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and welcome! I am writing to you from the ancestral lands of the Southern Maidu, Miwok, Nisenan, and Patwin peoples of Northern California. I recognize these Indigenous peoples as the original and ongoing stewards of this land. As a White settler, I acknowledge my complicity in the colonialism and racism that have led to the historical erasure, land appropriation, and oppression of many Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC).

While I hope you find this site a source for interesting information, I will continue to work on providing up-to-date and current resources that acknowledge the many BIPOC contributions to the field of outdoor/experiential education (OEE). My hope is that together we can amplify and elevate the multiple & varied contributions of OEE practitioners and scholars in an effort to further decolonize our communities of practice.

A few places to get started immediately include: https://group.sagepub.com/structural-racism-police-violence (for academics). For OEE instructors, check out: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/environmental-justiceand https://psychology.umbc.edu/files/2016/10/White-Privilege_McIntosh-1989.pdf

Take the 21 day-challenge to build racial equity habits: https://www.debbyirving.com/21-day-challenge/

I invite you to check out the extensive community resource page of the Association for Experiential Education for current and relevant DEI teaching & learning "tools" https://https://www.aee.org/community-resource-library#blm

By way of personal introduction,

let me share a part of my academic journey. Throughout the 1990s, while guiding wilderness trips around the World and as an outdoor educator taking school children out into nature, I became curious about how time spent in natural places with others connected people in unique and intimate ways. I first thought about this when working at summer camp in Wisconsin in the 80s as a cabin counselor. The girls in the cabin were not bonding well with one another at the beginning of the season. A couple of weeks into the summer, we went on a three-day canoe trip on the Flambeau River together and the girls began to communicate in increasingly more positive and productive ways. I wondered what impact that wilderness travel experience may have had in this shift in their behavior.

This experience alongside many other outdoor, wilderness trips led me into research about how people experience the outdoors and experience each other when spending time in the natural environment as a group member. Throughout my career, I have furthered this area of study by examining the ways in which outdoor, environmental education can promote pro-social and pro-environmental change. My teaching and writing are currently focused on developing social justice literacy, humility, and accomplice-ship.

Merging scholarship, teaching, research and experience

My scholarship is aimed at bridging the theory/practice gap and is grounded in critical pedagogy and Freiran praxis; my teaching/research applies to trip guiding, environmental education policy, social justice pedagogy, experiential education, and friluftsliv; and my experiences are enriched through colleagues, students, travel, professional development, and engagement with others.


News & Events

IOERC - Japan, 10th Annual International Outdoor Education Research Conference, March 2024
Adventure Learning Programs, Madison Wisconsin, On October 29th, 2023, Mary offered a day-long workshop for the University of Wisconsin - Adventure Learning Program
Upcoming Conference Keynote in Santa Cruz , Mary will be presenting the Keynote at the Association for Experiential Education West Region conference, Santa Cruz, California, March 3-5

Title - Let's Walk the Talk Together: Moving beyond Rhetoric toward Action
Mary facilitated two recent NOLS expeditions, backpacking with NASA-CHAPEA and canyoneering with Robertson Scholars in Summer, 2022, I was invited to be a wilderness expedition leader for the NASA Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA) (July, 2022). NASA CHAPEA is an analog mission that simulates year-long stays on the surface of Mars. Mary took Robertson's Scholars students canyoneering in Canyonlands, Utah (May, 2022).
Check out this recent article on Transphobia in the Classroom, Mary was interviewed for this recent article on Transphobia in the Classroom
Mary presented on the 11th Annual Trends and Issues Panel, It was absolutely wonderful to be together in person again to celebrate 50 years of the Association for Experiential Education.
HereBeWomen Webinar, Mary co-facilitated an international webinar, February 2022
Lockheed Martin Leadership Navigation Challenge, Mary facilitated a geocaching activity for Lockheed Martin executives
Naval Academy Canyonlands Course, First fully vaccinated NOLS course !
Social Justice Webinar, AEE, Social Justice Webinar
Creating Change Conference, Mary facilitated a Leadership Navigation Challenge for NOLS at the Creating Change conference in Dallas, Texas.
September Google Leadership Lab, Mary facilitated a leadership lab for Google in Mountain View California.
2019 Kurt Hahn recipient, Mary has been honored with the Association for Experiential Education Kurt Hahn address.
Dublin, Ireland Google Leadership Lab, Mary traveled to Dublin, Ireland this Spring to instruct a Google Leadership Lab for NOLS.
American Educational Research Association presentation, Presentation at the 2019 AERA conference in Toronto Canada.
Presentation at American Camping Association conference, Hannah Dabrowski and Mary presented at annual ACA conference
10th Anniversary of the Niagara Social Justice Forum, 2018 Niagara Social Justice Forum, February 3rd at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, St. Catharines
Outdoor Education Australia Keynote Address, Mary will be giving the keynote address at the National Outdoor Education Conference in Hobart Tasmania in April, 2018.

Green School Visit, Bali, Indonesia , Mid-April (2018) will find me in Bali, Indonesia where I will be assisting with teacher training for the Green School "Green Educator" Course.
Adirondak's Great Camp Sagamore Writing Workshop, Join Mary at the Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondaks for a women's nature reading and writing retreat. We will be spending time together in nature, reflecting and writing and building community.
Outdoor Leadership Textbook Now Published, Updated Textbook Explores Social Justice Among Many Other Topics Through a Focus on Developing Students' Core Leadership Competencies
Association for Experiential Education Conference, On November 10th, Mary presented at the 3rd Colloquium on Outdoor, Adventure and Experiential Education at Canadian Universities and Colleges
On November 11th, she Presented on Social Justice Competency
Brock Faculty and Students Take Their Learning Outdoors, Faculty of Education and Recreation and Leisure Studies Students Join Together for Outdoor Pedagogy
National Outdoor Leadership School Wildfire fighter training, Mary will be instructing a NOLS course in 2017 for California Wildfire fighters, teaching NOLS exceptional leadership curriculum
Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University, Mary Breunig takes on new role as Graduate Program Director of Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University
COEO News, Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario news update.
High 5 Adventure Learning Trainings, Check out the upcoming trainings at High 5 Adventure Learning Center

Climer Consulting, Amy Climer offers workshops and trainings for educators with a focus on group development, team building and experiential education
Schoolyard Pedagogy Project , Schoolyard Pedagogy Project "in the news"
Brock Spring Convocation Address, Mary delivers the Brock University Spring Convocation Address for Applied Health Sciences students
Adventureworks Professional Development Workshops, Visit http://www.adventureworks.org/ to visit the full line up
Experiential Learning and Training Opportunities , Jennifer Stanchfield and Experiential Tools
Featured Article in Heathwood Press, Mary was spotlighted as a featured researcher for this non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing Frankfurt School critical theory and engaging with some of the most urgent issues of our times.