Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainbow Warrior in Training

I'm not sure exactly where Velvet is.  I think he's somewhere in the Southwest corner of Wyoming, at Three Peaks Ranch.

But he might be in some canyon in Utah.  I don't think he's doing Rivers until later in the semester

That's not him in the photo - but it's what they do - unless they are hiking in which case they do this:

I lifted these pictures from the school's website.  Sooner or later, he's going to be in Nevada at a place called Red Rocks, learning to climb like this:
He's already been caught in a blizzard when they were hiking in the Rockies.

When I talked to him last week, he said that sleeping in the snow fort they built was better than sleeping outside.  I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be able to talk to him for a while, though, because he's not going back to the base for some weeks and can't get a cell phone signal.  It's kind of weird when there's no way to talk to your kid - but the instructors have radio phones or something so that if somebody gets hurt, they can call a helicopter.  Since I haven't gotten a bill for a helicopter, I imagine all is well.

For the past ten days, he's been doing the course work for his Wilderness First Responder certification.  Really and truly, he's at the ranch in this photo except it's winter so I expect there's snow.

I have a syllabus for the course, so I know he goes from WFR to Canyons. They are in the Colorado Plateau region of Utah in a canyon like this:

According to the information from the school, they get to explore some relics of Anasazi culture.  The Anasazi were cliff dwelling Navajos.  He was jazzed about it.

Velvet is taking five classes in his Semester in the Rockies:
  • Environmental Ethics, Leave No Trace, and Leadership
  • Natural Resources Learning (NRL), Group Leadership Techniques
  • Wilderness Skills Practicum and Leadership
  •  NRL Risk Assessment, Management and Decision Making
  • Wilderness First Responder
So far, his grades are two As, two Bs and a B+ but he can't remember which grade goes to what class.   We're all just glad the grades are great and he's having fun.  Here he is in real life, right after his junior year in high school, when he did a summer course where the group spent thirty days in the Wind River Wilderness.  I'd link to the school, but when I've done that in the past, somebody in Lander, Wyoming visits the blog a couple of times a day which makes me nervous.  Nevertheless, our entire family is grateful that there's a school like this Outdoor Leadership school, and that kids can have the opportunity to go into the wilderness to learn about ecosystems and how to Leave No Trace in the environment.  Maybe if more people had the experience, Tim DeChristopher would not have been compelled to pose as a bidder to disrupt the sale of Utah's wilderness to Bush's friends in the oil and gas industry (DemocracyNow! 12.22.08, Peaceful Uprising 03.03.2011)

Greenpeace says:

We take the name of our flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, from a North American Cree Indian legend. It described a time when humanity's greed has made the Earth sick. At that time, a tribe of people known as the Warriors of the Rainbow would rise up to defend her.
As one of the longest banners we've ever made summed things up, "When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can't eat money..."

I'm very proud to be the mother of a Rainbow Warrior in Training.  Who knows where this experience will take him?  At the very least, he can be a bartender at any eco-resort with a zip line. Sounds like Thing of Beauty Number 06-101 in the Exploring Beauty challenge.


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds like a wonderful school experience for an active and socially conscious teenager!

March 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

what a wonderful experience this must be for him..if i was younger, I'd want to do it too.

March 10, 2011 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger mac said...

Velvet a badass for doing this, I think he must have steel cajones.
How many kids raised in New York would even dream of spending a winter in the wilderness like this?

He looks to be a true renassance man, at home in the city or mountains.

March 10, 2011 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Life As I Know It Now said...

It looks as if he has found the place where he can fit in and do some good. That's wonderful for the both of you. :)

March 10, 2011 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger VV said...

I have climbed like that before. I LOVE climbing. I was a climber as a kid and really wish I lived near something I could climb here, bigger than my roof. It sounds like a great experience for Velvet and it will teach him so much more than he could learn in just a classroom, more practical, real life lessons in addition to the coursework.

March 10, 2011 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

I know, y'all. I'm so happy about the whole thing that it brings a little tear to my eye.


March 10, 2011 at 10:09 PM  
Anonymous SharePoint foundation 2010 said...

He must have had an experience of the lifetime. Wonderful!

March 11, 2011 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Lucky guy - really. I wish they'd had courses like this back in my college days. Maybe they did but I was too busy demonstrating to notice.

March 11, 2011 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'd be proud too. And what a learning experience - more than anything learned in a classroom, and not just for a kid like Velvet.

March 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger intelliwench said...

Awesome grades! I hope the young man knows how lucky he is to have parents who could direct & support him in this opportunity. And kudos to you for knowing this was what he needed!

Anytime I get anxious about not knowing where intellikid is, I imagine the anxiety my grandmother must've felt when her "boys" left for America in the '50s, and probably had to wait weeks & weeks for a letter. I suppose we are spoiled!

March 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger okjimm said...

letting go is tough.... but there is nothing like opening a window for someone .... to let in fresh air. Hope it all works well.

March 11, 2011 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger okjimm said...

I just noticed this

//Accidental Assholery is no problem.//

break me up

March 11, 2011 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Susan Tiner said...

It sounds like your Rainbow Warrior is hitting his stride. He's lucky to have such a supportive family.

March 11, 2011 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Yes indeed, he's having the experience of a lifetime. Another one, actually, since that tiger safari in Nepal was an experience of a lifetime, too. And I'm pretty sure he'll get more fabulous experiences since Velvet reminds me a lot of my brother, and my brother has those kind of experiences all the damn time.

I'm thinking it's my turn. When this condo sells, maybe I should take a semester or two abroad.

March 11, 2011 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am very glad to read that Velvet is doing well. Sounds like a perfect outlet for a kid/young adult with ADHD, my boy loved the outdoors, Not everyone in this world is meant to sit behind a desk. And this world needs all kinds of talent, even some of the lost ones. You must be overjoyed with his grades this far.
Be well
Pat from NY

March 12, 2011 at 12:38 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Pat, I'm overjoyed that he's feeling successful. He was able to phone home yesterday, and he was happy to report that he did very well on his Wilderness First Responder course. Now he's wanting to be an EMT. BUT he's most likely going to work up at Farm @ Wilderness in Vermont this summer which means another summer tending an organic farm. Me and him may be weed growers yet ;)

PS: I'm glad that nasty troll quit leaving comments so I could enable Anonymous comments again. I love hearing from you.

March 12, 2011 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Cali said...

My gosh, but Velvet looks so much more manly than I expected! Much more so than my 25 year-old son! My son's Nordic-Native American ancestry really shows, though. He's dishwater blond with eyes exactly the same color as Elizabeth Taylor's-- at least the brilliant sapphire they really are, or rather, were, not the version where they've been Photoshopped to look purple. The native American ancestry shows by the fact that the kid can't grow a mustache to save his soul. He's finally got a little jaw-line beard that creeps a little higher each year.

March 24, 2011 at 7:39 PM  

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