Dr. Mary Breunig has spent the last two decades as an outdoor recreation professor and Director of Social Justice and Equity Studies at Canadian universities. She recently started teaching at California State University - Sacramento on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Miwok, Wintu, Maidu, Nisenan (southern Maidu), and Patwin Native peoples. Her scholarship focuses on social and environmental justice, schoolyard pedagogy, student-directed teaching and learning, and Freiran Praxis. Mary is a NOLS and Outward Bound instructor. She is a climber, cyclist, avid paddler, place-based enthusiast, and urban flaneur.

Community Activist

I engage in outreach work within the communities where I live, including at the SOS foundation of Key West which provides food security, nutrition education, clothing, and food pantry service to those in need and St. Felix Centre, Toronto. I engage in scholarly community activism in the courses I teach and the research I conduct.

Outdoor Instructor & Guide

I am a National Outdoor Leadership School instructor and previously guided trips for Wilderness Inquiry and Outward Bound, as well as a number of other outdoor organizations. I am a generalist who enjoys an array of outdoor activities, including backpacking, sea kayaking, rock and ice climbing, winter camping, mountaineering, and mountain biking. My outings often merge with my scholarship. For example, in 2006 I spent 72 days in South America, mountaineering on the high peaks of Ecuador and Peru, while conducting research on the sense of community and group cohesion amongst high-altitude trekkers.

I hold certifications as a Licensed New York State Backcountry Guide, British Canoe Union, 2 Star Sea Kayaker, Wilderness First Responder, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Bronze Cross, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and an F Class Driver’s License.


Please contact me if you wish to chat with me about a potential speaking engagement. Highlights of my speaking engagements include:


2019 Association for Experiential Education Conference


Outdoor Education Australia

2018 National Outdoor Education Conference


Biennial Meeting of the Burlington Parks & Recreation Department (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)


Symposium on Experiential Education Research (37th Annual Conference of the Association for Experiential Education)


Transcultural European Outdoor Studies Program (Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway)

Experience It! (University of North Troendelag, Levanger, Norway)

Safe & Caring Classrooms Program (Toronto District School Board, Toronto, Canada)

4th Annual Rebecca L. Carver Institute on Experiential Education (Greensboro, NC, USA)


Expert Witness

I have served as an expert witness in court cases involving issues of risk management In outdoor settings.