NICOLE in the Wild
Nicole was born in Colorado but at age 10 moved to a ranch at the foot of the white cloud Mountains, now the White Cloud Wilderness in rural Custer County. Nicole's mother, Patricia LeFavour worked as an outfitter and guide from the ranch and her father, Bruce LeFavour continued his career as a chef on the ranch, raising pigs, chickens cows, and planting organic gardens to feed guests on the ranch. Nicole spent many years working in kitchens for her father, making butter, picking wild watercress, and with her sister Cree milking cows and raising geese and rabbits for the restaurant.
In May of 1986, after a stint working for the Bureau of Land management in Alaska, Nicole was hired as a fire lookout for the Middle Fork District of what was then the Challis National Forest. After three years on Pinyon Peak and Little Soldier mountains, she began working as a mix of hydrology technician, fire fighter and became the Challis National Forest's first Wilderness Ranger, walking the south half of the Frank Church mostly alone for four summer seasons until 1992.
Nicole's experiences alone in the wild fueled her work at the University of California where she studied cognitive science and worked editing the Berkeley Poetry Review. At the University of Oregon she later studied literature and plant physiology and, in 1990, finished her MFA in fiction writing at University of Montana. In 1992 she began work for the Snake River Alliance in Boise as an community organizer focused on stopping the Owyhee Bombing Range and educating Idahoans about radioactive waste and nuclear weapons issues. Out of her house on 11th Street, a short walk from the Boise Foothills in Boise's North End, she helped found, wrote for, and for two years published the monthly Boise Green Reader magazine. From 1996 to 1998 Nicole worked for the Boise Weekly as a writer and staff reporter and received an Idaho Press Club Awards for her stories, "Flying at the Hands of Gravity" and "Where Have You Gone Joe Albertson?"