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Andrew Bentley

Program Director
Assistant Professor of Adventure Education
One Brennan Circle
Poultney, VT 05764
Email Address:
Phone: (802) 287-8326

Dr. Bentley has a wide range of professional and educational training in the areas of Adventure Education and Park and Recreation Management. His educational underpinnings include a Bachelor’s degree in Geology, a Master’s degree in Outdoor Recreation, and a social science doctoral degree in the area of human conservation behavior. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the phenomenon that humans have an overall attraction to waterscape settings such as riverbanks, lakeshores, and coastal areas. This investigation included measurements of human psychological change associated with spending time in lakeshore recreation areas at a stunning lake in northern Washington State.

Prior to attaining his doctoral degree and working at Green Mountain College, Dr. Bentley obtained extensive experience in the Adventure Education field. For example, he worked as a whitewater river instructor with the Colorado Outward Bound School, a whitewater river guide with Sheri Griffith Expeditions, and was a seasonal river ranger with the United States Forest Service in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. Through these positions, he has travelled thousands of miles by river and communicated with others on how to safely travel while minimizing visitor impacts to what is typically a fragile resource.

Beyond his river running experience, Dr. Bentley has led numerous overland expeditions. This includes 14 and 21-day outdoor leadership courses (backpacking) with the Wilderness Education Association as a certifying instructor, and extended flat-water canoeing and backpack treks with both the Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America. He also directed a new indoor rock climbing and high ropes course facility at SUNY Potsdam where he trained staff and developed operational guidelines, procedures, and risk management policies. While working at SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Bentley taught college courses in the academic Wilderness Education Minor program.

Though Dr. Bentley is an avid telemark skier, ice climber, and mountain biker, his love for the river seems to trump all other interests. His favorite trips include 21-day floats through Grand Canyon National Park on the Colorado River, or floating the crystal clear fishing waters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon and Selway Rivers in Idaho. Recently he acquired an aluminum whitewater dory and is learning to row this unique watercraft.

Academic Training
Ph.D., Conservation Social Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow
Dissertation: The Experience of Landscape: Mental Health Benefits of Lakeshore Environments

M.S., Outdoor Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington
Thesis: Motives for Participation in College-Based Outdoor Adventure Programs

B.A., Geology, State University of New York, Potsdam

Selected Professional Experience

  • Leadership and Challenge Center Director: SUNY Potsdam, New York
  • Wilderness Recreation Adjunct Faculty: SUNY Potsdam, New York
  • Research Assistant: National Park Service visitor experience project, University of Idaho
  • River Guide: Sheri Griffith Expeditions, Utah
  • River Instructor: Colorado Outward Bound School, Utah
  • Wilderness River Patrol: United States Forest Service, Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
  • Outdoor Leadership Instructor: Wilderness Education Association, locations varied
  • Outdoor Education Specialist: Girl Scouts of Lake Erie Council, Ohio
  • Voyageur Trek Guide: Boy Scouts of America, New York
  • Snowmass Resort Snow-maker: Aspen Skiing Company, Colorado
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