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Liz Alva Rosa

NOLS Instructor since: 1994
Favorite season: Winter
"It's amazing how comfortable you can be camping in the winter."

Liz Alva Rosa knew that a job in outdoor education would involve a lot more than the picnics and overnight camping trips she took as a child with her father around Montreal. A NOLS Fall Semester in the Rockies seemed like a good way to learn a variety of skills as well as see if she wanted a life and career that involved more time outside. So in 1991 the Quebec native spent three months learning caving, climbing, winter camping and backpacking. She also learned that she did, in fact, want to work in the outdoors.

Three years later Liz took the NOLS instructor course and has since logged over 100 weeks in the field. "Working for NOLS allows me to explore beautiful places," says Liz. "I've also learned a lot about myself; how I make decisions, the way I react to challenges. Students and instructors practice real leadership in real situations."

Liz has great things to say about her co-instructors. "NOLS attracts varied personalities. We're an eclectic bunch of folks, but we all share a deep respect and love for wilderness," she says.

Winter is Liz's favorite time to be out, "It's amazing how comfortable you can be camping in the winter. I love how a perfect snowfall can make it seem so peaceful and remote. At the same time winter camping is hard work. Winter courses are very skills-oriented."

Liz also enjoys working at the Mexico and Kenya branches because "with NOLS we experience other countries in a way that most people don't. We get to meet and spend time with the people who live there."

Liz notes the equalizing effects of wilderness; no matter where she finds herself with NOLS. "Once you're in the woods, it doesn't matter who you are in the world. People drop their pretenses. I love seeing the stuff people can do and the way groups really come together on a NOLS expedition."

Semester in the Rockies - Students become well-rounded backcountry travelers in some of the great American West's best wilderness classrooms.
© Tom Bol
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