Outdoor Experiential Education Excursions-SUNY at Buffalo-Joseph Allen

Outdoor Experiential Educational Excursions

 University at Buffalo        


Watch the clip from "Never Cry Wolf"


These programs are designed for adventurous students and adults who are outdoor enthusiasts.


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Wilderness Education Orientation 

***No one returns untouched by the sheer power of the wilderness experience; the strength of a wilderness experience, as with all sound outdoor educational pursuits, lies in the blending of recreation, social interaction, and academic and inspirational learning.  Curiosity, wonder, and appreciation become major stimulants for learning, while the lessons are played out in the ever-changing form and patterns of the cosmos.

***Premiums are placed on working together, getting one another through the journey; personal attributes, such as self-reliance, cooperation, self-motivation and perseverance are encouraged.  All are virtues necessary to fulfilling the role as a citizen of the world.

***The aim of this program is to encourage broad and thorough exposure to and appreciation for the nature of diverse and complex ecosystems.

***The purpose of the outdoor action portion of this course is to develop a capacity for leadership, to build character, to heighten sensitivity to the beauty of nature, to challenge one’s endurance with rigorous exercise and to encourage teamwork and build trust in one’s fellow students through wilderness experience.



Upcoming Excursions (pending approval and enrollment)

Click on the link below to explore these educational trips


Alaskan Sampler

May 2016-under construction-See May 2015 trip here


Megafauna and Predation

Yellowstone National Park

August 2016


Participant Reviews and Testimonials



Upcoming "Into the Wilds" Workshops-Fall 2015



What is Outdoor Pursuits?  Outdoor Pursuits has joined UB Student Life in the late fall of 2014 after having a home in the Division of Athletics for many years.  Outdoor Pursuits provides the University at Buffalo community the opportunity to Experience, Explore, and Learn about the great outdoors in a variety of ways.

Outdoor Pursuits provides critical planning for student groups who want to venture into the wilds as well as providing complimentary outdoor gear such as tents, sleeping bags, pads, and assorted camping equipment.  Besides rental programming for students through the Student Association’s Outdoor Adventure Club, Outdoor Pursuits offers a variety of activities, clinics, workshops, and adventures.

Every Tuesday evening from 6pm-8pm join Outdoor Pursuits for “INTO THE WILDS”,  a unique and FREE series of weekly workshops with topics ranging from backpacking to paddling, to campfire building to cooking in the outdoors.  Each session has limited enrollment so sign up soon!

Finally, this semester’s theme, “INTO THE WILDS” will include two additional programming opportunities:

1.  Recreational Book of the Semester – “Into The Wild” by John Krakauer.  Great read!  We will have a book review discussion featuring local wilderness experts, date to be posted at the BOP Rental office at Room 142 Student Union!

2. Look for the showing of Sean Penn’s movie, Into the Wild at the student Union this fall!


August 25

Alaska 2016 Care To Join Us?                        Student Union - 145F/E                  Russ Crispell                        

 Russ Crispell, the Director of Outdoor Pursuits will provide critical information regarding the 16th Annual trip to Alaska.  This trip is open to students, faculty, staff, and community.  This year, there is a 12 person limit for the May 2016 trip. 

September 1                  

Canoe Paddling Tips                                         Lake LaSalle Dock                            BOP Staff           

 Want to improve your skills in paddling a canoe?  Join our staff with a two-hour skill building paddling opportunity on Lake LaSalle.  You will learn the J stroke, the sweep, the pry, and others.

September 8                   

YELLOWSTONE Anyone?                                 Student Union – 145F/E                Joe Allen                                

 Join Joe Allen, former professor at UB’s Environmental Studies and current member of the BOP Professional Staff for an information session on the wonders of Yellowstone!  Joe will share information about our desire to conduct a student-based trip this year to this incredible national park in January.

September 15                   

Kayak Paddling Tips                                          Lake LaSalle Dock                            BOP Staff        

Do you find yourself having problems kayaking?  Join our staff for a two hour lesson on the basics of how to paddle kayaks!

September 22                   

Knots – Know Any?                                          Student Union – 145F/E                Don Szumigala                   

 How many knots do YOU know?  Join Don, a member of our professional staff in Outdoor Pursuits as he offers his expertise in teaching you a number of very important knots for camping and the outdoors.

September 29                   

Backpacking Gear – What You Need!             Student Union –145F/E                 BOP Staff                             

 So, you and your friends want to go backpacking but don’t know what gear you need, what kinds of clothing to wear and bring?  You will know just how important having the RIGHT gear is and how critical and problematic having improper gear and clothing on a trip.

October 6                           

Backpackin’ Good Peach Cobbler                 Lake LaSalle Dock                        BOP Staff              

 If you have NEVER tasted a backpacker’s Peach Cobbler join BOP Staff as you will help prepare some incredible Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler lakeside!  Yes, the “fruit” of your labor will not go unnoticed as we will dig into the peach cobbler once it is prepared and cooked!

