and William Neff organized a community geocaching workshop at Pioneer Park. They introduced geocaching, outlined the day's plan, and emphasized Leave No Trace principles. Participants explored various locations around town, using hints to locate hidden caches, signing logs, and returning them. The event was highly successful, introducing many to the outdoor adventure of geocaching and promoting outdoor activity. 

Over Easter weekend, NOS AmeriCorps Outdoor Educator William and Executive Director Melanie Erquiaga promoted NOS’s Ride Safe, Ride Smart Program and the Nevada OHV Youth Helmet Program at Sand Mountain Recreation Area near Fallon. With support from various organizations, they distributed 36 free youth helmets and engaged with over 100 people about responsible OHV recreation. Despite the weather, it was a valuable opportunity to advocate for safe OHV practices in Nevada. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Lauren Kenney

 

I joined AmeriCorps with minimal job experience, having dropped out of high school during my junior year. For years, I convinced myself that I wasn’t smart enough to obtain a GED. Later, when my husband and I started our family, I put my aspirations on hold to focus on raising our children.

Over time, the idea of earning my GED resurfaced. I hoped that this basic high school education would complement my lack of professional experience. However, each time I resolved to pursue it, nerves got the better of me, and I backed out. Courage eluded me.

Fifteen years later, I took the leap and joined AmeriCorps. My initial goal was to gain practical skills and enhance my resume. Little did I know that this experience would transform me in ways beyond my expectations. I discovered a passion for assisting senior citizens, and my self-confidence blossomed. AmeriCorps allowed me to grow within my community, opening doors I never thought possible.

 


Now, I am a trusted resource for seniors seeking help as well as a Nevada Veterans Advocate.   I advocate for those who served our country, and those that are the most vulnerable and overlooked in our community. I also achieved a long-awaited milestone: I earned my GED. This accomplishment fuels my determination to continue helping others and learning as much as I can.

The impact that AmeriCorps has had on my life is immeasurable, and I am honored to serve.

 

Lauren Kenney

Pleasant Senior Center

Thursday, March 14, 2024

What's New At NOS- February 2024

February is consistently delightful, and this year proved to be no different! We marked Valentine's Day with a Romantic Night Hike and a captivating painting event. Additionally, we celebrated the rare occurrence of a leap year, concluded the final session of Science in Nature, witnessed 15 participants successfully pass Hunter Safety, and achieved Tread Lightly! training certification for all our AmeriCorps members, among other accomplishments. Explore further details of our February activities below in February's What's New at NOS!


To start off the month our Elko AmeriCorps members picked up their Young Naturalist Club: Science in Nature. This lesson we ventured into Sound! In true Nevada Winter/ Spring fashion, we needed to move inside the classroom due to the weather. Despite the location move students were able to study how they could use their senses to hear different sounds, play games to understand how sound travels, and see how sound moves with the help of a harmonica made from popsicle sticks!


Photo Caption: Students listen to conch shell with Noah D.


Even though it was cold outside 46 participants warmed up with us at the Winnemucca Rec Center for a community workshop on how to crochet! Participants learned how to make a slip knot, start a chain, and a single crochet stitch. AmeriCorps member Toni shared information on where to find patterns and what basic tools are needed for this craft.


Photo caption: AmeriCorps member Toni demonstrating how to crochet to other AmeriCorps members. 


On February 7th the Winnemucca members Noah, Sedric, and William went to the Healthy Habits walk at the Splash Pad behind the Winnemucca Boys and Girls Club. There was a small turnout of 1 family but the AmeriCorps members were able to make it enjoyable by showing the children workouts and having them join in. They finished the walk pretty quickly but to make up for the extra time they had the kids use the monkey bars on the play equipment. The weather was a little overcast and a little windy.

On February 9th, K-2 students met Elko  NOS Members Kaneisha and Noah at Angel Park for a fun lesson about kinetic and potential energy! Participants were shown examples of kinetic and potential energy through multiple ways that can be experienced just by playing outside. During this lesson frisbees, paper airplanes, and catapults were all shown to have potential and kinetic energy! Participants were anywhere between Kindergarten and 5th grade.


Photo Caption: Students Exploring Kinetic and Potential Energy by Rolling Down a Hill.


As the community geared up to celebrate their love with the special people in their lives, Nevada Outdoor School and the California Trail Center partnered together to host a romantic night hike on February 9th at CTIC! 10 people showed up to participate in a self-lead hike, standing around a nice hot fire, gourmet s’mores, a photobooth, and fun trivia. As the night progressed, the clouds started to clear, creating pockets perfect for stargazing! Evie, the California Trail Center’s telescope expert, was able to roll out one of the museum’s high-powered telescopes to allow event-goers to peer through the scope to catch a glimpse of the planet Jupiter!


Photo Caption: NOS Romantic Night Hike Welcome and S'mores Booth.


On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, the community in Winnemucca was offered the opportunity to join NOS at the rec center near Vesco Park for a glass painting event celebrating Valentine's Day. NOS members Sedric and Noah provided glasses and paints for participants and gave participants tips for painting their designs, instructions were also provided for curing the designs at home if they wanted their glass to be both decorative and functional. 6 participants came to the event and all had fun getting creative and painting their own unique designs, the 2 children who participated even got to do an extra painting on a small canvas as well. The event was a success, as the whole group of participants who came and the members leading the event enjoyed getting to paint their own decorative glasses and socialize while celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Photo Caption: Sedric and participants painting glasses for Valentine’s Day.


