Mike Zawaski

Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician

Mike Zawaski

Mike has been teaching for NOLS Wilderness Medicine since 2000. As a mountaineer, scientist, and science educator, he looks at the world in a different way than most people. This perspective helps him teach the critical thinking and scientific aspects of a NOLS Wilderness Medicine course in a way that helps students prepare for practicing good wilderness medicine.

Mike fills many roles in science and education:

Mike has a PhD in geology and is a postdoctoral researcher with the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission where he looks for signatures of life on Mars and in ancient rocks on Earth. He is an educational consultant on NASA’s PUNCH (Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere) mission creating Sun-related lessons focusing on embodied learning and techniques from ancient and modern sky-watchers.

Twenty-one years instructing for the Colorado Outward Bound School has taken him up glaciated mountains, skiing the backcountry, guiding multi-pitch rock climbs, rafting rivers, backpacking through canyons, and kayaking the ocean.

Additionally, he runs an educational non-profit called The Observant Naturalist, is author of a Mountaineers Outdoor Expert Series book entitled Snow Travel: Skills for Climbing, Hiking, and Crossing Over Snow, and likes to get into the high country whenever possible.

His synthesis of science and education occurs in the outdoors by helping outdoor educators and enthusiasts understand, enjoy, and teach about the science they see around them.