NOLS: National Outdoor Leadership School Home


Summer 2007 Issue
    Cover Article
    Message from the Director
    Field Notes: Leave Only Footprints, Take Only Pictures
    Mission at High Altitude: KCS & NOLS Team to Train Sherpas
    A Wilderness Twist to Traditional Medical School
    Wild Side of Medicine: Heat Illness in the Backcountry
    NOLS Environmental Sustainability Initiative Update
    NOLS River Courses
    Alumni Profile: Nico Marceca
    Recipe Box: Creative Menu Planning for Short Trips
    Gear Room: Personal Locator Beacons
    Book Review: Give Me Mountains for my Horses
Movie Review: Everything's Cool
Matching Gifts Stretch Your Scholarships Giving
Passing it Forward: NOLS Donors Support Student Experiences
Issue Room: Land Development Looms Around NOLS Mexico
Belay Off: Continuing the Conversation
Leader Archives
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Continuing the Conversation: Our Green Issue Sparks Feedback and We Want More!
By Joanne Kuntz
We're asking YOU to help us determine the best way for The Leader (and other NOLS publications) to serve our readers (also YOU). Click here to take give us your feedback.

One of the seven leadership skills NOLS teaches is effective communication, but even more specifically, the skill of giving timely, growth-oriented feedback. Well, it looks like our grads have taken that to heart, and we are thrilled by the responses we received after our Green Issue of The Leader this spring. So, first and foremost, thank you to all those who took the time to write your thoughts down and send them our way!

Our goal in publishing The Leader is to keep our grads up-to-date on the latest happenings at NOLS and help them stay in touch with fellow NOLSies. We like to highlight the accomplishments of our diverse graduates by emphasizing the way NOLS teaches leadership, conservation and technical skills and providing content that’s interesting, informative and fun.

As you read through the letters we’ve printed, notice that they fall along a broad spectrum. Some of our grads are happy with our reporting and the message we’re sending about NOLS, and others are downright disgruntled and want nothing to do with us. As a leadership school, we encourage this kind of feedback, try to understand our constituents’ perspectives and act on improvements. We also try to remain realistic and realize that individuals and organizations can make mistakes, drop the ball, miss the boat, flub our grammar, or fall short of what we strive to be. We know, too, that the school, our actions and our graduates are all evolving, and it’s safe to say we all are trying to improve ourselves. Reader comments truly help us improve The Leader and all of NOLS’ programs.

So, if you agree or disagree with an article, profile, or Leader factoid, let us know. Your perspective helps NOLS do a better job for our students and graduates. We may not agree with your comment, but we stand ready to digest, and even discuss, your thoughts. We may act on your suggestion or observation, too—even if we squirm in embarrassment. Thanks for reading!

Dear NOLS:

“I thought your last green publication was awesome and it was great to read about NOLS alumni doing amazing things in that environmental/social arena.”

“Well, I’ve never corresponded with you guys. So, I’ll start by saying I’m very grateful for my time with NOLS. I enjoy keeping up with NOLS through The Leader. I received the most recent issue (Spring 2007- The Green Issue). I’ve enjoyed it very much. However, since the first glance at the cover, I couldn’t help but notice the misspelling of ‘consciousness.’ You guys left out the ‘s.’ Obviously, it’s no big deal. I simply figured that you might want to correct it for any future uses of the subtitle.”

“Please remove my name and email address from all of your lists. I don’t need anymore [sic] environmentalist extremists teaching their liberal one-sided views.”

“I am quite disappointed in your recent article in The Leader titled “Making Over an American Icon.” Just because McDonald’s Corporation may be becoming a bit more green, this has nothing to do with its poor overall corporate responsibility. McDonald’s is and will continue to be a major problem to our society—it propagates incredibly poor dietary and food practices. It continues to have PR campaigns that try to make it look good, while its underlying foundation is quite problematic from a public health perspective, and there is little evidence that they are interested in changing. McDonald’s is responsible for poor dietary habits in millions of people leading to obesity. This should not be ignored. Without major changes in their core product, they will continue to be a public health hazard, even if they do move to more green practices. It would be appropriate to applaud these advances in McDonald’s practices while also pointing out the problems that they continue to propagate. As it stands, your article was not balanced or objective, and it creates the wrong impression of McDonald’s Corporation.”

“I am writing in appreciation toward the school as a NOLS grad… I’ve been astonished by all that NOLS is and does so strongly and wisely in its pursuit of its high-held beliefs. I know that the grand achievements that people are working hard for at NOLS will be reached and I hope to continue supporting them…I believe every person who signs up and completes a course must walk away changed in some way. Improving lives of individuals, reshaping how communities function, and, overall, taking better care of our earth’s environments seem to be NOLS’ specialties. Following NOLS’ goals, I realized they are committed to a set of basic beliefs yet are doing more and more each day to see those beliefs in action…It’s great that NOLS has finished its headquarters and renovation of the Noble in its efforts to serve our world better. The new push for “Environmental Sustainability” is wonderful for global recognition on making every effort to lead eco-friendly lives…”

“I am impressed! It’s encouraging to see the NOLS planet engaging in green topics and making informed choices in their daily lives that reduce their impact on the environment. It seems that Leave No Trace is an ethic that has been adopted by many of us in our daily lives. Thanks for putting out our first Green Issue. It feels like sustainability is picking up steam!”

Keep the comments coming! Email us at or write to NOLS Publications, 284 Lincoln St., Lander, WY 82520. If letter or email writing isn’t your preferred medium, please click here for an anonymous web-based questionairre about The Leader and your take on its content and format.

If you're not getting The Leader in the mail and you want to, click here.

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