On December 28, 2010, NOLS purchased more than 200 acres outside Lander, Wyoming with plans to build the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus. Thanks to the generosity of Swiss biomedical entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss and Wyoming ranchers Dr. Charels and Mary Ann McMahon, the National Outdoor Leadership School is inching closer to opening their long desired wilderness medicine campus in the state of Wyoming.
NOLS is the leading wilderness education organization world-wide. Their curriculum includes medical training for remote areas such as backcountry emergencies through the Wilderness Medicine Institute. WMI has trained more than 100,000 students in wilderness medicine, creating wilderness emergency responders, search and rescue members and other medical volunteers and professionals.
Currently six of the school’s Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician courses, including a field-based Wilderness Medicine Expeditions, are based out of Lander. In 2010, NOLS administered 51 courses for more than 820 students out of its Lander facilities last year. With the new property and campus, NOLS hopes to double the number of students per year.
For WMI to meet the needs of the demand of wilderness medical training, NOLS has elected to build a year-round educational facility that will include housing for its faculty and students. The 200-acre property is ideal for the Wyss Wilderness Campus because students can practice their techniques in actual remote wilderness settings that will include river rescues, cliffs for search and rescue scenarios and a landscape covered in juniper and pines that will be used for night rescue operations.
The McMahons have used this property for 45 years, taking children on hikes and to visit the petroglyphs inscribed in the cliffs. “We’re going to miss it,” Mary Ann McMahon told NOLS in a social media release. “To have NOLS buy this property is the best possible outcome we could ever hope for. We knew they would take care of the property, but when we found out that it would be used to build a medical education campus, I thought, well, that’s even better!”
The property could not have been purchased without the generous $1.5 million gift from Mr. Wyss who shares the McMahn’s and NOLS passion for the outdoors, conservation and medicine. There is also the potential for a matching donation of another $1.5 million in the future, making this the largest donation on record for NOLS.
The facility will eventually include indoor and outdoor classroom areas, dining facilities and meeting rooms. Buying the 200-acre property is just the first step in building the facility, NOLS has not announced when they expect to expand their classes there. “We are absolutely ecstatic,” announced John Gans, Executive Director of NOLS. “A wilderness medicine campus will not only be of tremendous value to the school and students, but it will be a lasting investment in the State of Wyoming.”
NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute
NOLS Social Media Release: Wilderness Medicine Campus Coming to Wyoming
National Outdoor Leadership School
NOLS Wilderness Medicine
Wilderness First Responder
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