NOLS: 50 Years in Alaska

NOLS, formerly known as the National Outdoor Leadership School, has been educating and inspiring students in Alaska since 1971. Though not the first wilderness education program in Alaska, it is one of the most successful based on its longevity, number of alumni, and impact it has had on Alaska. Many of its alumni and instructors have lived and contributed to Alaska whether as educators, business people, authors, land managers, public servants, or just being active in the outdoor community. NOLS has also greatly influenced the outdoor industry’s risk management and Leave No Trace ethics, with its Alaska operations offering significant contributions. We welcome John Gans, former NOLS Alaska director, and NOLS President, and Ashley Wise, current NOLS Alaska Program Manager, to discuss NOLS’s history in Alaska, its influences, and its current status and future.

HOST: Paul Twardock


  • Segment 1: John Gans, former NOLS Alaska Director and NOLS President
  • Segment 2: Ashley Wise, current NOLS Alaska Program Manager


BROADCAST: Thursday, October 28th, 2021. 10:00 am – 11:00 a.m. AKT

REPEAT BROADCAST:  Thursday, October 28th, 2021. 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. AKT

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Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, is the FM Operations Manager for KSKA-FM. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the FM broadcast. He produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska-focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or hosting All Things Considered and can still find him operating the soundboard for any of the live broadcast programs.

After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate, and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book, or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!

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