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Patagonia Partners with NOLS: Scholarships Open Doors to Wilderness

Ventura, CA - February 18, 2000 -- Officials at outdoor clothing company Patagonia and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) announced today a unique scholarship program to enable greater opportunities for young people to participate in wilderness education.

High-school seniors and college students from the metropolitan New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Seattle areas are invited by the two organizations to apply for four full-tuition scholarships covering the costs of a month-long NOLS summer course in Wyoming's Wind River Range. The course curriculum is designed to teach wilderness protection and safe travel in a rigorous outdoor environment. In addition to tuition costs, approximately $2,700, the scholarships also include a stipend for travel and Patagonia clothing.

"Our financial support for these scholarships are sound investments in the future," said Kurt Weinsheimer, Patagonia's Marketing Manager for Alpine product. "The opportunity to educate young people about the value of the outdoor experience will, we hope, create advocates for wilderness protection and preservation, a key to our planet's long-term viability." Weinsheimer went on to explain Patagonia would also provide technical gear for 30 full-time NOLS staff.

Orientation events regarding the scholarship program are scheduled this month and in early March at Patagonia retail stores in Boston, New York (Soho), Washington, D.C. (Georgetown), and Seattle. "Our hope is to connect with students who might not otherwise have such an opportunity," said NOLS Marketing and Admissions Director Bruce Palmer. "NOLS' month-long wilderness expeditions focusing on outdoor skills and practical leadership give our graduates tools they can use for a lifetime and create activists for environmental responsibility. There is no substitute for firsthand experience." Information regarding the scholarship program will be mailed to the NOLS alumni network throughout the United States.

In addition to direct support through scholarships and clothing, Weinsheimer said Patagonia will display NOLS catalogs in its 17 U.S. retail stores and will recommend NOLS as an outdoor education resource on the Patagonia website. Future plans include a mailing of the Patagonia clothing catalog to NOLS alumni, approximately 35,000 households, and 3% of purchases from this mailing will go to the NOLS scholarship program.

The orientation events are scheduled for Feb. 22nd in Washington, D.C. (1048 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., 202-333-1776), and March 7th in their Boston retail location (346 Newbury St., 617-424-1776). Both events will be in the evening. The Seattle visit includes an afternoon at Stone Gardens climbing gym on March 8th, with the NOLS introduction event occurring at the Patagonia store the following evening (2100 First Ave., 206-622-9700).

Lu Setnicka, Patagonia
Bruce Palmer, NOLS


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