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Joel C. Barnes, Ph.D. - Director, Graduate Teaching Assistant Program; RDP Faculty, Adv. Ed. & Env. Studies

Joel C. Barnes, Ph.D.

Academic Statement (Return to top)

Over the past 25 years, Joel has worked with a number of college level field programs across the Colorado Plateau and regions of Mexico, Latin America, Alaska & New Zealand. Joel's professional interests have emphasized the integration of environmental studies and adventure education; his courses blend wildlands conservation, river & watershed restoration, natural history & ecology, and environmental education with back-country travel & bioregional explorations. Joel's doctoral studies focused on the conservation of river systems and watersheds in the American Southwest, and included a six year research partnership with Grand Canyon National Park to support Wild and Scenic River designation for the Colorado River and its tributaries.

“Through teaching and advising I encourage students to wrap their education around their passions and run with it. I feel lucky to be part of an academic community that encourages this approach to learning.”



Background & Experience

Selected Publications (Return to top)

• Barnes, J. 2013. Protecting Wild and Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon. The International Journal of Wilderness. Spring 2013, 19 (1).

• Barnes, J. 2013. Wild and Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon. If Not Now, When? Boatman's Quarterly Review. Winter 2012-2013, 25 (4). Grand Canyon River Guides, Flagstaff, AZ.

• Barnes, J. 2012. A Grand Canyon Semester of Wilderness Explorations & Landscape Studies. River Management Society Journal, 25 (3) Fall 2012. River Management Society, Missoula, MT.

• Barnes, J. 2011. Prescott College & Grand Canyon National Park Offer a Semester of Wilderness Explorations & Landscape Studies. River Management Society Journal, 24 (3) Fall 2011. River Management Society. Missoula, MT.

• Barnes, J. 2005. Protecting Wild Waters in a Dry World: The Role of Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Conservation of Aridland River Systems and Watersheds in the American Southwest. Doctoral dissertation. The Union Institute & University. Cincinnati, OH.

• Barnes, J. 2005. Awareness to Action: the journey toward a deeper ecological literacy.Prescott College Press. Prescott College.  Prescott, AZ.

• Barnes, J. (ed.). 2005. Winter Wilderness Orientation Bioregional Resource Guide. Prescott College Press. Prescott College.  Prescott, AZ. 

• Barnes, J. 2000. Wild & Scenic Rivers in the Grand Canyon Ecoregion. River Management Society Journal, 13 (3) Fall 2000.  River Management Society, Missoula, MT.

• Barnes, J., B. Tershy, L. Bourillòn, L. Meltzer. A Survey of Ecotourism on Islands in Northwestern Mèxico. 1999.  Environmental Conservation, 26 (3), 214-217.

• Barnes, J. 1999. Seeps, Springs and Tusayan Development. Boatman's Quarterly Review. Winter 1999, 12 (4). Grand Canyon River Guides, Flagstaff, AZ.

• Barnes, J., P. Sneed, S. Munsell. 1998-2005.  Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Study of theColorado River and Selected Tributaries in Grand Canyon National Park. Research reports on file at the GCNP Science Center. Grand Canyon, AZ.

• Barnes, J. 1992. Granite Mountain Wilderness: Recreation Use Inventory and Management Considerations. Monograph on file at the Prescott National Forest, Bradhsaw Ranger District.

• Barnes, J. 1991. Social Perceptions of Wilderness: Granite Mountain, A Case Study. Masters Thesis, Humboldt State University. Arcata, CA.  



Presentations (Return to top)

   Wild & Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon. If Not Now, When? Grand Canyon River Guides Training Seminar. Grand Canyon, AZ. March 30, 2013.

 •   Protecting the Wet Parts of Our Dry World.  January Colloquium, Prescott College Master of Arts Program. January 19, 2013.

  Landscape Geography & Interpretation for River Guides: Sharing the Stories of Grand Canyon. Canyon Explorations Expeditions. Flagstaff, AZ. July 11, 2012.

•  Wild & Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon, and Landscape Interpretation for Sense of Place Education. Grand canyon River Guides Training Seminar. Grand Canyon, AZ. May 1, 2012.

•  Integrated Landscape Studies & Sense of Place Learning - Prescott College’s First Grand Canyon Semester. Association of Experiential Education, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference. Durango, CO. January 17, 2012.

•  Voices of Learning and Leadership from the Greater Prescott Community. Panel speaker, 1st Annual Nat’l. Sustainability Education Symposium, Prescott College. June 3-5, 2009.

•  Prescott Waterways and Local Ecosystems Perspectives. Workshop facilitated at the 1st National Sustainability Education Symposium at Prescott College. June 3-5, 2009.

•  Ancient Voices, Modern Times. The Future of Phoenix. Public debate & panel discussion speaker, sponsored by High Country News in Scottsdale, AZ. January, 2008.

 Riparian Restoration in Aridland Watersheds of the Southwest: Principles & Practice. Workshop facilitated at the Walnut Creek Research Station. Walnut Creek, AZ. April, 2006.

•  Using Wild and Scenic Rivers to better understand and protect riparian areas in the American Southwest, a case study with Grand Canyon National Park. Presentation at the Arizona Riparian Council Annual Symposium. Flagstaff, AZ. April, 2006.

