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For Immediate Release
Feb. 1, 2003

Contact Information:
Bruce Palmer

Lander, Wyoming - The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is deeply saddened by the news of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy.

The entire crew of seven participated on a NOLS training August 20-31, 2001 in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. The training was developed between NASA and NOLS to help astronauts develop leadership and expeditionary skills in the outdoors. These skills translate well to the astronauts’ expeditions into space. NOLS runs several courses a year for NASA astronauts.

All members of this crew were excellent participants on their NOLS expedition; they were enthusiastic, interested in learning new skills and excited about their experience. John Kanengieter, the Director of the Professional Training Institute of NOLS and one of their instructors said, “When you spend twelve days in the backcountry with others on an expedition, you develop a strong sense of a person’s character. Each individual of this crew was an exceptional person. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to know each one of them and to work with them as a team. Most of all I am saddened at the loss of friends. While I know we were the teachers of leadership, I am the one that learned the most from this incredible team. ”

NOLS sends its condolences to all of the families of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew as well as to NASA.

The first NOLS/NASA course was offered in November of 1999. Since then 61 NASA astronauts have participated on NOLS courses.

NOLS was founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer, Paul Petzoldt. Since then, over 60,000 students have graduated from NOLS, which teaches leadership, teamwork, environmental ethics and wilderness skills.

Related Links:

NOLS in Space by John Grunsfeld
It's Not Rocket Science: Astronaut Jeff Ashby Navigates Utah's Canyonlands by Kerry Brophy

‘The Perfect Team:’ The crew of Columbia gathered together during their NOLS-NASA Leadership Expedition in August, 2001. Pictured (top): Dave Brown, Rick Husband, Mike Anderson; (bottom): Willie McCool, Ilan Ramon, Laurel Clark, and Kalpana Chawla.
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