Welcome Rachel, TMO’s new Education Outreach Coordinator!

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the TMO Team! I have been following TMO’s journey these last few years and having participated in TMO Day and challenges myself. It is so exciting to be apart of such an amazing community of outdoor educators and I am excited to bring my knowledge and experiences as a high school educator to this community and learn from all of you and your experiences with your own students.”

Rachel’s earliest memories are of her being outdoors.

Her childhood was filled with family camping trips and exploring nature. This early love of the outdoors has contributed to Rachel’s passion for working with others to promote outdoor and land-based education. Rachel is an educator in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Treaty 1 Territory, and passionate about working with youth to connect them to the outdoors. She currently is a high school educator in the Louis Riel School Division. Rachel’s background in Indigenous Studies has a large presence in her work as she strives to use Indigenous ways of knowing and land-based approaches to promote student wellbeing and reconciliation. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Indigenous Studies and a Bachelor of Education both from the University of Manitoba. She has previously worked for outdoor education programs such as landED Manitoba and been on teacher-led learning teams to support educators incorporating outdoor learning and Indigenous education into their classrooms. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys rock climbing, canoe trips, yoga, and spending time with her partner and their dog Sage.

A favourite activity for Rachel:

Every week I do creative writing with my high school English students. Something I have recently tried doing with them is taking our creative writing outdoors. Together, we spend the first 5 minutes of class sitting and focuses on what our senses are recognizing. From there, students can choose what form or creative journey their writing will take. I provide them with a prompt to help guide their writing process but many find the freedom of being outside the classroom inspiring. Many use the outdoors as inspiration for their writing. But some choose to journal and reflect on the week past. I think something my students love most about this is simply being outside of the normal expectations and routines they have at the high school level. They love the freedom and creativity this activity brings and it has shown in the quality and engagement in writing that has taken place.

A positive impact of taking learners outside:

My students love the freedom of this activity. They get so giddy and excited when I announce we will be going outside, and the happiness it brings them has brought me a lot of joy as their teacher. Not only do these trips outside boost their mood, but I have noticed an increased engagement in the task of creative writing and the quality of the writing. I find the outdoors inspiring for those who often struggle to write and have noticed they have found higher engagement in the sessions we have done outdoors.

Encouragement for educators to take their learners outside:

At the high school level, I think so many teachers struggle with the balance of meeting curriculum expectations and wanting to venture outdoors with their students. I encourage anyone who feels this way to just experiment and try! There are so many possible connections for outdoor learning at the high school level if you work to find them.

Welcome to the team, Rachel!

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