• Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

Outdoor School brings stewardship to education | Local

ByMary M. Ward

Dec 25, 2021


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ELKO – Nevada Outdoor School has promoted an appreciation for nature and natural resources in four counties in northern Nevada for nearly two decades.

The school was founded by Stéphanie Lefevre in 2002. Lafevre wanted to start an outdoor education program that would create land stewardship responsibility for each age group. Since then, the school has grown and offers children and adults many opportunities to discover and enjoy nature.

“Being in this field – the natural resource industry – can be a very competitive field,” said Macy Rohr, an AmeriCorps naturalist, who works with the Nevada Outdoor School. “AmeriCorps is really cool because it gives new graduates the opportunity to gain experience. It takes experience to get a competitive job.

Rohr, from Greensburg, Indiana, hopes to one day work for a national park. She enjoys educating people about natural resources. Her bachelor’s degree is in energetic geology and natural resources. She did a minor in biology.

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“Being a naturalist here is great because I can teach different things about different areas and parks. At summer camp we go to different parks, so I’m going to get some facts about the park and how I can tell the kids about it.

Rohr was able to choose where she wanted to serve when she enrolled in the program. She arrived in Elko last January.

“She arrived while we were still doing virtual lessons and maneuvering all of this and crossed the country in a winter pandemic,” said NOS associate director Brandolyn Thran.

“I will be staying here for a total of two years,” she said.

Rohr receives a stipend through AmeriCorps and also receives an education award.

“Once you finish your term, you get money that you can use to pay off your past debts or to go back to school,” she said. “Over the full two years it’s about $ 12,000.”

The candidate has about seven years to use the money.

“I want to go back to school eventually,” Rohr said.

“I really enjoy being a naturalist and I love working with young people. While working here, I have been able to network with many people from the BLM, Forest Service and the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group. Hopefully knowing what I have been doing here and helping them with their plans, it will help me get my foot in the door a little more than a stranger.

Through his work with NOS, Rohr has also received training in CPR, First Aid, Leave No Trace, Tread Lightly, and ATV. She will soon be taking archery training.

“[She] is a water safety observer, ”Thran said. “They learn things that protect children. “

“This summer I took a group to Great Basin [National Park,] Rohr said. “We made tons of memories.”

Naturalists generally work with young people between the ages of 4 and 17.

“Nevada is truly unique,” ​​Rohr said. “I love how on the Travel Nevada website, it calls it ‘Weird Nevada.’ You have two different deserts in one state. I love mountains. There are no mountains in Indiana. .I like all public land .It’s not something we have in Indiana.

“I don’t like forest fires and smoke,” she added.

Meagan Rich, originally from Elko, recently joined the NOS team as the program coordinator.

“I was looking for something in education that wasn’t necessarily in a standard classroom and was putting my degree to good use,” Rich said. “It’s right in my alley.”

Rich received his Bachelor of Education from Great Basin College.

“I like going to classrooms and working with children, I like that aspect. Every day I organize and plan, I talk with the teachers to see when we can come to class and give lessons and experience in the field.

She works directly with AmeriCorps naturalists.

“We’re looking for naturalists in January,” Rich said. “We have a few positions open for Elko and Winnemucca.”

Rich said there are a number of programs run by the school, including Nature After School. During the summer months they organize summer camps and Nature at Noon.

“All of our teachers are people from AmeriCorps,” Thran said.

“I started with AmeriCorps in 2017,” Thran said. “Then I left to do my own business and came back in 2019 as a staff member. I do all the stuff in the office. The executive director is Melanie, she is in Winnemucca. I’m responsible for Elko and all of our programs. I take care of all operational tasks.

“We currently serve Elko, Humboldt, Lander and Pershing counties,” Thran said. “We want to get into White Pine and Eureka by the end of the year. We dream of doing weeklong camps in Eureka. Our camps can be mobilized in any community. We are very autonomous. We rent vans from the charter school to transport the children. In the past, we had rented vans. We pay their maintenance costs.

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