Gathering at Base Camp Part
1 | Part 2
By Susan Brame
Reprinted from The Leader, Spring 2003, Vol. 18,
rendering of the completed NOLS Base Camp in Lander, Wyo.
The project will include a renovation of the historic Noble
Hotel, and an educational center, located in between the
Noble and the recently completed headquarters building.
NOLS grad and parent Peter Roy serves on the NOLS Board of Trustees
and co-chairs the volunteer steering committee for this initiative.
“NOLS continues to provide important leadership education,”
observes Roy. “The demands of running a global organization
like NOLS are immense. I believe it is essential for the school
to update its international base camp facilities in Lander, which
is why I’m co-chairing this initiative.”
In its entirety, the new base camp will maintain and enhance
valuable interaction between NOLS students, staff and volunteers.
For the first time in its history, NOLS will conduct its global
operations from a base camp designed to best serve our courses
and students. The student experience — from Wyoming’s
Wind River Mountains to the remote reaches of the Yukon’s
South Macmillan River — will be even more powerful with
this stronger foundation.
Strengthening our Roots
NOLS students receive an education that is unavailable anywhere
else. Graduates leave the school with a connection to the land
and an ethic about how they relate to the natural world. Students
learn to live and travel safely and confidently in some of the
world’s most spectacular wilderness.
“I remain involved with NOLS because of the impact my
course had on me, personally,” explains NOLS graduate and
steering committee member Judy Heisley, “and because I know
thousands of others benefit from a similar education every year.
“NOLS has an important message,” says Heisley, when
asked why she has taken on a leadership role in the Base Camp
Initiative. “The NOLS curriculum has proven itself to be
viable on a local, national and international level. That message
must have some kind of presence. A strong, stable presence from
the Base Camp in Lander lends weight to the message that NOLS
conveys through all of its programs around the world.”
Supporting Wilderness Education
Support for the base camp initiative began with the donation
of three city lots to the school by Lander resident and Wyoming
State Rep. Dr. Harry Tipton and his wife, Alex. The new headquarters
stands in this location.
Tipton, who is also the speaker pro-tempore of the Wyoming State
House of Representatives, said he and his wife decided to donate
the land “because NOLS has been a good citizen in Lander
and it keeps them downtown. We didn’t want to see them move
out,” notes Tipton. “This will help keep downtown
Since the Tiptons donated the land for the headquarters, other
NOLS supporters close to the school are stepping up to support
the initiative. NOLS Trustee Greg Avis and his wife, Anne, both
NOLS graduates, recently pledged a leadership gift in support
of the campaign. When discussing their gift Greg observed succinctly
that “every expedition needs a strong base camp.”
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