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Creating a Climate for Change - Environmental Sustainability Initiatives at NOLS

Creating a Climate for Change - Environmental Sustainability Initiatives at NOLS

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This report tells the story of the NOLS Sustainability Initiative from its foundation, built more than 45 years ago in the NOLS Leave No Trace ethic, to its present day manifestation in Sustainability Initiative programs, projects, and goals. This report is timely. While NOLS has a long history with sustainable practices, we are really just beginning our work.
This report tells the story of the NOLS Sustainability Initiative from its foundation, built more than 45 years ago in the NOLS Leave No Trace ethic, to its present day manifestation in Sustainability Initiative programs, projects, and goals. This report is timely. While NOLS has a long history with sustainable practices, we are really just beginning our work.

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Published by: National Outdoor Leadership School on Mar 10, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/03/2011

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environmental stewardship and sustainability at nols
 
The Scope
o the report
t       nols s- i   ,    45 g   nols l n tc c,      s ig, jc,  g t   w nols   g   cc,    j gg  knols  g    gz   cz -      gz c c   -   jc c    gc w   g   g  ,    c ’ kg     t       ,  ,   gz   
In 2006, on the eve o crating the next ve-yearstrategic plan or NOLS, we embarked on an ini-tiative to ormalize the school’s commitment toenvironmental sustainability. The timing was or-tuitous. As we entered a phase o simultaneously looking back on where we’ve been and drawingour map or the uture, we had a golden opportu-nity to assess our strengths and highlight areas o opportunity to serve our mission.In the realm o environmental sustainability,NOLS’ track record is strong. We pioneeredthe practice o minimum-impact wildernesstravel, our curriculum and our operations aresteeped in the Leave No Trace ethic, and ourstudents graduate with a deepened sense o commitment to wild places. NOLSis, undamentally, an organization with strong conservation and environmentalvalues, with an employee base that is overwhelmingly tuned into, i not driven by,the importance o reducing our impact on the globe. In 2006 we realized that,while all these things are true, we lacked a comprehensive plan or environmentalsustainability at the school, one that spells out how we will not only continue tovalue it, but how we will advance it in a way that ensures that our rontcountry practices are in line with our backcountry excellence.This report tells the story o our path to ormalize environmental sustainability at NOLS in the context o our educational mission. It highlights the dierentshapes that sustainability takes at unique NOLS locations around the world. It alsoexplains where we’re headed in the uture with environmental stewardship as oneo our eleven strategic goals. We have set ambitious but attainable objectiveslikewe do in the backcountrycentered on reducing our global carbon ootprintand our overall impact. Our plan or achieving these objectives is constantly evolving as we learn and study the world around us. What remains constant is ourcommitment to striving or greater environmental sustainability and sharing whatwe learn with our students, sta, and communities.John Gans
NOLS Executive Director 
Message from the Director
(c) s g  nols pg,  g  g c   a rg  C,  gg  c   c  g g   p  rc b
The National Outdoor Leadership School
284 Lincoln Street • Lander, WY 82520
 
 
environmental stewardship and sustainability at nols
3
Leave No Trace: Bringing OurBackcountry Ethic to the Forefront
 Though we didn’t know it at the time, NOLS was dening the concept o minimum-impact camping and setting the standard or sustainable travel in the backcountry 
when we rst started sending students into the Wind River Mountains in 1965. For45 years we have rened and perfected the concept, learning through experience and
hundreds o thousands o nights slept on the ground around the world in a wide range
of ecosystems. In the early ’90s, we worked with federal land management agencies todene and formalize Leave No Trace (LNT), which has become the unparalleled ethic
and practice or minimum-impact travel in wild places.But what about NOLS in the rontcountry? Just because we are outdoor edu-cators who teach LNT, doesn’t mean that our in-town practices will ollow suit by deault. How do we operate when we’re designing programs, eeding students, trav-eling to meetings, paying bills, convening alumni, writing curriculum, or attendingboard meetings? And what are we doing to ensure that we walk our own backcoun-try talk when we’re in town: that we take what we teach our students in the wilder-ness and apply it to all aspects o our work?
t    no l sc (nols)    g c  c  k       o c   c  t nols si   fc  c  g  c  c   
tg g   ckc     c n ’ cg  c   c 
Matthew McPheeters

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