Leon Chartrand, Ph.D.


Founder and Director,  chartrandl@xavier.edu (email) 
(307) 690-2994 (cell)  -  


"Dr. Leon" received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in Environmental Ethics, and specializes in Thomas Berry, Mircea Eliade and Shamanism. He also holds two doctoral certificates: one in Theology and Ecology from the Elliott Allen Institute at the University of St. Michael's College; the other in Wilderness/Large Mammal Conservation from the Center for the Environment, Department of Forestry, University of Toronto. Before coming to Xavier University and starting Xavier Expeditions, Dr. Leon served as the Regional Bear Biologist and Bear Management Officer for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He also served as the Bear Wise Community Planner for the State of Wyoming where he authored and implemented a community-based program to reduce conflicts between humans and bears. In addition to being a wilderness guide, Dr. Leon also specializes in the areas of Native American culture and perspectives, Environmental Philosophy, and Eco-spirituality. For Xavier Expeditions, Dr. Leon teaches "Wilderness and Religious Imagination," "Sacred Ground and the New Story," "Ecology, Ethics, Place," and "Native American Myth and Ritual."

Neala, Dog Expert

Professor, Canine Living,  email,  phone

Neala has been a trail dog since she was 7 weeks old. At 12 years old, she spent 7 years of her life as a companion to a bear management officer and learned how to be around horses, bears, moose and elk. Now a registered therapy dog, Neala enjoys visiting Elder Living Centers and comforting students during exam weeks and while on Xavier Expeditions. Her favorite things include anything to do with trails, water, beef, chicken, pork, bison and squirrel, as well as finding bones. She does not have any political affiliations, but she would likely not vote feline.


Joe Hetzer

Graduate/Teaching Assistant,  email,  phone

Now entering his fifth year with Xavier Expeditions, Joe began as a student on the first expedition in 2010 and was also a student in 2011. Since 2013, Joe has served as our graduate assistant and is beloved by students and faculty. He has his eyes on safety and also on ensuring students have opportunities to explore areas further during our expeditions off days. Joe also leads students on reflection exercises, wilderness activities and group discussions. He has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the everyday function of each expedition. We are fortunate to have his assistance.

Donna Brandt

AAA Travel Agent,  email,  phone 

Donna is the most knowledgeable person we have when it comes to travel questions. She has played a primary role in Xavier Expeditions' success since it began and takes it upon herself to make sure we have the lowest possible travel expenses without diminishing the quality of the expedition experience. Donna is mindful of student budgets when it comes to planning these expeditions and she is the person to contact if you have any questions regarding travel arrangements and travel cost payments.