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Pauw Foundation

Take Me Outside connects classrooms with the great outdoors

Colin Harris thinks everyone, especially students, should spend more time outdoors. Harris is the founder and executive director of Take Me Outside (TMO), an organization focused on raising awareness on the importance of outdoor learning and connecting kids with nature.

In 2011, he went as far as launching the organization by running 7600 km across Canada and visiting 80 schools along the way.

Whether taking online classes, consuming our favourite media, or meeting via Zoom, the past couple of years have forced most of us to spend far more time on our devices than we used to. With constantly shifting health restrictions, students have been impacted particularly hard as schools moved between in-person and online learning.

The rapid increase of screen time makes building a closer relationship with nature essential. Harris says the main goal of TMO is to “extend the learning environment beyond the desk and four walls and to use the great outdoors as part of the regular teaching practice.”

…Read on here!

Earthy Chats podcast

Presented by Green TeacherCBEEN, the OLS, and Stoked on Science

“Wide-ranging chats with environmental educators about best practices, changing trends, and new insights about the outdoor and environmental learning field. Long-time educators Ian Shanahan from Green Teacher and Jade Harvey-Berrill from The Outdoor Learning Store and Stoked on Science facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas.”

Check out Episode 10 featuring TMO’s Executive Director, Colin Harris!

Colin Harris, founder of Take Me Outside, works to bring together physical education, outdoor education and giving kids a break from technology. His passion and hard work will have you scrambling to build your own non-profit legacy or maybe borrow his and run across Canada yourself?

Subscribe to & review Earthy Chats on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Audible, or wherever you get your podcasts. And don’t forget to follow on PodBean!

RMO Today

Banff Townsite from Tunnel Mountain2Mar. 29, 2022. Four Bow Valley organizations will get a combined $175,000 from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation.

The Banff-based foundation announced Take Me Outside, Ecole Notre Dame des Monts, Nakoda Elementary School and Spirit North will have funding to help with programs that support wellness, outdoor pursuits and outdoor and land-based learning. The aim is to ensure financial barriers don’t preclude people from participating.

“The Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation is about building a more vibrant, active and healthy community,” said Cathy Geisler, the executive director of the foundation, in a media release. “We are thrilled to support these programs that break down barriers, enrich learning opportunities and bring communities together, all in the great outdoors.”

…Read on here!


Rethinking Environmental EducationSept. 27, 2021. Over the last year and a half, the world has had to rethink many norms in order to adapt to this global pandemic. Hugging family members, socializing with neighbours, gathering together for events – we are eager to get back to the way things were, and for good reason. But are there some areas where we have had to rethink what might be worth holding onto?

As the world contemplates a shift to a new normal, it appears that “eco-” education is finally getting its day in the sun. Worldwide, the evidence is mounting that being outdoors poses a lower risk for contracting COVID-19, for adults and children alike, potentially increasing everyone’s commitment to spending more time outside. Ample studies have demonstrated that being outdoors is beneficial to physical and mental health, reducing feelings of isolation, increasing vital activity, helping to regulate stress, strengthening the immune system, and forming a lasting bond with nature. For environmentally conscious parents and educators alike, none of this is new.

…Read on here!

EdgeCast podcast

June 17, 2021. During the pandemic we wanted to reach out to others. We wanted everyone to realize that they are not alone and give people positive things to listen to as they get out and walk in nature.

Colin Harris is the Founder and Executive Director of Take Me Outside (an organization that encourages people to get outside more). We got to discuss his new book called:  Take Me Outside: Running Across the Canadian Landscape that Shapes Us .

His book takes you on a detailed journey of Colin Harris’s cross-Canada run to inspire students and teachers to get outside and experience the benefits and beauty of nature.

…Listen here!

Whyte Museum

May 28, 2021. Join local author Colin Harris to hear his story about a cross-Canada run to inspire students and teachers to get outside and experience the benefits and beauty of nature.

Talking With Green Teachers podcast

Outdoor learning during a time of physical distancing

Take Me Outside founder and Executive Director Colin Harris joins the Green Teacher podcast to discuss the role of outdoor learning during a time of mandated physical distancing, while discussing physical and institutional barriers to moving beyond the four walls of the classroom. He also highlights the importance of connecting with Indigenous communities to gain their insights on nature and ways to learn about it.

…Listen here!

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Students, Banff Elementary (Photo courtesy of Take Me Outside's official Facebook page)Jan. 9, 2014. Calling in from the comfort of his home in Canmore, Alberta with his four-legged friend at his feet, Colin Harris, executive director and founder of the Take Me Outside (TMO) organization, spoke with NCC-staffer Carly Digweed about getting children outdoors, his nine-month trek across Canada, and his appreciation for winter weather.

