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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Dec 12, 2022

George Grinnell is the author of "A Death on the Barrens: A True Story of Courage and Tragedy in the Canadian Arctic" and a retired history professor. George shares the harrowing tale of how, in 1955, at the age of 22, he took part in an epic canoe expedition in the arctic that resulted in a tragedy, redemption and personal transformation. George reveals how the intensity of this rite of passage journey became a spiritual odyssey that changed how he viewed himself and the world.

George shares that late in his life when his eldest son was diagnosed with schizophrenia, they went on a 40-day canoe expedition that seemed to have cured his son’s mental illness. He dives into how psychology is a relatively new science and time in the wilderness as a healing tool and rite of passage has been used since ancient times. George dives into the theories behind the changes he and his son experienced and the tragic canoe expedition that resulted in the passing of two sons, a cousin, and a friend in 1984. 

We thank the underwriters of Season 14, Brightstone TransitionsPoint School, and Wisdom Ranch. Season 14 focuses on young adult programs and young adults sharing their stories.