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, 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