 The Role of Wild and Scenic Rivers in Grand Canyon’s Backcountry. Presentation at the GCNP Backcountry Research Workshop. Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon, AZ. January 2006.

•  Strengthening the Bridge Between Agencies & Educational Institutions. J. Barnes & R. Peters. River Management Society Symposium. Boise, ID. May, 2002.

  Environmental Ethics in Adventure Education. J. Barnes & R. Peters. Association of Experiential Education, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference. Prescott, AZ. April, 2002.

 Environmental Literacy at Prescott College. 15th Annual Environmental Education ConferenceSponsored by the Arizona Association for Learning in and about the Environment. Heber, AZ. October, 1994.

•  Identification of fish species in the Bay of La Paz, and their relative importance to the California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) and artisenal fishermen of La Paz, Baja California, Mèxico. Barnes J. et al. Poster presented at the 1992 XVII Reunion Internacional de Mamiferos Marinos.  La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mèxico. 1991. Also presented at Conference of the Society for Ethnobiology. Wash., D.C. 1992.

•  Cross Cultural Programs Addressing Environmental Issues in the Sea of Cortèz. J. Barnes, D. Hulmes, L. Meltzer. North American Ass. of Environmental Ed. San Antonio, TX. 1992.

Research (Return to top)

Joel's doctoral studies focused on the conservation of river systems and watersheds in the American Southwest, and included a six year research partnership with Grand Canyon National Park to support Wild and Scenic River (WSR) designation for the Colorado River and its tributaries. As the WSR Project Leader from Prescott College, Joel coordinated the WSR study for over 500 miles of rivers and streams in the park. The field phase of this project was designed as a series of undergraduate courses, and engaged over 60 students as field research assistants. Ultimately, this WSR study could result in one of the largest WSR designations ever passed by Congress, and would more than double the mileage of WSRs in the southwest. Joel’s research has advanced the College’s reputation as a leader in bioregional conservation, and has helped set the stage for future collaborative research between the College and Grand Canyon National Park.

More recently, Joel has served as a topical expert and consultant for Grand Canyon National Park, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition, Prescott Creeks Preservation Association, and other entities that champion environmental conservation and education. Joel is also engaged in ecological restoration and education projects focused on Lower Butte Creek on the Prescott College campus, and other rivers and streams in Central Arizona.

Awards, Grants, & Honors (Return to top)

•  Funding obtained from the Sustainability Council of Prescott College for The Butte Creek Master Plan, a riparian restoration & education project. $4,000. 2012.

•  Montclair Who’s Who in Collegiate Faculty.  2007/2008.

•  Cambridge Who’s Who Executive & Professional Directory.  2007/2008.

•  Funding obtained (in collaboration with Prescott Creeks Preservation Association) from the Yavapai County Environmental Fund of the Yavapai County Community Foundation (an affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation) for the Prescott CreekWatch Network. $11,000.  2001-2002.

•  Funding obtained (in collaboration with Prescott Creeks Preservation Association) from the J.A. McDougal Fund for the Environment of the Yavapai County Community Foundation (an affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation) for the Prescott CreekWatch Network. $5,000.  2000-2001.

•  Funding obtained (in collaboration with Prescott College) from the United States Forest Service for wilderness management research, and consulting to the Prescott National Forest. $20,000. 1991-1992.

•  1st Place, The P-town Peel Out Bike Race. Prescott Alternative Transportation. Bike Month. 2000.

Education (Return to top)

Ph.D., Union Institute & University, Environmental Conservation and Education, 2005.

M.S., California State University at Humboldt, Natural Resource Studies in Wilderness and Water Resource Management, 1991.

B.A., Prescott College, Environmental Sciences and Education, 1981.

Expertise (Return to top)


Environmental Conservation & Education; Desert, River, & Riparian Ecology; Water Resource Management; Aridland River & Watershed Management; Restoration Ecology; Community-based Environmental Education; Adventure-based Environmental Education; Bioregional Studies; Whitewater Rafting & River Guides Training; Flatwater & Whitewater Canoeing; Conversational Spanish; Human & Animal Play.


Doctoral level:

Sustainability Theory and Practice for Education

Masters level:

Experiential Education Theory, Methods, and Practice at Prescott College: Preparing for a Successful Graduate Teaching Assistantship (graduate

Philosophy and Methods of Experiential and Adventure Education

Undergraduate level:

Environmental Education: Theory

Environmental Education Methods for Adventure Educators

Environmental Topics in Adventure Education

Concepts of Ecology

Restoration Ecology: Watersheds of the Sountwest

Water in the West

Park & Wilderness Management

Grand Canyon Explorations: River Research & Expedition Leadership

Grand Canyon Semester: Wilderness Explorations and Landscape Studies

Environmental Perspectives & Whitewater Rafting

River Guides Training

Marine Conservation: Local & Global Perspectives

Coastal & Cultural Ecology of Kino Bay

Coverage in News & Media (Return to top)

KNAU radio interviews and KAET TV special on John Wesley Powell’s Journey course in the fall of 2005.


Academic Involvement at Prescott College (Return to top)


Areas of Study


Virtual Campus Tour

Prescott College Events

Oct 10
09:00 AM – In Service Training: Frontline on the Homefront - Working with service members, veterans and their families
Jul 25
All Day – 5th Annual Prescott Film Festival
Jul 25
All Day – LRM- Summer Term 2014 Ends

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