CD: What sparked you to take on the Take Me Outside initiative, to get kids outdoors? And why do you feel it’s important?

CH: In my youth, when the school bell rang, I was outside until dinner. And once I finished my homework I was outside until it was dark and the street lamps came on. And I’m sure that that phrase has been repeated ad nauseam by many, many people. But originally that spark was working in outdoor education; seeing firsthand, kids who came up to our centre for three, four, five days… removed from any devices and just seeing  sort of mini-transformations happening within those few days. Even just seeing the smiles on their faces and observing a real enjoyment for being outside, a real enjoyment of being with their classmates.

…Read on here!

The Times Colonist


Colin Harris ended his nine month, cross-Canada odyssey Tuesday by dipping his foot in the ocean at Royal Roads University, but it was just the beginning of the next episode in his quest to bring youth closer to the great outdoors.

The 36-year-old had plenty of company in the final metres of his run, which began in Newfoundland in January. Members of the cross-country team from Sangster Elementary School and Sooke school district superintendent Jim Cambridge ran with Harris through the Royal Roads campus, and still more students were at the shore to cheer the group on.

…Read on here!

Royal Roads University


7,600 kilometers. Nine months. Three pairs of runners. One passion.

That’s what has been driving Royal Roads University MA in Environmental Education and Communication student Colin Harris across Canada on a run that spans from St. John’s, N.L. to Victoria, B.C. Harris combined a life-long dream to run across the country with his Take Me Outside campaign to help youth understand the value of being outdoors.

“You ask anyone over the age of 25 to 30 what their childhood was like and they will tell you most of their time was spent playing outside,” Harris says. “That’s what’s changed.”

…Read on here!

Goldstream News Gazette

Colin Harris dips his toe into the Esquimalt Lagoon Tuesday afternoonOct. 25, 2011. Not long after dipping his toe into the Esquimalt Lagoon, Colin Harris was racing a rambunctious gang of Sangster elementary kids up the hill, toward Hatley Castle.

Despite running 7,600 kilometers over the past year, Harris didn’t hesitate to tack on a few more strides. The 36-year-old ultra-ultra marathoner from Ontario stepped off the ferry at Swartz Bay Tuesday morning and ran to Royal Roads University, the last marathon distance he’ll complete for a while.

Harris launched his Canadian odyssey in the spirit of Terry Fox. The lanky redhead dipped his toe in the Atlantic Ocean off St. John’s, N.L., on Jan. 17 and ran west, one marathon at a time.

“When I started nine months ago, it was overwhelming. You can’t think about the Pacific Ocean, you just had to take one day at a time,” he said. “It’s been a long nine months. I’m happy I’ve made it.”

…Read on here!

Kamloops: The Daily News

thedailynewsOct. 14, 2011. When Colin Harris learned that children today are likely to face a shorter lifespan than their parents, he knew he had a good reason to run across Canada.

Wearing a T-shirt that read, “Tell your teacher to take you outside,” Harris brought that purpose to an assembly at Beattie School of the Arts Friday morning.

“I’m just trying to encourage that message of balancing time in front of the screen with time outside,” he said. “I’ve worked in outdoor education for the last decade or so, so I think I’ve seen the benefits to children of spending time outside and research bears that out.”

…Read on here!

Explore Magazine

Subscribe to Explore Magazine - Explore MagazineOct. 5, 2011. Running nearly a marathon a day. Every day. From St. John’s Newfoundland to Vancouver, BC.

Just typing those words leaves me… amazed? in awe? inspired? … exhausted?

Yes, even thought of running each day, let alone running a marathon each day, exhausts me, yet that’s what Colin Harris of Take Me Outside (TMO) has been doing each day since January 2011. And he’s taken on this extraordinary challenge with the purest of intentions: To encourage the youth of today to get outside.

As he runs his way across the country, Colin is making appearances in schools and communities to spread the organization’s message and to introduce to students, teachers and parents alike the Take Me Outside Challenge. The challenge is simple: spend more time outside, be active and connect with nature.

…Read on here!

Kickass Canadians

June 26, 2011. There are people who do the bare minimum asked of them. Colin Harris isn’t one of those people.

The idea to run across Canada first took root in his mind when he was 13 years old and living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was born in Drumheller, Alberta, but moved around the country whenever his pastor parents were reassigned. So it was that Colin found himself on Portage Avenue when the torch procession for the 1988 Calgary Olympics passed through Winnipeg.

…Read on here!