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Awards


Mary Jensen

This recipient came to NOLS as a Fall Semester in the Rockies student in 1988. Her evaluation remarked on her eagerness to learn and try new things, her accurate self-perceptions and awareness of others, and her natural leadership ability. Those characteristics have only gotten stronger over the years. She graduated from her Instructors Course in 1996 where she placed a high priority in communication, nurturing others, and being a model learner.

She has inspired, mentored and educated students over a field career of 160 weeks in the field. She has worked canyon, educator, winter, wilderness and horsepacking courses at RM, SW, AK, ID, and India. She has also worked IC’s and helped develop many newer instructors. She has served as a program supervisor and an associate for professional training.

A nomination summarized her field work in this way. “Her greatest strength is her consistency and effectiveness on courses. When I see her name on a course roster, I say, ‘Well, we know those students and instructors are going to have positive experiences!’ She doesn’t have bad courses, period.”

She is a glue to our organization and truly is a person who celebrates what is right with NOLS! Celebrates what is great about our students! And what is wonderful about her co-Workers!

Willie Warner
This recipient came to NOLS as a student on a Spring Semester in the Rockies in 1984. He returned for the Instructors Course the following year. One of his instructors from that course wrote, “Wonderful communication and an absolute joy to be around. His attitude and positivity during this course were terrific.”

He worked his first course—a WRW—in 1986 and has worked every year since, accumulating 270 field weeks. He has worked at nearly every NOLS location on hiking, mountaineering, sea kayaking, winter, LNT and instructor courses. Somehow he managed to squeeze in stints as a briefer/debriefer and field staff coordinator. He was the first branch director of what was then called the Western Canada Branch, successfully establishing that program and directing it for four years. He left that position in 1999 and rededicated himself to field work, communication and leadership training, and involvement with NOLS Professional Training.

A nomination called him “THE leader of our leadership curriculum,” and noted the many ways he has infused leadership and the teaching of leadership into our program. It also commented on his abilities to coach instructors who are having communication problems and thus spread his talents around the school. And whether student, or staff—every wilderness expedition seems to be more fun if he is along!!

Liz Tuohy
Our last recipient was a student on a Southeast Alaska Sea Kayak course in 1989 and she returned for a Waddington Expedition in 1990. She was an intern at NOLS Kenya in 1991 and took her Instructors Course in 1994. Her evaluation stated, “She understands the necessity of facing real problems squarely, without descending into conflicts over every little difference of style or opinion. She is a very supportive team player, and has a ready and contagious smile.”

She worked her first NOLS course, a WRW, in 1994 and has been in the field every year since. She has accumulated 115 weeks in hiking, climbing and caving programs at NOLS RM and NOLS SW. She has worked an IC and recently started instructing in the NOLS communication training program. She provides a shining example for her co-instructors when she works in the field. A recent letter of commendation said, “You provided our students and staff with some of the best leadership coaching we have seen. Your vision and ability to clearly articulate expectations to your students is a role model for all of us.”

She has also worked as an admissions officer, a program supervisor, and she is currently program director at NOLS Rocky Mountain. She provides exceptional leadership to the program department at NOLS RM, and extended her sphere of influence by assuming responsibility for the annual school-wide program supervisor meeting.

John Cederquist
John Cederquist was our most nominated person for the Alumni Service award. The Alumni Service award is given to a devoted alumnus who has served the school in exemplary ways as NOLS pursues its mission to teach leadership, conservation, and outdoor skills. This could be through recruiting, alumni event organization, or through development efforts.

John has shown strong leadership in both fields of outdoor education and outdoor recreation. He has worked in the University of Utah Dept of Parks, Recreation & Tourism for 21 years where he has co-developed one of the strongest outdoor education programs in the world. While many in the academic world see the objective educational merits of outdoor education, John Cederquist seems to have an especially strong grasp on the power of engaging students with education that goes much deeper than your average textbook.

Since his OEC in 1996, and his RIC in 1998, John has used NOLS' techniques and mantras to integrate NOLS into the academic outdoor education world. But even before his more formal connection with NOLS as a student then instructor, John has been an advocate of NOLS and what we do at NOLS. John has also been instrumental in helping NOLS' recruiting efforts throughout the United States by organizing recruiting events, talking to other universities regarding college credit transference, and presenting NOLS techniques at conferences throughout the country. Just recently he has helped create a U of Utah Parks, Recreation and Tourism scholarship, which will send one U of U student to NOLS annually.

John has an incredible devotion to NOLS. He promotes the value of a NOLS education to all those around him. He has exponentially increased our partnership with the U of Utah. He has increased the amount and quality of college credit our students receive. He is driven to promote NOLS in all aspects in his life. All of these things lead to helping NOLS recruit, retain, and better serve our students.

Read McCulloch and Jere Lester
Read McCulloch and Jere Lester are receiving this year's alumni achievement award for their work with CityWild. The Alumni Achievement award is given to an alumnus (or 2) who has taken what they've learned at NOLS, has been successful and achieved a great deal in the outdoor recreation, education or conservation industry.

