Jamie O’Don­nell

Backpacker - - Public Lands | Build It - –H.J.

TURN­ING POINT

While study­ing at North Carolina State Univer­sity, O’Don­nell spent three sum­mers work­ing at a boys’ camp. “It was an ad­ven­ture camp, so we went back­pack­ing and rock climb­ing,” O’Don­nell says. “Work­ing with kids in wild places made me re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what peo­ple can learn when they do things out­side to­gether. That led me to a ca­reer as an ed­u­ca­tor in the out­doors.”

RE­SULTS

Since 2000, O’Don­nell has spent about 170 weeks in the field as an Ex­pe­di­tion Cur­ricu­lum Man­ager and Field In­struc­tor for NOLS. “Wild places are pow­er­ful class­rooms to learn about your­self and con­nect with the nat­u­ral world,” he says. “As an ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion, NOLS re­lies on pub­lic lands. We op­er­ate a lot of courses in Bears Ears Na­tional Mon­u­ment, so I care a lot about that place. I’ve prob­a­bly spent four months of my life back­pack­ing in the area, both for fun on my own and as part of NOLS courses, and it’s a dis­grace to lose pro­tec­tion there.”

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