The Avalon School Team

Details about the background and experience of the members of our management team

Heloise Buckland

Program Director, Lead Facilitator & Co-Founder

Heloise has over 12 years’ experience developing learning for sustainability programmes in the UK, Spain and Latin America. She teaches at ESADE Business School, is editor of Education and Sustainability magazine and coordinator of the Regional Centre for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development recognised by the UN. She studied languages at Oxford University, Environmental Policy at Imperial College, is a qualified English language teacher, massage and yoga therapist and has years of experience facilitating holistic learning experiences with groups. Heloise is co-founder of Barcelonya.

Alexis Urusoff

Creative Director, Producer, Co-Founder

Alexis is a social entrepreneur and creative with over 20 years’ experience in directing social initiatives in Latin America and Europe, with particular expertise in sustainability design, strategic thinking and visual communication. Alexis combines his expertise in the communication arena with a background of University studies in Political Science and Sociology, Social Ecology and Sustainable Design. He is a professional digital and graphic designer, producer of events and festivals, activist, actor and passion inflamer. Alexis is Creative Director and co-founder of Barcelonya.

David Weingartner

Project Manager & Camp Manager

While studying International Business at Furtwangen University in Germany David focused on the field of sustainable development, solidarity economics and collaborative consumption. He has worked with various permaculture projects and social initiatives in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina and is a nature, climbing and outdoor sports enthusiast. David speaks fluent English, Spanish and German and is an accredited interpreter for German Sign Language. He is project manager at Barcelonya and is currently studying the role of collaborative consumption in effecting social change.

Sylke Iacone

Lead Facilitator & Trainer

Sylke is an experienced trainer, Vision Quest leader, Council facilitator and outdoor educator who has been leading nature based youth programs, Vision Quests, leadership and facilitation training programs for the last 15 years in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Sylke has trained with the School of Lost Borders, Outward Bound Germany and the Eschwege Institute and is also a certified hiking guide and high rope instructor. She is founder of Create your Change and passionate about making the right to be alone in nature more accessible for people of all ages.

Thaddeus Lawrence

Lead Facilitator & Coach

Thaddeus is on a mission to empower teams and individuals through heart-centered listening and audacious goal setting. He is especially adept at simplifying learning tools and making them relevant for daily use. In his trademark engaging and enthusiastic style, his approach to persevering through adversity to achieve a quantum leap in performance is to take those first small steps of intended and inspired action. He is the immediate past President of Asia Professional Speakers Singapore and is part of the Asian faculty of executive coaches responsible for helping managers and heads of a global consulting firm chart their leadership paths.

Gisella Arimany


 Gisella is an art teacher, artist, designer and poet. She has been developing audiovisual, theatre and installation projects for the last four years in secondary schools developing innovative audiovisual and corporal expression techniques. She leads cultural projects with young people in Olot, coordinates a co-working and artistic space “Projecte Ishtar” and is founder of “Un Ventilador” an audiovisual initiative where she works as director, editor and actress. Passionate about facilitating dialogue and expression between different cultures Gisella has a degree in Fine Arts.

Fergal O’Connor

Musician & Lead Facilitator

Fergal is a musician, composer and holistic practitioner from Ireland. His work centres around the creative process itself and facilitating and collaborating in that process with others. Fergal works as a music and drum circle facilitator with teenagers, businesses, at festivals and on retreats. He also has 15 years’ experience as a holistic therapist, trained in various therapies including Shiatsu, Yoga, Hellerwork, Focussing and Ayurvedic bodywork.

Anna Coll

Mountaing Guide & Facilitator

“Since I was a child, my parents took me to the mountains; this woke up something very strong inside me … since that moment I continue going every time I can.”
Anna start climbing at the age of 17, and at her 20’s she qualified for the National Team of Mountaineering. She travel around the world challenging and climbing mountains. She is the certified mountain climber and Technical Director of the School Escuela de Montaña del Centro Excursionista de Banyoles. She has 10 years of experience leading groups and teaching climbing, mountaineering, hiking and canyoning.

Diederik Saeijs

Musician & Facilitator

Diederik is a Dutch wilderness guide, composer, orchestra conductor, diverse musician and home-father. He lives in a family collective in Finland, where they explore a do-it-yourself approach to every day questions in order to live a rich simple life. With his partner Pauliina he did a yearlong immersion program in the wilderness of north Wisconsin, focusing on a primitive way of life. Diederik is passionate about wild crafts such as hide tanning, bow drill firemaking and gathering wild foods. He is hosting monthlong wilderness immersions in Scandinavia through Wild Moon Europe. Diederik graduated in modern & classical music at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam as composer and orchestra conductor. He is keen on creating and facilitating integrated forms of music and nature experiences through hikes and ceremonies that foster a sensitive connection to the natural world around and inside. 

Pauliina Helle

Oudoor Survival & Facilitator

Pauliina is a Finnish art educator and wilderness guide. Throughout her life she has explored a wide range of art forms such as visual arts, dance improvisation and music. She brings them together in facilitating creative processes based on the guidelines of expressive art therapy. She is trained in primitive lifeway and survival skills at the yearlong wilderness immersion program at Teaching Drum Outdoor School in the US. She has always had a fascination for traditional cultures. That has lead her to work for over ten years promoting Finnish folkloric culture and ancient worldview through youth and family work within the NGO Juurielo. Currently she is developing her master’s thesis on art education based on her experience amongst the Wixárika indigenous people in Mexico. At the moment she enjoys nursing her baby girl and living in a small ecological family collective in the countryside of Finland. She is dedicated to exploring sustainability through personal engagement in a simple way of life. She enjoyes wild harvest from the nordic nature and is passionate about textile crafts.

Anna Ling

Musician & Facilitator

Anna Ling is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, choir leader and yoga teacher from London. An Ethnomusicology graduate, she has been holding large-scale alternative musical education projects for 3 years, offering young people the chance to learn instruments from all over the world. She specializes in Bulgarian Singing, and offers ‘world choir’ singing experiences at festivals and camps, as well as holding a ‘flash-mob’ choir in London for the past 2 years. She teaches singing and guitar one-on-one, using composition as a means of holistically exploring all aspects of music. She has been practicing and teaching yoga for 5 years, and has experience in vocal and bodily movement techniques for activating the body and mind, as well as a substantial collection of games! 

Lucia Argüelles

Assistant Facilitator

Lucia is an environmental researcher, consultant and activist. Her areas of expertise include international sustainable development and climate change policy, political ecology and food sovereignty and she holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies. Lucia speaks four languages, has worked as a monitor on youth camps with the Red Cross and for the last 6 months has been carrying out research on food sovereignty in the Andes, as well as hiking and enjoying the stunning landscapes.

Luigi Mora


Luigi is a certified professional Archery Trainer and Archery Technician and teaches both young people and adults. He is a keen practitioner of the instinctive traditional long bow discipline and crafts bows by hand. Luigi is also trained in reiki, art therapy, meditation and body alignment. He is on the board of the Montjuic Archery Club, is Archery learning program director at the Waldorf Tretzevent Association and at the Special Needs Foundation in Barcelona.



Co-founder of the cultural association Projecte Ishtar in Olot, bee-keeper, bread-maker, gardener and permacultor with a smallholding in the Garrotxa area, Josep has 8 years’ experience running restaurants, cooking at festivals and events. He is passionate about using local, and where possible, organic ingredients, is creative in his approach and above all transmits an insatiable enthusiasm about food.  As well as providing some of the produce from his own small farm, Josep involves the students both in designing the menu and cooking.


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