Founder Rich Silver

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"May your work become central in awakening this sleeping and confused species we are part of.
I so admire anyone who has dedicated himself the way you have."
Brian Swimme, PhD ~ Cosmologist & Author
"The Universe Story" and "The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos"

U of Earth founder, Rich Silver is a national award winning educator who has spent over forty years investigating the mysteries of nature and human potential. Living in the northern Sierra Nevada, he is currently directing the development of the multiple aspects of the school while practicing as an EcoTherapist. During his twenty-eight year career as a California State Park Ranger he developed many educational programs, both within and outside of State Parks.

"You bring big medicine to the world."
Shelia Belanger
Ecotherapist and Soul Guide

Emphasizing his lifelong dedication to healing the human-nature relationship and promoting the rights of nature, he co-founded The Endangered Species Faire with his wife Janet in 1979, now known as The Endangered Earth Event, currently one of the longest running environmental education events in the world. His The Many Voices of the American River (1996), an EcoEducation training program for guides and teachers gained national recognition and was the cover story for the publication, Legacy.

Many of his other field programs, Nature as Healer & Teacher, The Secrets of Trees: A Peak Experience, and The Essentials of EcoTherapy have been highly praised.

Rich holds a Bachelor's degree in a special major Mind and Nature, blending psychology and the natural sciences. Has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology (Marriage & Family Therapy) and is ABD having completed all course work for a PhD in Applied Ecopsychology.

Described as a "rogue scholar," with a vow to stay out of the ivory tower (conventional academia) and be in nature, Rich is the great-grandson of the legendary abolitionist John Brown, and like Brown, is a passionate defender of life. His greatest pleasures arise from solitude in nature, solo backcountry skiing, river running and soulful conversations.

His most personally rewarding work came as a high school track and field coach over a span of fifteen years. There he taught youth how disciplined and focused practice leads to individual goal attainment and how the principle of disciplined practice can lead to achieving one's higher potentials throughout life. The deep gratitude he receives from his former athletes for those lessons when he meets them later in life continues to make coaching track a deeply rewarding experience for him.

Rich’s academic interests are in the fields of human development and human potential. His earlier studies evaluated the human development models that mapped the more advanced stages, stages that indicated the exciting possibility for humans contributing to positive global transformation. His current research is in investigating the efficacy of spiritual practices known as "subtle activism" as a means for personal and planetary healing and transformation. 

In addition, Rich is researching and teaching about the archetypal nature of humans as it relates to an individual's unique "Higher Self" and soul purpose as a way to fulfill Thomas Berry's call for "reinventing the human and society." His greatest passion is assisting others in discovering their higher potentials and soul purpose and in helping others find a source of endless inspiration through deep intimacy with Nature and the "Divine Realms." 

A spontaneous and mysterious life changing encounter with an "Ascended Master," (a "Being of Light") at age 30 led Rich to study the Spiritual Sciences at a true mystery school for 14 years; a study he continues privately to this day with certain "Masters" of that lineage. His lifelong dedication to that study and practice resulted in the Masters requesting him to "teach the path of the Higher Self" allowing him the humbling honor of offering guidance to anyone serious about spiritual transformation. And more esoterically, guidance for those rare individuals called to the path of Divine Reunion, the path of the Ascension, as he walks that path himself. His greatest joy comes from others taking seriously the path of the Higher Self.

Divine Reunion

Rich's many numinous experiences while wandering alone in the wild have inspired him to teach the importance of reclaiming the lost capacity for inter-species communication common to early indigenous people, a capacity that can lead to ever deepening care and compassionate action for both the human world and the natural world. 

The subject of his doctoral dissertation, titled, The Miracle of We: A Post-Rational Animism, examines the claim of Dr. George Washington Carver, “Anything will speak to you if you love it enough.”  There he demonstrated the importance of reaching our greater human potentials by developing trans-rational awareness and knowing. As a research based stage of higher human development, trans-rational awareness is a capacity of the heart, not of the head, allowing for inter-species and multidimensional communication. It is through this capacity and healing our species wide narcissism and autism, that we will find our way forward and come to truly know; "We are all in this together."

Heliotropic BreathWork

"Between BreathWork at University of Earth and the supplemental practices
Rich teaches my life has been transformed."
~MD, Heliotropic BreathWork Facilitator Trainee 

Rich Silver is the creator of Heliotropic BreathWork and serves as the lead facilitator. Rich has been certified in a number of healing modalities and has completed all of the required training modules, including the certification module through Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT), the organization originally founded by Stan Grof, to become a certified Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator. While being grateful for the training, Rich has chosen not to certify due to personal concerns regarding GTT. 

At his first training module the late Tav Sparks, owner and director of GTT, said upon meeting Rich, "You have an amazing presence, you have clearly done a lot of work on yourself." In his third training module, Stacia Butterfield, Grof's hand chosen workshop co-presenter exclaimed, "You could be the poster child for Holotropic Breathwork." These quotes are not meant to be a self-aggrandizement of Rich Silver but rather a testament of what dedicated practice can bring to any of us. Rich brings a lifetime of education in the field of human potential and dedication to transformative practice to Heliotropic BreathWork. His dedication to offering support for others has improved the lives of many hundreds over the years.

"Yours is an important work."
~Mathew Fox, PhD ~ Ecophilosopher,Theologian & Author
"Creation Spirituality" and "Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh" 

"The man with the biggest heart...a rare combination of appreciation of, and comfort
in the upperworld, the underworld and the wild."
"You have an important spiritual work to bring to the world." 
~Bill Plotkin, PhD ~ Depth Psychologist, Wilderness Guide & Author
"Soulcraft" and "Nature and Human Soul"
"What an amazing heart...he has the gift of the power of the voice."
~David Abram, PhD ~ Cultural Ecologist, Visionary & Author
"The Spell of the Sensuous" and "Becoming Animal"
Contact Rich Silver at
530 368-6325