Read and Jere met in the early 90's on a river trip in California. They immediately found their common passion for finding ways to provide outdoor experiential education to under-served populations like low-income youth of color. After years of working for NOLS, and refining their ideas around the campstove, they got to work in 1997, incorporating cityWILD (then known as the Columbine Project) as a nonprofit. All the details of establishing a new program, including fundraising, consumed the next two years. In the fall of '99, they started offering afterschool programming and weekend trips to Northeast Denver youth, focusing on local middle schools. Since then, hundreds of youth have been given the opportunity to explore the outdoors, many for the first time in their lives. Youth have focused on hard skills, leadership development, and local environmental issues that affect their communities. Many youth have been in the program for over four years, including 3 scholarship students on 14-day Idaho Adventure courses. These students are now working for cityWILD as paid staff.

cityWILD currently serves 3 middle schools, and 2 high schools in Metro Denver. In each of the last two years, cityWILD has delivered approx. 2500 student days of programming, including 3 days-a-week afterschool, one weekend a month, and seven 5-7 day expeditions during spring and summer break. This upcoming year, cityWILD plans to offer 4300 student days of services, including targeting other nonprofit youth programs by offering low-cost rock climbing and river rafting trips. Older youth who have attained the title of Crew Leader, are eligible to work as paid staff members, and role models for younger students. All students receive additional services, including access to individual and family counseling, therapy, mental health services, interventions, tutoring, mentoring, college guidance counseling, and professional skills development. Crew leaders are also eligible for scholarships on NOLS and Outward Bound courses, and matching funds for deposits made into Individual Development Accounts.

Peter Absolon
Our second award goes to an employee who is recognized for his stellar contributions for in-town support. This recipient started his NOLS career as a field instructor in 1990, but has gone on to contribute in many ways. He’s made NOLS a better place by working hard, being creative, being open minded and by being honest. It’s not a surprise that in last Spring’s program Supervisor Meetings, staff identified this recipient as one of NOLS’ most effective supervisors. One of his nominations for this award stated, “Over the last five years, he has constantly sought to clarify expectations of field staff. He responds to instructors with consistency and fairness, and he responds to issues in a straightforward manner that is non-judgmental but growth-oriented. He has increased our ability to handle challenging parent calls at the branch level. He’s prepared, respectful and always focusing on clear expectations.”

Our award recipient has made many changes at NOLS Rocky Mountain that have filtered out to the school—he has been a true agent of change. His service to the NOLS mission extends far beyond his home branch. He is a board member of the American Mountain Guides Association, and is highly respected for his knowledge of the climbing curriculum.

Roger Robinson
In 1990, NOLS initiated the Stewardship Award to recognize land managers who have demonstrated exceptional stewardship of the wild lands entrusted to their care. NOLS created the award because we know that to achieve our educational goals, we need high quality land managers as key outreach partners. We understand the important role that managers play as stewards of our classrooms – the wild lands. We also recognize that, with shrinking budgets and increasing demands on public land, these are challenging times for land managers. Through this award, we aim to identify and celebrate managers who rise to the occasion.

This year we recognize and celebrate Roger Robinson, this year’s Stewardship Award winner. We’re thrilled that Roger and his wife Pam could travel here from Talkeetna, Alaska to accept the award. Since 1980, Roger has been a Mountaineering Ranger for Denali National Park. Roger is passionate, practical, creative and thorough in his approach to teaching and implementing Leave No Trace ethics in a mountaineering environment. His commitment to Denali National Park extends back to 1975, when, prior to working for the Park, he participated in early “clean-up climbs”. In 2000, Roger convinced the Park Service to allow him to implement the “Clean Mountain Can” project to remove human waste from Mt. McKinley. With cooperation and support from organizations such as the American Alpine Club, the Access Fund, and Geo Toilet Systems, Roger and the Denali Ranger team designed a small, light version of a commercial river toilet box for climbers to use during their summit of Mount McKinley. The program has been well received by climbers eager to minimize their impact on the mountain. In 2003, more than 1,000 climbers from 40 nations used the Clean Mountain Can.

Each year, NOLS leads a climb up Denali for graduates of our mountaineering programs. We have seen first hand the changes that have taken place on the mountain over time. We applaud Roger’s creativity, leadership and commitment to education as a critical management tool in responding to these changes. We also commend him for the dedication he has shown to developing partnerships with organizations like NOLS.

Raul Castro
Our first staff award goes to an employee who is recognized for both stellar work in-town and in the field. He started at NOLS in September of 1994 as a student on a Semester in Patagonia. Due to his excellent performance on this course he was invited to participate in the Patagonia Instructor Intern Program. He gladly rose to the challenge and in May of 1996 he graduated from his Instructors Course and has since accrued 180 weeks in the field, 140 of which were hard-won in the not so friendly climates of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. As an instructor he has become a masterful course leader of mountaineering, aea kayaking, LNT, and instructed all of it in both English and Spanish. He has also been integral to the development of the NOLS Magallanes Base and more recently, providing leadership at NOLS Patagonia as Spanish Programs and Finance Manager. His unwavering work ethic, versatility and flexibility have made him stand out above the rest. His compassion, loyalty, and sense of teamwork have won him the respect and admiration of all those with whom he works.

Jeanann Paulus
Our next recipient has a very strong customer service ethic and sees what needs to be done and does it. In winning this recognition, she proves that quiet contributors, even at NOLS, get noticed for exceptional work. She’s an outstanding supervisor who is able to keep employee’s needs and the school’s needs in mind, as she interacts with her office colleagues.

This recipient is a clear communicator and a straight shooter. In the best traditions of NOLS she role models a great work ethic, displays good judgment and provides leadership with quiet humility.

This recipient came to NOLS in 1999 as the NOLS receptionist. She was quickly promoted to admission officer and then assumed a supervisory role in 2001. In the fall of 2001 she added a NOLS diploma to the one she has from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, completing the first Mexico Backpacking course.

She provides excellent student service, great leadership in the admission office and has brought order to the scholarship program. She is a competent, informed, comforting and honest communicator whether with apprehensive students, concerned parents or fellow staff. On top of all that, she is wicked smart.

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