October 13                         

All About Setting Up a Camp                           Student Union –145F/E                 BOP Staff          

 Setting up a proper camp is critical to your having a great time while camping.  Learn about the rule of 3’s… both for camp and for adventuring into the wild.

October 20                         

How To Make a Campfire                              UB Letchworth Woods               BOP Staff          

 What do you need to start a campfire?  Learn about “fire” and mother nature’s “free” sources of fuel!  Try your hand at primitive fire making using a bow drill and hand drill to make fire!

October 27                    

Campfire and S’mores                                   Lake LaSalle Dock                        BOP Staff               

 Join the Outdoor Pursuits staff in search of the BEST S’more you can make!  Bring your guitar, sit around the campfire and make some s’mores!  Hear more about Russ’ Alaska Adventures including his Grizzly Bear walk on the Iditarod Trail…

November 3                      

Beginner Map & Compass                           Student Union – 145F/E                BOP Staff           

 Ever get lost in the woods?  Can you honestly say you know which is north and which is south?  Come out for an evening of learning about map and compass.  Designed for the beginner, we will help make the use of  maps and a compass easy.

November 10                    

Advanced Map & Compass                          Chestnut Ridge Park                       BOP Staff          

Part two of Map and Compass – we will travel to chestnut ridge park where you will participate in a short orienteering course.  Bring water, a backpack, and be prepared to get dirty.  Wear sneakers or hiking boots!

November 17                    

Essentials of Wilderness First Aid                Student Union – 145F/E                BOP Staff                           

Like to hike?  Like to venture into the wild – are you Wilderness First Aid Trained?  What’s the diff between my first aid class I took in high school and Wilderness First Aid?  Join Russ and staff for a two hour hands-on approach to showing you the difference!

November 24                    

Make Your Own Backpacking Stove             Student Union –145F/E                 BOP Staff                           

One of the most awesome survival skills is to know how to boil water when you have “limited” supplies.  We will help you make your own alcohol stove as well as a personal wood stove.

December 1                       

Building Emergency Shelters                          UB Letchworth Woods                  BOP Staff           

 Rules of 3 state:  If you find yourself lost or stranded in a wilderness setting, you have 3 minutes for air, 3 hours for shelter.  Join BOP Staff for a hands-on session making various shelters in the “wild”.

 December 8                       

Hike the Eternal Flame                                  Chestnut Ridge Park                       BOP Staff           

 Hopefully we will have a full moon while doing a night hike to the Eternal Flames located at Chestnut Ridge Park.  Join Outdoor Pursuits staff for a two hour hike “into the wilds” of WNY!




Trip Leaders


Russ Crispell, Director of Outdoor Pursuits at the University at Buffalo, has a wealth of outdoor adventure experience, including 15 previous trips to Alaska. A New York State licensed guide in camping, fishing, hiking, flat-water canoeing and whitewater rafting.  Russ has been trained as a Wilderness First Responder, a Wilderness First Aid Instructor, and an instructor for the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association and the National Safety Council. He has served as Past-President of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education and has presented on Outdoor Education and Adventure at various international conferences.  He is the author of “Timothy and Me”, a children’s story about Alaska Wolves.






Joseph Allen-has been a lecturer at the University at Buffalo for twenty-two years in the Environmental Studies Program having taught several courses including Introduction to Environmental Problems, Wilderness, Wildlife and Wildlands Management and Ecology of Unique Environments-Yellowstone National Park and Wind River Range, Wyoming. Although "retired" from UB, he continues to teach outdoor experiential courses and lead excursions in the western US including last summer's course, Megafauna and Predation in Yellowstone Park and this year's Alaskan Sampler.  He has previously guided and taught numerous outdoor field courses in the desert southwest and Rockies including the Snowy Range, WY, the San Juan Range, CO, the Wind River Range, WY, the Black Hills, SD, Grand Canyon NP, AZ, Grand Teton NP, WY and many other wilderness areas. His major academic interests involve wilderness preservation and rewilding, environmental ethics, predators and ecosystem recovery.




Past Excursions and Workshops

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

(registration closed)





All About Knots

(registration closed)





  Introduction to Fly Fishing

(registration closed)





Spring 2015


Alaskan Sampler May 18-27, 2015   TRIP IS SOLD OUT!!




Alaskan Sampler 2015 Photos


Participant Reviews and Testimonials

Contact Information

As our programs develop, new items will be added to this site.  In the interim, here is our contact information if you have any questions:

Russ Crispell

716-841-5406        crispell@buffalo.edu


Joseph Allen

716-228-9510        jcallen@buffalo.edu or bluegrassguitar@gmail.com





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Alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack, 832F or "06"  

Links to Courses Formerly Taught by Joseph Allen





PHOTOS OF WIND RIVER TRIPS FROM 2001, 2003,2008 & 2010





Outhouse Productions@