Welcome to our new Camps Director Hayley Joyell Smith!

About Hayley Joyell Smith

I am an Earth science teacher, an adventurous traveler, natural builder, and environmental enthusiast. I am also a “camp person”. As a child in Indiana, I always loved to play in the dirt. My parents taught me to be respectful of the natural environment, how to find fossils, and garden, but it was Camp Miniwanca that showed me how to develop a relationship with nature, to honor it and how to survive in the wilderness. In reflection, it was learning how to read weather patterns, cook meals on a fire, embrace Native American spirituality, work through group challenges, and creatively find solutions that shaped my sense of self that set the course of a meaningful life path.  As a camper for 7 years and then a leader for 6 years, I grew in ways I never thought were possible and it is this essence of self-discovery via learning from nature that I hope to instill into the programs with Wild Intelligence.

With a solid foundation provided by my outdoor camp experiences, I have continued to learn about the natural world though international traveling and studying geology and sustainability sciences. When traveling, I tend to stay at ecovillages and have a passion for building toilet systems in developing countries. Some of the areas I have ventured include: Europe, South and Central America, Asia, the Middle East, and most recently India, Nepal and Pakistan. As a traveler who values connecting with the land and the people, I have been fortunate to learn from other cultures different ways to live, to communicate, to heal, and to show reverence. I have also learned that we all, no matter where were come from or by what creed we identify, belong to this Earth and find joy in being loved. I hope to share some of these international lessons and stories with the Wild Intelligence Community.

My academic pursuits began as a philosophy and geology double-major who was encouraged to apply my knowledge to better the world. After earning my Bachelor of Arts in Geology in 2005 from Hanover College, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina. There I was a middle school science teacher and then became the French Broad River watershed education coordinator at RiverLink. Facilitating experiences for students to explore the natural world was always the highlight of my day. In 2012, I decided it was time to go back to school and learn more about Earth’s systems and geoscience education. I completed my Masters in Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Science in 2014 from North Carolina State University. My research was focused on how students’ attitudes changed about the relevance of science and decision-making for a more sustainable future. Academia is great,, but after school I was ready to test my skill and live off-grid.

In 2015, I moved to The Farm to accept the position as Program Director of the Ecovillage Training Center. There I ran permaculture design certificate programs, workshops on natural building, ecological sanitation, and community building. While at The Farm I also taught at Solar School, which is a democratically run school with a holistic curriculum and lots of outdoor exploration. It was a fantastic time in my life and I often return to The Farm for holidays and educational opportunities.

But alas, I left the position at the Ecovillage Training Center to pursue more of academia. I went back to Hanover College as a visiting instructor to teach Global Environmental Change and Geology to undergraduates. This position lead me to my currently role as a PhD student at the University of Georgia, where I hope to further my education on water and wastewater systems. I now call Athens my home (I bought a house) and look forward to learning more about ways to be involved in the community. My adviser is Alfie Vick, whose children have been part of the Wild Intelligence Community for several years now. When he told me about the position I was intrigued and felt it would be a perfect fit, a way for me to offer what I can to the community and for me to continue to evolve as a teacher and facilitator. I am now thrilled for this opportunity to step into a leadership role for a program with such integrity.


Wag! Wag!  I love being outdoors. Hayley J. is my best friend and I mostly follow her around wherever she goes. I love to chew on sticks, run through the woods, and lay in the sunshine. I get along with other dogs and humans as well. I’m great with kids, but sometimes all the attention is a little too much so I might just walk away. You are welcome to pet me anytime, but please be gentle because I am almost 12 years old.  I love treats but please no corn, I’m allergic I can’t wait to spend all day in the woods and along the river with y’all.

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