Position at NOLS: Director of Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
NOLS Courses: Wind River Wilderness, 1988; Professional Instructors Course, 2004
Currently the director of the NOLS Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability department, Jen Lamb works to protect NOLS’ backcountry classrooms and further our mission of being an environmentally responsible nonprofit organization. With Jen at the helm, the Stewardship and Sustainability department played a key role in efforts to pass the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, which prohibits any future oil and gas leasing in the entire Wyoming Range. With the combined efforts of NOLS and the local community, the bill became part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and was signed into law by President Obama on March 30, 2009.
Jen and her department also spearheaded the implementation of the online program Carbon Tracker, which allows each NOLS operating location to audit their energy consumption and track progress toward meeting the school’s climate protection goals and reducing our overall environmental impact.
Jen hails from the East Coast and grew up in a small town west of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from Connecticut College in 1985 with a B.A. in economics and went on to get her master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1990.
Jen’s interest in environmental issues emerged during an era in which they have become some of our nation’s most pressing concerns, so, naturally, she sought career opportunities in the outdoor field. Before accepting her influential position at NOLS Headquarters, Jen completed her Wind Rivers Wilderness course and obtained her Wilderness First Responder certification. After working for NOLS in town for several years, she took a Professional Instructors Course and worked wilderness courses in the field as a NOLS instructor.
Working and playing are intertwined at NOLS, and some of Jen’s favorite playgrounds happen to be a few hours drive from her home in Lander, Wyoming, where she has been living with her husband, Jim Hutchison (a WMI employee), since 2001. Some of her favorite activities include cycling on and off-road, gardening, trail running, and Nordic skiing during Wyoming’s powdery winters. Some of her favorite personal expeditions include being dropped off on the west side of the Wind River Range and walking home, hiking into the Sawtooths in Idaho to climb the Elephant’s Perch, and mountain biking the White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.
Jen sees the benefits afforded by the outdoors with a clarity that makes her that much more devoted to her work, and her work that much more urgent. She says, “It’s inspiring to work for an organization so clearly driven by its mission, and for a mission so clearly devoted to making the world a better place.”