Faculty, Staff, and Mentors

UofWild founder Larry Buell teaching class.

Board of Directors


Founder and former Executive Director of Earthlands
Founder and present Executive Director of University of the Wild

Dr. Buell is founder and former director of Earthlands (1997), an Earth-centered intentional community and ecological study center and the University of the Wild, (2000) an alternative higher education curriculum with its “Semester-on-Earth” living and learning program. Larry received his BS from Springfield College, his Master’s Degree in Outdoor Education from Penn State University, and his Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

He established and formerly directed the internationally recognized Outdoor Leaderhsip Program (1980-2020) at Greenfield Community College, MA where he taught from 1969 to an adjunct faculty status today. He retired as a full-time Professor Emeritus of Human Ecology in 2004.

Larry served on the 2019 successful UMass Alumni Committee of Divest UMass from fossil fuels. He has taught at a number of schools and colleges, including Friends Academy, Locust Valley, NY; UMass/Amherst; Fitchburg University; and the Audubon Expedition at Lesley College, Boston. Larry co-founded the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society in 1976. He is a consultant to numerous schools, colleges, universities, community agencies, and Indigenous Native American groups. Larry frequently provides workshops and addresses regional and national conferences, including the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and the American Camping Association (ACA). He has an extensive background in international travel and work-study, including a trip around the world with the Springfield College Basketball Team as cultural ambassadors in 1965 and a solo trip to Russia and Siberia in 1991

He is the author of The Outdoor Leadership Competency Manual; The 24-Hour Experience: An Outdoor Adventure Program; Human Ecology: Roots of Our Worldview and Foundations for a Sustainable Future; and Return to the Meadow: Poetry, Prose, and Images of Place and The Season of Ingenuity: Ethics in Experiential Education, co-author, AEE Journal Proceedings, 1986. He is writing three (3) important books: The University of the Wild: Vision, Practice, Promise: A New Roadmap for Earth-based Living & Learning; Earthlands Experience: A Lived Experience in Intentional Community and Earth-based Education; and The Swift River Valley: A Natural & Cultural History of Place.

Larry lives with his native-of-Netherlands and ritualist, videographer wife, Katja Esser, at the original Buell Homestead in Petersham, MA

Today, climate disruption and social fragmentation finds the Planet swinging on a precarious thread between awareness and ignorance, opportunity and challenge–the future of life on Earth is at stake. We are in radical times, which will take extreme and deep-seated change. People must re-invent themselves as teachers, leaders, and transformers of culture to ecologically sustainable and regenerative ways. One of the greatest obstacles is the present educational system that disconnects the individual from the Earth and fellow living beings. We must create new ways of learning guided by a balance of Indigenous Wisdom, so interconnected and harmonious with the natural world, and state-of-the art social and natural science research and practice so that we all may re-invent ourselves as “Global Ecological Citizens”- so necessary at this time!

Larry Buell


Co-founder and former co-director of Student Hosteling Program

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Barbara Melville was a founder, owner, and director of Student Hosteling Program, an outdoor travel company, from 1971 to 2010. She planned 2-8 week bicycle camping trips for students throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and ran 5-day leadership training courses for outdoor travel leaders.

She was Marketing Director for the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts for many years, helping bring domestic and international performances  to the Pioneer Valley.

She owns and runs her own company, Publicity & Graphic Services, providing visual design services as well as marketing and publicity consultation for non-profit arts organizations, wildlife centers, environmental groups, and other outdoor, and animal oriented places. Her graphic designs have won the Governor’s Award for the Best Tourism Creative Execution in both the Performing Arts and the Tours categories.

Her interest in alternative education ramped up quickly when her children entered school. Her daughters’ struggles with multiple learning disabilities and her own struggles with a school system that didn’t want to address the disabilities eventually led to homeschooling one and sending the other to a Waldorf school – her first experiences with alternative educational models.

