GCC to host Earth-based higher ed program

  • Dr. Larry Buell interprets a cultural site in the Swift River Valley in Petersham. Buell will facilitate a program called “The University of the Wild: College, Credits and Credibility” on Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Greenfield Community College’s Downtown Center Contributed photo

Staff Report
Published: 6/4/2019 7:07:06 PM

GREENFIELD — The University of the Wild, an alternative higher education curriculum, will offer a program called “The University of the Wild: College, Credits and Credibility” on Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Greenfield Community College’s Downtown Center at 270 Main St.

The program — which will be facilitated by Dr. Larry Buell, founder of both the Outdoor Leadership Program at GCC and the University of the Wild at Earthlands in Petersham — will focus on a comprehensive ecological education, with tangible alternatives and practical benefits, according to a University of the Wild press release. The proposed curriculum focuses on the teachings of indigenous people, as well sustainable research and practice.

“It is well known that humanity is facing a very dire situation as a result of climate disruption and cultural fragmentation,” Buell said. “Of all the disciplines that create our modern culture, education — particularly higher education — forms the world views that most influence the culture and life on Planet Earth. New and sustainable models do exist, and must be brought to the forefront of today’s education to meet the impending crisis.”

Buell believes the class is an important way to “address the crises and opportunities facing humanity and the planet today — from our rapid loss of biological diversity, to global warming, to the marginalization of different people and places.”

Participants will include outdoor practitioners, teachers, leaders, activists and community leaders.

The University of the Wild was created in 2000 as antidote to the Y2K scare that would supposedly affect all national institutions. Since its founding, the alternative nonprofit has offered Earth-based credit courses through the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and GCC.

Buell, who has been involved in higher education for more than 50 years, believes he must do his part to shape new, sustainable and regenerative cultures.

“The Upper Valley in Massachusetts is the perfect place to launch a true alternative in education,” Buell explained, “for there have been many successful experiments from this region that now influence an international movement in quality education.”

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Buell by email at larrybuell@earthlands.org, call or text 978-855-1420 or visit universityofthewild.org.




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