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Branch Update

Reprinted from The Leader, Summer 1999.

  • Patagonia added an additional semester in the Magallenes region to accommodate increased demand. Both Patagonia Ice Field Traverse courses were successful, with one crossing and one working with the challenges of illness but still pulling off a rewarding expeditionary experience.

  • In there has been a change of branch leadership--or of the samaki mkubwa as they say in Swahili. After 10 years in Africa, Fred Roberts, Elizabeth Goodwin and kidogo Jake have moved to the Pacific Northwest. Peter Blessing is officially the branch director as of the end of April. Karibuni! In addition, NOLS recently ran a successful Wilderness First Aid Course in Kenya for several different outdoor groups and Kenyan Park Service employees

  • Kutty Krishna, our India coordinator and senior NOLS instructor, is laying the groundwork for a nascent local educator's program for outdoor educators and land managers in India.

  • NOLS Australia is in the middle of their semesters right now. They put their remote emergency evacuation system to trial for a student who hit her head--it worked and she's fine. Dave Summers, Australia program supervisor, says the cultural section at One Arm with the aboriginal people as guides is very popular. They are working on a plan to have some people from One Arm be students and instructors-in-training.

  • Mexico finished the spring operating season strongly. The women's sea kayaking course was a great success. Another Mexican, Pancho Mayoral, has just completed the instructor's course and will be working for NOLS Alaska this summer.

  • In Canada, there is also a change of leadership. Willy Warner is moving onto other endeavors and Rich Brame has accepted the position as NOLS Western Canada branch director. The branch is now operating out of Whitehorse in the Yukon but keeping a foot in the wilderness of beautiful British Columbia.

  • At the Rocky Mountain branch (RMB) summer is happening which means 1,100 students will be in the region (including Idaho and Utah bases). A fun fact: more than 30,000 students have graduated from the RMB alone! The 243 percent of normal snowfall in the Wind River Mountains this winter is melting quickly and keeping Lander green.

  • The Idaho twig hosted a wildly popular snow boarding alumni course this winter--NOLS is not to be left behind in the winter sports arena!

  • In Alaska, the long summer days have started. NOLS Alaska will be paddling in both southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound this summer. With the Pacific Northwest branch running paddling courses in coastal British Columbia, this means NOLS has sea kayaking stretching from Pt Hardy on Vancouver Island north to Whittier Alaska.

  • The Southwest branch is winding down their season. Caving in Arizona turned out to be very successful this year. The branch also hosted the first ever instructor's course run in Canyonlands--a quick switch after it looked like the Gila Wilderness might close due to fire danger.

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