Climbing Higher, Paddling Farther: NOLS Unveils New Look, Website


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With paddling, including sea kayaking, canoeing and river running, continuing to play a major part in its curriculum, award-winning outdoor leadership school NOLS is heading into the New Year with a new look and rebranding campaign, fresh off its 50th anniversary…

Based out of Lander, Wyo., NOLS, the world’s most comprehensive wilderness school, has embarked on an extensive new branding initiative this year, rolling out a new logo, website and more as it heads into its sixth decade emboldening people to step forward as leaders and take on the challenges of a changing world.

Key points of the initiative include heralding NOLS as a multifaceted, global wilderness school, highlighting its four pillars of Expeditions, Wilderness Medicine, Custom Education and Risk Services; promoting the opportunities it creates for transformative experiences; and supporting students seeking to develop as leaders by creating opportunities to learn by doing.

“NOLS is about preparing ourselves to boldly meet the challenges of the wild, whatever that wild might be,” says NOLS Executive Director John Gans. “For the past year, we’ve been developing a new look and logo, representing our philosophical ideals that real life skills and knowledge are acquired through perseverance and overcoming adversity in the wilderness.”

As well as a new logo showing a two-peaked summit in front of a sunset, the branding effort includes a redesigned website aimed to provide a friendlier, more streamlined experience for participants, graduates and faculty.

“More than simply reflecting new colors and logo, updating the website aims to ensure our relevance in today’s fast-moving world as well as better serve prospective students who are unfamiliar with NOLS,” says Gans. “We refreshed our messaging to communicate more clearly and updated our navigation to help visitors discover different aspects of NOLS.”

New website features include an easier ability to customize courses for organizations; alumni trip information; access to risk management consulting; NOLS’ full spectrum of wilderness medicine certifications; and information on new and existing expeditions. It also better highlights its award-winning staff, instructors and alumni, with an updated Facebook Page ( NOLS Blog.

At NOLS, students of any age learn communication, good judgment, and grit through developing leadership, outdoor, risk management and wilderness medicine skills in a hands-on, supportive environment. Students graduate prepared to step forward and lead their communities in a changing world.

“NOLS is so much more now than it was even ten years ago,” says Gans, adding that the school now operates worldwide and draws more and more students from outside the U.S. “The rebranding allows us to encompass all parts of NOLS, not just our traditional field courses. We’re able to better talk about ourselves as a multifaceted, global wilderness school that supports thousands of students each year who seek to develop the skills and experience to reach their potential as leaders. In the midst of these changes, our mission has remained the core of what we do: to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment.”

Today’s NOLS students, he adds, learn on oceans and rivers, and in mountains and classrooms. Its curriculum resonates as much with high school students as it does with astronauts, entrepreneurs and outdoor program directors. “As we strive to support student growth and grow as leaders ourselves, we’re working to leverage the strengths of each part of the school so we can continue to step forward boldly and help the world’s future leaders do the same,” Gans says.

About NOLS
NOLS is the largest, most comprehensive wilderness school that educates our students to step forward into an expedition, wilderness medicine, custom education or risk services offerings. Graduates have a lifelong desire for leadership, commitment to continued skills development, and ongoing education. Since 1965, NOLS has embraced and explored the unknown, from field- and classroom-based courses to being leaders in wilderness medicine education. To discover the NOLS experience or to bring a course to your business or organization, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit

Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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