Take Me Outside Day 2016

6 years ago, I had just begun my journey of running across Canada. I was making my way across Newfoundland in the heart of winter, and visions of reaching the west coast seemed a distant dream as I slowly ran westward on the TransCanada Highway. It would take 9 months of running 40-50 km a day. For the full story, check it out here – http://takemeoutside.ca/the-run/

In the final 3 weeks as I made my way through British Columbia towards the Pacific, Take Me Outside Day was born. We wanted a way for schools to celebrate not only the end of my run across Canada, but more importantly, an opportunity to raise awareness for simply getting outside.As I dipped my toe into the Pacific Ocean weeks later, we had approximately 100 schools across Canada who participated in TMO Day. It has grown in the past 6 years, and this past year we had over 1,000 schools across Canada commit to spending an hour outside in late October.

In some ways, the hour spent outside on Take Me Outside Day is simply a gesture – after all, an hour isn’t that long to spend outdoors. But in any relationship, small gestures can go a long way. In the span of one generation, that relationship with the great outdoors has begun to suffer a bit as we spend more time inside, online, eyes buried. Take Me Outside Day is one small gesture that students, teachers and adults are giving to remind Canadians how important it is to be connected to this land. Having a relationship with the great outdoors seems odd to say in writing, but it is fundamental to who we are as Canadians – it’s a vital part of our Canadian identity.

Teachers and schools have really made Take Me Outside Day their own. Mattawa District Public School shows us the kind of things that can happen when teachers commit to outdoor and environmental education.

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