February 16th was the last Young Naturalist Club: Science in Nature. For the final lesson, we reviewed what we learned in the previous weeks; Botany, Sound, Potential and Kinetic Energy. This week we really focused on Kinetic Energy as we showed the kids how to reverse Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy, by heat transfer. For our final lesson, the research resulted in making homemade ice cream! Noah and I set out to make ice cream to show how kinetic energy can also turn into potential energy. This was a super fun experiment to do with the kids. K-2 we tried putting the ice cream in a bucket and rolling it down the hill, they used a lot of potential and kinetic energy for this session as they had to walk back and forth up the hill! For 3-5 as they are older kids we let them do the shaking of their own ice cream bag. Overall I feel this lesson was a success as the kids had tons of fun making Telephones, Planting their own bean plant and finally making ice cream and then getting to eat their creation!


Photo Caption: Kaneisha and students work on the Plant Life Cycle worksheet.


It is always an adventure when staff members Meghan and Jacklyn teach hunter safety! On February 17th, 15 students and 4 parents attended Hunter Safety Education in Winnemucca. Each class that is taught is 8 hours long with a working lunch. During this class students are required to complete a workbook or an online course before coming to class. While in class we go over the following: an introduction to hunter education, knowing your firearm, basic shooting skills, basic hunting skills, primitive hunting equipment and techniques, being a safe, responsible, and ethical hunter, preparation and survival skills, and wildlife conservation. Not only do we review the hunter safety handbook but we practice getting in and out of a mock vehicle and boat safely with a firearm, crossing a fence with a firearm and practice knowing our range of fire when walking in a hunting party. And of course, we play trivia as a review! We really enjoy these classes and look forward to our next one in Elko on April 5th!


Photo Caption: Hunter safety instructor Meghan and student going over deer herd conservation.


Despite the snowy weather on Wednesday, February 21st, Nevada Outdoor School AmeriCorps members were able to receive their Tread Lightly! Training. Tread Lightly! is also a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor motorized and non-motorized recreation through ethics education and stewardship initiatives. The 6-hour training was led by Meghan Sturgell, our master Tread Trainer. This training is also offered to members of the community for free! The core principles of Tread Lightly! revolve around responsible recreation, including practices such as staying on designated trails, respecting wildlife and their habitats, properly disposing of waste, and being considerate of other outdoor users. By raising awareness and providing educational resources, Tread Lightly! aims to preserve outdoor spaces for future generations to enjoy.


Photo Caption: NOS AmeriCorps members and Meghan S. with their certificates of completion.



The Sage stem fair was a very successful way to reach the kiddos! In attendance were Leanna, Noah, and myself (Kindra). The kids were each given a little passport and they had to go up to each booth and get a stamp; after they got every stamp they got a prize! We had our elk trunk setup and the kids could test out elk vision, and feel the pelt. They were most interested in the stickers and pencils that I was handing out, but they really enjoyed our elk vision glasses. In total, we spoke to 158 people about NOS, and our booth! All in all, it was a great outreach event!



Photo Caption: NOS AmeriCorps members at the Sage STEM and Health Fair.



The Bookworm Trail Trek was held at Southfork Meadows on a sunny and warm day. This was a partnership between Elko BLM, State Parks, and MyBrary. It was about a mile hike where there were trivia questions set up along the hike for kids. The kids really enjoyed this aspect of the hike. The hike also entailed 2 stories being read by MyBrary Members. The kids were super engaged in the books. There was also a station for kids and adults alike to color bookmarks. After the bookmark station, there were s'mores, and rocks for the kids to color. The community really enjoyed the event.



Photo Caption: Participants listening to a story from the MyBrary members.



On February 24, AmeriCorps members Noah C, Sedric Z, And William N hosted a hot spring adventure day allowing community members to get outside and explore a new place in Nevada. They had a pretty good turnout with 6 people. Four of them rode with the members in the van while the other two drove there themselves. Once they arrived they did introductions and talked about some hot springs ethics. A few of the participants didn't really want to get into the water so they looked around the area and hiked down the road and back exploring while the rest enjoyed the hot springs. Overall it was a great event allowing people to get outside and see something new.



Photo caption: Participants at the opening of the Thousand Creek Gorge.



On Saturday, February 24th, Nevada Outdoor School along with the California Trail Center, Travel Nevada, and the Elko County Visitors Authority welcomed travelers from all over the world to Elko for the day. The event was hosted at the Trail Center where Macy Rohr and Paul Gregory led a Dutch Oven Cooking Workshop. After the workshop, participants were led on a short interpretive hike along the trail systems. Participants learned about native plants in the area as well as some local wildlife. Lunch was some delicious dutch oven chili, an apple dump cake, and freshly churned vanilla ice cream! Lastly, the participants explored all that the museum has to offer before departing for the rest of their tour through Nevada.



Photo Caption: Go West Summit Tour participants at the lookout point along the hike.


Despite the chilly weather, three California Trail Center staff members were trained on OHV safety on Tuesday, February 27th. The Nevada OHV rider hands-on training was led by NOS staff, Meghan Sturgell with the support of Elko AmeriCorps members. The training covered responsible riding practices, proper OHV safety gear, and a series of exercises to test rider safety. Some exercises included; weaving, evasive maneuvers, obstacle crossings, and more. By the end of the training, everyone felt more confident and comfortable on their OHV’s.



Photo Caption:
CTIC staff and Meghan S. after successfully completing the NV OHV Trainer Course.


Winnemucca’s Nevada Outdoor School invited the community to Leap into Nature on the 29th of February to celebrate the extra day in the month with craft activities. Four booths were set for the community's enjoyment, participants painted rocks with a multitude of colors, made fabulous bugs with beads, lemon bird feeders for happy birds, and the ever-useful paracord bracelet. All of this fun was experienced by seventeen members of our community, with each booth being led by NOS members Sedric, Toni, William, and Noah C.. Overall it was a great night to learn some fun skills and bug facts to enrich our community.


Photo Caption:
Sedric and participant painting rocks at Leap into Nature day.