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This webpage contains a FREE and open-access textbook of academically peer-reviewed chapters about Outdoor Learning (OL), written for Canadians, about Canadians, and by Canadians. OL is defined as an experiential process, which takes place primarily through exposure to nature and the out-of-doors, where the emphasis for subject matter is placed on one or more relationships concerning humans and nature. Five relationships have been identified: intrapersonal (to oneself), interpersonal (among others), ecosystemic (within nature), ekistic (between humans and nature), and spiritual (knowing one's place in the world).

The umbrella term of OL encompasses all forms of experiencing in, for, and about the out-of-doors. These include integrated or separated forms of adventurous and environmental learning across the spectrum of these four fields ordered by increasing complexity.

1. Recreation feeling (enjoying tourism, playing, having fun, learning new activity skills, relaxing, rejuvenating, etc.)
2. Education thinking (schooling field trips, gaining new concepts, refreshing old ideas, generating awareness of need, etc.)
3. Development behaving (enhancing positive conduct, growing functional actions, building teamwork, protecting nature, etc.)
4. Therapy resisting against efforts to transform well-being (diminishing negative conduct, easing dysfunction, healing, coping, immersing within nature, etc.)


Click on a chapter title to open its PDF file for reading or downloading

Reintroducing Canada! - Editors (1)

Introduction: What is Outdoor Learning? - Editors (2)

A Summary of Textbook Chapters - Editors (99)

_________________ - Editors


Nature Interpretation - Hvenegaard, Blye & Halpenny (49)

A Beautiful Messy Process: Outdoor Education in Canada - Asfeldt (23)

Environmental Education - McClaren

Nature Therapy - ______________

Adventure Tourism - Vranich, Isaak & Rodger (17)

Benefits of Outdoor Learning - D'Angelo (39)

Adventure Therapy - Javorski (42)


Accessible, Adaptive, and Inclusive Outdoor Recreation - Kenigsberg & Cole (11)

Enhancing Support for Indigenous Land-Based Programming - DeLancey & Broadhead (31)

University Outdoor Orientation Programs - O'Connell, Lathrop & Howard (5)

Universal Design as a Framework to Increase Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging in Canadian Outdoor Learning- Loeffler (18)

Misogyny and Settler Colonialism: Finding Pathways of Resistance through Outdoor Learning - Wigglesworth (20)

Collaborating with Community Partners to Develop Specialized Programs for Underserved Populations - Spooner (28)

Unleashing the Transformational Power of Outdoor Education in Canada - Barfoot & Plangger (27)

Risky Outdoor Play - de Lannoy (8)


Fostering a Sense of Belonging in Canada's Parks and Wilderness - Shah & Badaloo (10)

Outdoor Learning in Urban and School Settings - Ayotte-Beaudet, Laflèche & Goyer (34)

Centre-based Outdoor Education Programs - Tashiro (36)

Simulations in Outdoor Learning - Clarke

Lakes, Rivers, and Oceans - Kelday

Leave No Trace - Stuart (47)

Forest Bathing - Brown (52)

Ropes-Challenge Courses - Haras (45)


Explaining key Features in Nature and Adventure-based Practices - Gargano, Pellerin, Letourneau (48)

Competence Effectance Theory- Mouse (3)

A Mechanism of Change for Adventurous Outdoor Learning - Priest (50)

Status and Expeditionary Group Dynamics - Ouellet & Laberge (29)

Conflict and its Resolution - Young (4)


Nature Prescription in Canada: Why and How? - Langelier, Pétrin-Desrosiers & Bradette (35)

Climate Change Education and Outdoor Learning - Murray, Ferland & McKenzie (38)

Re-connecting Children and Youth with Nature: Why, What and How? - Warner (32)

A New Holistic Model of Ecohealth Promotion - Ritchie (41)


Personal Obligations for Risk and Safety - Jackson (7)

Avoiding Catastrophic Accidents and Fatalities - Sole (22)

Emergency and Rescue Response - Little (26)

Post Incident Crisis Response - Cloutier (15)

Remote Mental Health First Aid - Hagel

Legal Liability in Canada - Heshka (43)

Insurance Coverage in Canada - Bossaer (53)

Surviving off the Land - Bourbeau & Tranquard (12)


Historical Timeline - Priest & Ritchie (0)

The Phenomenon of Camping - Fine (14)

History of Outward Bound - Wallis (16)

The Outdoor Council of Canada - Plangger & Sole (40)


Six Offerings: What outdoor learning might present public education during this time of quite radical cultural, social, and environmental upheaval - Blenkinsop (24)

Origins and Foundations - Mercure (21)

Interpreting Cultural Appropriation in Outdoor Learning - Mondor, Cairns & McIlwraith (13)

Magic Canoe: An Invitation for Reconciliation from Wa’xaid - Penn (19)

Whither Risk in Education: The Moral
Imperative of Outdoor Educators
- Raffan (54)

Ethics & Philosophy - Heintzman (51)


Outdoor Education in Integrated Curriculum - Horwood (6)


Creating Moments of Awe and Wonder - Linney (25)

Introduction to Wild Pedagogies - Jickling, Blenkinsop & Morse (37)

Outdoor Learning Pedagogy - Bisson (9)

Best Practices for Teaching Excellence - Taylor (44)


Experientially Teaching Canadian Travel Literature - Henderson (30)


Outdoor Leadership Competencies & Training - Williams-Orser (46)

Longevity of an Expeditionary Field Instructor - Kirk (33)

Facilitation and Reflection - Gough



International Outdoor Leadership Curriculum Framework


Definition of LOA: Led Outdoor Activity

Meta-analysis summary of LOA Benefits

The earlier definition puts outdoor learning in a nice box that satisfies the policy and procedure makers of our society. However, in the future, we must think outside that box. In many ways Canada is behind other developed nations when examining state-of-the-art practices for outdoor learning, but we do have an advantage in our efforts toward truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians and toward partnerships with nature for change. In a solution-focused manner, we must do more of what is starting to work for us.

While honouring our past work, outdoor learning in Canada is ready for a revolution of new ideas. The ignition for some of those new ideas can be found herein with chapters on indigeneity, decolonization, ecohealth, climate collapse, nature reciprocity, trauma-informed care, racial imbalances, temporary able-bodiedness, and different ways of thinking and acting.

With the plethora of problems related to the Earth’s systems as the result of previous ways of thinking and acting, what we must also begin to “do more of” is include the expert voices from all genders, ethnicities, indigeneities, and orientations. Canada is a diverse pluralistic society and outdoor learning must include all of those elements. To this end, we invite and welcome additional contributions to this living textbook and especially gifts from authors who are not simply defined by an older white cis-male identity.

If you would like to discuss contributing a chapter, please contact the editors at:

s i m o n _ p r i e s t @ y a h o o . c o m (please remove spaces) THANKS!