When is the next gathering?

The next gathering is February 20 – 22, 2015. It will be the 23nd RI Men’s Gathering.

What is the W. Alton Jones Campus?

The University of Rhode Island’s unique 2,300-acre wilderness area is devoted to preservation, research, educational conferences, and year-round environmental education. Over 40,000 acres of state parks and forests adjoin the campus, making this one of the largest preserved regions in southern New England. Special features of the campus include, the historic Woodvale Farm, a 1,000-acre Environmental Research Area, and the botanically unique Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve.

What is URI’s Environmental Education Center?

mossy-bouldersLocated on the W. Alton Jones Campus, our Center serves as an outdoor school for more than 10,000 students each year providing experiences with nature as the subject, classroom, and teacher. We strive to help children and adults develop a familiarity with our natural surroundings and an active concern for the quality of the environment. School teachers bring their students here on field trips which last up to 5 days. During the summer we offer camps for ages 5 to 16. On weekends we offer educational retreats such as the Men’s Gathering, act as a host site for instructional conferences, and rent out our facilities to adult and youth groups.

What will happen during the gathering?

Friday evening starts with a light meal and then we gather in the Opening Circle to share a little about why each of us has come. After that we all retire for a restful night’s sleep. Saturday activities include three optional 90-minute workshop sessions, as well as several hours of free time for hiking, playing, snow activities, discussion groups, or whatever. After dinner there’s an open mike, where anyone who wants can entertain the group with song, poetry, theater, dance, stories, comedy, juggling, etc. Dancing and drumming follow. Sunday begins with the last workshop session, followed by the Closing Circle, lunch, and clean-up.

Who conducts the program?

Workshops and all other program segments are led by participants. A committee of previous participants works with the W. Alton Jones Campus staff to handle behind-the-scenes details. W. Alton Jones Campus staff will be on hand throughout the weekend.

How are workshops run?

Workshops generally last 1.5 hours. There are 3 workshop sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday. Any participant who wants to may lead a workshop. Simply fill out the Workshop Form and click the SUBMIT button. We reserve the right to omit workshops considered inappropriate. We will not know what workshops are being offered until Friday evening after the Opening Circle.

Examples of past workshops:

  • New Games
  • Dream Work and Active Imagination
  • Men on Midlife
  • Cooking
  • Beginning  Hand Drumming
  • Storytelling
  • Dream catchers
  • Tension Reduction
  • Conscious Loving

What are the accommodations like?

The  kitchen is staffed with professional men and women from URI dining services. Meals include vegetarian alternatives. Our knotty pine dining lodge with field stone fireplaces, hardwood floors, and five meeting rooms provides a rustic, comfortable learning environment. Five winterized cabins are electrically heated and complete with bunk beds, showers, and lavatory facilities. Each cabin has between eighteen and twenty beds. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide child care.

Will there be a phone available?

One pay phone will be available for use throughout the weekend. Two other phones are on site for emergency use. If you need to be reached, the following numbers are available for emergencies:

URI Police, 24-hour service: (401) 874-2121,

Main Lodge Kitchen:  (401) 874-8144

Nurses Office (off Dining Hall): (401) 874-8148

What are the arrival and departure times?

Please plan to arrive between 6:00 and 7:oo PM on Friday evening. If you are traveling a great distance and cannot make it by 7:oo PM, we will put some dinner aside for you. The Opening circle will begin at 7:00 PM. The program ends after lunch on Sunday, with farewells around 2:00 PM. We appreciate your assistance with basic cleaning responsibilities. The men and women of the Alton Jones staff will take care of final clean-up.

What should I bring?

  • Sleeping bag or bed roll (2 blankets, 2 sheets)
  • Pillows
  • Flashlight
  • Toilet articles, towels
  • Waterproof shoes or boots
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm clothes, including long underwear, sweater, sweatshirt, winter jacket, winter hat, scarf, gloves
  • Ice skates, cross-country skis (conditions permitting)
  • Musical instruments, drums, ritual objects
  • Material for the “Open Mike”
  • Materials related to men’s issues
  • Large comfortable pillows for sitting on the floor, or back jack chairs
  • Artwork, craftwork, or photographs for exhibition (throughout the weekend there will be an exhibition of things that participants have created or wrought with their hands such as artworks, craftwork, drawings or photographs of buildings built or gardens planted, etc.)
  • Books, etc. for the resource table

What shouldn’t I bring?

  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Animals
  • Children under 18

How do I get to the Environmental Education Center?

Go-left!From I-95, take exit 5B to Route 102 North. Travel for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left at the “URI W. Alton Jones Campus” sign. Follow the paved road straight onto the campus continuing past the grey “Office and Information” building and the duck pond. At the “T” in the road, bear left, following signs to the Environmental Education Center.