National Outdoor Leadership School

About National Outdoor Leadership School

We believe positive, ethical leaders change the world. Based on this belief, NOLS has become the leader in wilderness education. Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS takes students of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions and teaches them technical outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental ethics.

What NOLS teaches cannot be learned in a traditional classroom or on a city street. It takes practice to learn outdoor skills and time to develop leadership. The backcountry provides the ideal setting for this unique, experiential education—NOLS classrooms are some of the world’s wildest and most awe-inspiring locations. We believe living in untouched places like our classrooms will teach students responsibility for all that surrounds us.

With courses ranging from 10 days to a full academic year, we attract highly motivated students who want to learn how to lead. NOLS graduates have everything needed to lead others in the backcountry, as well as the leadership ability to excel at work or in the classroom. We expect a great deal of our students. NOLS courses are demanding, because we believe people thrive when challenged. Our hands-on, learn-by-doing approach means our graduates get the skills they need to be competent, responsible wilderness travelers long after their course.


Outfitting Coordinator

May 2015 - August 2019 Lander, WY
“The community in which I worked was amazing. I loved coming to work everyday. There are many great things that come with working within the NOLS community. I learned about everything that goes into an expedition from behind the scenes and worked to make hundreds of successful expeditions go out into the field. I learned an absolutely incredible amount from this job. ”

Student Lead

June 2018 - July 2018 Gabriels, NY
“Backpacking was a completely new experience for me but the instructors on the trip taught me everything I needed to know. They gave me space to learn and grow on my own . ”
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