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Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
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The idea of stewardship, caring for and helping to protect the environment, has been part of the NOLS way since the school was founded in 1965.

NOLS founder, Paul Petzoldt, advocated for the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which designated millions of acres of untrammeled lands across the country as wilderness areas.

"I wasn't a way-out person—I didn't think that we shouldn't cut a tree—but I was in favor of the wilderness bill,” said Petzoldt. “I thought, gosh, we've got to train people, got to train leaders who can go back and teach people in their community."

For Petzoldt, responsible wilderness travel was closely tied to conservation advocacy. His vision of wilderness support lives on in the stewardship activities of NOLS.

The Leave No Trace ethic that NOLS teaches in the wilderness is reflected in its stewardship efforts. At locations around the world, where competing interests threaten the pristine nature of the wilderness landscape, NOLS actively advocates to preserve the wilderness classroom.

Global Hot Spots: At certain locations around the world, natural landscapes that have been favorite destinations for generations of NOLS students and instructors are facing new threats on numerous fronts.

The Wyoming Range: The Wyoming Range campaign is the true success story of diverse groups finding common ground to protect a cherished landscape from imminent development.

For NOLS founder, Paul Petzoldt, responsible wilderness travel was closely tied to conservation advocacy. His vision of wilderness support lives on in the stewardship activities of NOLS.
Photo: Pascal Beauvais
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