Through her children and grandchildren with severe learning disabilities and the associated emotional and psychological issues, she experienced firsthand the powerful positive effects that can come from living deep in the countryside and being heavily involved with animals and the natural world. Running bicycle trips through beautiful natural areas of the world, where small groups of teens were living and camping in nature for weeks, depending upon each other and governing themselves, and hearing from parents and the teens themselves (even decades later) about how transformative the trips had been for them, added a further perspective about the importance of the natural world and small, supportive communities to humans.

The combination of raising children who needed to learn differently and running over 4000 outdoor trips has given her significant expertise in experiential and expeditionary education. With additional interests in environmental issues, countryside preservation, and history, she hopes to contribute to the development of the University of the Wild as an important alternative to traditional education and a crucial component of the fight to change minds and preserve the planet.


Expedition Leader and Outdoor Educator

Anthony Brogno is an expedition leader and outdoor educator, with thousands of hours logged guiding and teaching in remote areas of the world. His experience developing and leading programs and expeditions range from acting as the guide of a crew of filmmakers on a four month long adventure through the wilds of the Chilean Andes (unboundedthefilm.com); to facilitating domestic classes and programs for youth, in collaboration with organizations such as Smith College, Amherst College, The Boys & Girls Club, The Young Marines, The Boy Scouts, University of the Wild, and independent Homeschool groups.

Anthony incorporates and practices wilderness medicine, wilderness survival, and ancient living skills teachings with students in many of these programs. Careful planning, awareness, and mindfulness are central to many of the programs that he teaches.

Anthony Brogno, UofWild founder Larry Buell, and Barbara Melville at land transfer signing ceremony.

UofWild Advisory Board

Dr. Dan Greenberg
The Global Eco-Village Network, President Emeritus

Julie Woods
Social Justice Activist, Minority Studies

Fred Freeman
Chair, Nipmuc Cultural Preservation, Inc.

Jeffrey Weisberg
Co-Founder, River Phoenix Peace Center, Outdoor Adventure Leader

Professor Ms. Ray Mann UMass, Architecture Department

Jeff Clearwater Founder, EcoVillage Design Associates

Brad Hyson Co-Founder, Sustainable Rhode Island

Glynn Lloyd Founder, Board Member, City Fresh Food; Boston Impact

Margaret Arndt The Evolutionary Hub, Boston

Bill Grover Green Sustainable Architect

John Baker Clark University, Environmental Studies Dept.

Tina Clark USA Transition Towns Trainer

Youth Advisory Board

Abigail Arndt High School Student, Newton, MA

Nicolas & Henry (Buell) Horschman Buell Family Members

Dr. Jennifer Albertine,Visiting Lecturer, Mount Holyoke College

Selected Staff & Mentors

Anthony Brogno Ancient Living Skills, Outdoor Leadership

Gail Burrington Alternative Energy and Sustainable Building

Larry Spotted Crow Mann Nipmuc Story Teller and Indigenous Teacher

Lenore Anderson Leadership and Instructor/Trainer of the 24-Hour Experience

Katja Esser Ritualist, Gardner, and Videographer

Brad Hyson Sustainable Community and Instructor/Trainer

Bill Pfeiffer Author, Instructor, International Activist

Alisa Starkweather Women’s Studies, Priestess Path Training

Sparrow Hart Men’s Studies, Mythic Warrior Training

Nikomo Peartree Yoga, Intentional Community, Urban Studies

Margaret Arndt Evolutionary Hub, Alternative Economic Practitioner

Cathy Pedevillano Ecologist, Shamanic Studies

Pam Kimball Sustainable Design, Spiritual Practitioner

Jean Bergstrom Outdoor Pursuits, Woman’s Program Her Wild Roots

Keith Snow Photo Journalist, Social Activist, Photographer

Leigh Youngblood Land Trusts, Environmental Activists

Liz DuPre Alternative Septic System, Sustainable Development

Dr. Jennifer Albertine Social Justice Activist, Local Food Initiatives

Jeff Clearwater, Sustainable Designer, Financial Planner

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