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Mary Breunig - Brock University. St. Catharines, ON, CA

Mary Breunig

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Social Justice and Equity Studies | Brock University

St. Catharines, ON, CANADA

Mary Breunig is an expert in experiential education and social justice pedagogy, an educational consultant, and professor





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Mary Breunig PhD has been involved in outdoor and experiential education with a focus on social and environmental justice for 20 + years. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Graduate Program Director of the Social Justice and Equity Studies program, Brock University, Canada. Mary is past-president of the Association for Experiential Education, a research consultant, former Outward Bound instructor, and National Outdoor Leadership School instructor. She is both an outdoor enthusiast and urban flaneur. Visit her website @

Industry Expertise (3)


Professional Training and Coaching


Areas of Expertise (12)

Environmental Education

Experiential Education


Qualitative Research Methods

Social Justice

Schoolground Greening

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Leadership

Freiran Praxis

Educational Philosophy

John Dewey

Critical pedagogy

Accomplishments (1)


Graduate Program Director, Social Justice and Equity Studies and Associate Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Brock University, Canada. Past-Present, Association for Experiential Education

Education (1)

Canada: PhD in Education

Languages (2)

  • English
  • French

Media Appearances (1)

Nature deficit disorder and the potential of school-based environmental education

Green Majority  radio

A radio interview about my environmental education research

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Event Appearances (4)

Experiential Education- Experience it !

University of North Troendelag  Levanger, Norway

Canoes and Waterways: Paddling the Canadian landscape

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

(en)Lighten Up? : Humour in the Workplace

Keynote Address for Biennial Meeting of the Burlington, Ontario Parks and Recreation Department  

Counterhegemonic Teaching and Leadership as a Form of Social Activism

4th Annual Rebecca L. Carver Institute on Experiential Education  Greensboro, North Carolina

Research Grants (3)

“Greening” Niagara’s Schoolyards

Niagara Community Foundation 

Designed and installed outdoor classrooms in the Niagara region of Canada

Evaluating the Impact of Integrated Environmental Studies Programs in Ontario on Students’ Environmental Actions, Behaviours, & Professional Pathways

Social Science and Humanities Research Council 

The purpose of this multi-site case study is to: 1. analyze the impact of integrated Environmental Studies Program (ESP) participation on student learning about the environment; 2. analyze the impact of ESP participation on students’ attitudes to and relationships with and to the environment and how that relationship informs pro-social and pro-environmental behaviours; and 3. longitudinally examine the impact of ESP participation on students’ environmental attitudes, knowledge, actions, and professional pathways over time.

Sense of Community & Leadership Styles in Outdoor Pursuits Trip Groups

Brock University 

A primary purpose of one form of leisure experience – outdoor pursuits programs – is the development of positive interpersonal relationships and group experiences that lead to an enhanced sense of community. The purpose of this ongoing scholarship study is to understand the relationship between university students’ participation in outdoor pursuits trips and changes in their perceptions of sense of community, group cohesion, and sense of place over time. Data collection includes both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Partnerships (1)

Research Consultant

Outward Bound Canada 

Outcomes-Based research collaboration funded by the Mcconnell Foundation

Articles (9)

Relationship matters: Duo-narrating a graduate student/supervisor journey

Journal of Education and Training Studies

Co-authored paper

The transformative potential of learning through service while “doing” classroom-based research

The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Paper based on experiential education course

Students’ experiences with/in integrated Environmental Studies Programs in Ontario.

Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

Paper based on environmental education research

Social justice in experiential education: Past, present, and future

Journal of Experiential Education

Invited paper submitted to special issue

Food for thought: An analysis of pro-environmental behaviours and food choices in Ontario environmental studies programs

Canadian Journal of Environmental Education

Paper based on environmental education research and issues of food security

Environmental sustainability and environmental justice: From buzzwords to emancipatory pro-environmental behaviour change

Journal of Sustainability Education

Paper based on environmental education research and behavioral impacts and change

A qualitative exploration of sense of community through reflective journals during wilderness outdoor education curricula

Research in Outdoor Educaiton

A paper based on sense of community research

Problematizing critical pedagogy

International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

A paper based on my critical pedagogy research

Teaching for and about critical pedagogy in the post-secondary classroom

Studies in Social Justice

A paper exploring critical pedagogy praxes