Guy Quinn

Vanier Physical Education professor Guy Quinn was the subject of an article
in the October 8, 1998 issue of the Montreal Gazette. Monioque Dykstra, the author of the article, has kindly agreed to permit us to reproduce it, along with her photograph, here on the Vanier College web site.


Guy Quinn, Urban Wilderness Instructor
By Monique Dykstra

Guy Quinn’s urban wilderness class starts at sunrise at the lookout on Mount Royal. Huddling into their clothes for warmth, Quinn’s students look down at the sleeping city. The sky changes from black to pale blue. Soon it’s light enough to see St. Lawrence river, a sliver thread winding through the city. Cars start moving in the empty streets. Suddenly, the sun rises.

Like most of Guy Quinn’s lessons, the one he teaches here is both ridiculously simple and remarkably profound.

An ordinary natural phenomena, the sunrise is also a daily reminder that the earth spins on it’s axis once every 24 hours, giving us day and night. And while it seems like we're firmly planted on a rocky bluff in the middle of an enormous city, we're actually whizzing thorough the galaxy at 100,000 miles an hour.

Quinn, an outdoor education teacher at Vanier College, also teaches his students to experience life with all five senses, to live in the present, and to sit under trees whenever possible.

"I use nature and experiences in nature to teach people about themselves. We don't have to go far to have a very exciting natural experience. Nature is everywhere. Hearing the wind in the trees is to acknowledge nature. Or to feeling a breeze on a concrete sidewalk. But you have to pay attention. You have to be aware. For that, you need to have presence of mind. That’s a really important lesson for anyone, but it’s especially important for young people."

"One way of teaching presence of mind is by waking up all the senses. We are visually oriented people. When we take sight away our other senses come alive. Like hearing, for example. Sometimes I get the students to wear blindfolds to be more aware of the symphony going on around them: the sound of the birds, people talking, the wind in the trees, traffic, paper ruffling, the occasional plane going by."

"Waking up our senses can feed our sixth sense, or instinct. But I don't talk about that much with my students. I don't want to scare them off by getting all woo-wooey with them. I just give them exercises to do and we go out and have fun. Then, hopefully, they can take some of the things they learned in my classes and apply them to their daily life."

 


NEW: SEE A VIDEO PROFILE OF GUY QUINN
THAT APPEARED ON GLOBAL NEWS


Note: Very large 53 MB Quicktime file.
(QT Player and high-speed internet required.)


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