Diversity and Inclusion

Credit: Cass Colman

The Gateway Program

The NOLS Gateway program has provided full-tuition scholarships for NOLS expedition courses for exceptional youth from under-resourced communities since 2007. Driven by the belief that a NOLS wilderness education should be accessible to everyone, our generous donors made it possible for us to partner with over 40 organizations and support over 150 student experiences in 2016.

The Fellowship and Instructor Training Program

We strive to ensure that when you take a NOLS course anywhere in the world, you will be able to learn from instructors with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and historical relationships with the natural spaces that serve as our classrooms. Recognizing the barriers to accessig career opportunities in outdoor education, the combined Fellowship and Instructor-In-Training Program is designed for United States-based People of Color to gain the necessary skills and experience to become a NOLS Expeditions instructor. 

NOLS defines People of Color as individuals who self-identify as ethnically American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Multiracial (categories defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Census Bureau).

Fellows gain the practical experience and institutional knowledge to strengthen their candidacy for a NOLS Instructor Course by learning the skills needed to support students and straff embarking on extended wilderness expeditions. During the spring Fellows live and work for 12-18 weeks at locations such as NOLS Southwest and NOLS Rocky Mountain, preparing for an intensive summer in the field serving as an Instructor-In-Training. 

When you embark on the Instructor-In-Training journey, you will work one-on-one with a NOLS Career Foundations Mentor to select training courses that reflect your individual expertise and goals. We welcome you to join us in developing leadership that represents the rich cultural history of our natural spaces and establishes inclusive stewardship into the future.

NOLS is currently accepting applications for the Fellowship and Instructor-In-Training program. Apply now!



Cultural Competency Seminar

Developed in-house, the CCS is an inclusion training that empowers participants to recognize bias, identify and interrupt microaggressions, and deploy allyship. In 2016, over 100 CCS participants within the NOLS community took this two-day seminar, which has been in place since 2011. They were prepared with the resources to foster inclusive environments from the backcountry to the office. 



NOLS research seeks to support, develop, and share knowledge that contributes to wilderness education.

As a NOLS student, you’ll see the results of our research in the information your instructors present and how they present it to you.

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Join our team of outdoor industry forerunners dedicated to creating opportunities for people from all walks of life to discover how the backcountry can transform leaders. Sponsor a student's NOLS experience, or learn more about how you can choose inclusion with NOLS.


Sydney Clark
Diversity and Inclusion Manager

Credit: Abby Rogers