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, 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.

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