Lecturer, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Program, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Program

John Abbott is a lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program and the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Program in the Rubenstein School. His courses include: Wilderness Education & Leadership, Winter Leadership Skills, Backcountry Skiing/Snowboarding & Avalanche Education, Wilderness Leadership & Outward Bound and Introduction to Mountaineering. John has directed UVM Outdoor Programs since 1996 including the UVM Climbing Wall, Adventure Ropes Course (UVM ARC) and the University of Vermont Outing Club (UVMOC), one of the largest and most active collegiate outing clubs in the country. The UVMOC is currently celebrating 100 years of student-led wilderness trips and leadership training. John's courses focus on expedition based wilderness leadership, technical hard skill development, team building, group management and risk assessment. He advises undergraduate students interested in pursuing research or graduate study in the fields of wilderness leadership and environmental education. John began his wilderness leadership work in 1988 as an Instructor and Course Director at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) in Newry, Maine where he now teaches UVM students during the summer session. He has traveled with UVM students both domestically and internationally, climbing and skiing in the Adirondack & White Mountains and in Peru & Ecuador. In 1998, John was part of a successful international sailing expedition that retraced the Viking voyages of Leif Ericsson over 2,000 nautical miles from Greenland to Newfoundland aboard a replica Viking knarr.

Associations and Affiliations

  • SOLO Wilderness First Responder
  • National Association Search and Rescue
  • Leave No Trace
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
  • North American Telemark Organization
  • Association of Experiential Education
  • American Mountain Guides Association
  • American Alpine Club
  • Wilderness Education Association
  • Association for Challenge Course Technology
  • Appalachian Mountain Club
  • Adirondack Mountain Club
  • Green Mountain Club

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Wilderness leadership and education, peer education and leadership, inclusion and social justice, cultural conceptions of wilderness, transfer of learning, big mountain climbing and skiing


  • EdD, Educational Leadership and Policy Study, University of Vermont
  • MA, Education and Administration, St. Michael's College
  • BA, English Literature, Bates College


  • 802-656-2060
Office Location:

Davis Student Center #310

Courses Taught

ENVS Courses:

ENVS 195 Wilderness Education and Leadership

Other Courses:

PRT 188 Winter Leadership & Mountaineering Skills (White Mtns., NH)
PRT 188 Backcountry Skiing/Snowboarding & Avalanche Education (Sun Valley, ID)