A HISTORY OF OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP
In 1965, in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming, legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded a new school dedicated to the notion that the wilderness classroom could teach leadership. In the fifty years since, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has embraced and explored the unknown, leading over a quarter of a million students through transformative educational experiences both vast in scale and deeply personal.
Graduates of NOLS are leaders across society: conservation, exploration, public policy, education, land management, business, and wilderness medicine. And they carry firsthand appreciation for the value of protecting our wild planet for generations to come.
Built by dedicated staff and the legacy of its students, NOLS has diversified and expanded to become a global presence and an industry leader. As the school moves into the future, the name of NOLS will continue to represent, as it always has, leadership, expertise, and the power of the wilderness. It is with one eye on the future that NOLS celebrates its past.
This is its story.