“Mountains are both journey and destination. They summon us to climb their slopes, explore their canyons, and attempt their summits. The summit, despite months of preparation and toil, is never guaranteed though tastes of sweet nectar when reached. If my only goal as a teacher and mountaineer is the summit, I risk cruel failure if I do not reach the highest apex. Instead, if I accept the mountain’s invitation to journey and create meaning in each step, success is manifest in every moment.”
Dr. TA Loeffler is a celebrated educator, adventurer, nature advocate, author, and professional keynote speaker from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. TA is a professor of Outdoor Education and Recreation in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2020, TA was selected to the Canadian Geographic “90 Greatest Canadian Explorers” List. Additionally, in 2015 and 2016 respectively, TA was named to theCanadian Geographic’s Canada’s Greatest Explorers 100 Modern-Day Trailblazers List and Greatest Canadian Modern Women Explorers List. Over the past 18 years, TA has shared her message of “Big Dreams, Big Goals” with well over 250,000 people in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
After climbing Denali, TA set a goal of climbing Mount Everest and the rest of the “Seven Summits,” the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. TA made her third attempt on Mount Everest during the spring climbing season of 2016 where she reached 7300 meters and thus, for now, has completed six and four/fifths of the Seven Summits. TA completed currently a 3000-kilometre canoe expedition from Jasper, Alberta to the Arctic Ocean in 2018. In April 2019, TA completed another section of the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal–an expedition called Pretty Big Walk. During the summer of 2019, TA completed her sixth paddling expedition in Labrador. This expedition was called the River with Two Names. COVID-19 has kept TA close to home for the past two years getting to know the Avalon Peninsula even better.
TA’s writing details expedition preparation, training, and the life lessons gained from these ambitious pursuits. TA loves to share expeditions with schools and the community in engaging ways. For example, in 2015, TA climbed nine volcanoes and El Salvador’s Highest Peak during Volcanopalooza and paddled 210 kilometres from Lake Shipiskan to the sea along the Kanairiktok River in Labrador. TA completed a Great Big Walk across 750 km of the High Himalaya of Nepal during the spring of 2014.
In September 2013, TA stood on the highest point in North Africa, Jebel Toubkal. In April 2012, TA skied 275 kilometres across unexplored Greenland and climbed the Arctic’s highest peak, Gunnbjørn Fjeld. In December of 2011, TA climbed Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.
Throughout this adventurous journey, TA has aimed to be a “public dreamer” to inspire others to have big dreams and big goals by sharing these adventures online, in schools, in the media, and through keynote speaking. You can also download TA’s One Pager to learn more about having TA come to speak at your event. TA loves to share expeditions with schools and the community in engaging ways.
Dr. TA Loeffler brings 35 years of expertise leading people through significant life-changing experiences to every facet of her work. TA’s work and adventures have taken her to 52 different countries and all seven continents. TA has completed 6 and 4/5 of “The Seven Summits,” the highest peak on all seven continents. In 2020, TA was named to the “90 Greatest Canadian Explorers” List by Canadian Geographic.
As a Professor of Outdoor Recreation at Memorial University of Newfoundland, TA has developed a reputation for excellence in experiential education because her students are more likely to be outside chasing icebergs than sitting in a classroom. TA inspires hope, possibility, and vision in those whose lives she touches. Over the past 15 years, TA has shared her message of “Big Dreams, Big Goals” with over 100,000 youth in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
TA believes that we all long for a balanced, engaged, and creative life that challenges us to be the best we can possibly be. She models this belief in her life on a daily basis and combines her broad range of skills to inspire all to create the life they truly want.
Using her vast collection of outdoor adventures to create metaphors that provide new ways to see and transform the inevitable obstacles of life, TA’s multimedia presentations inform, inspire, and motivate. As an award-winning educator and speaker, TA understands the power of metaphor to initiate and sustain life and professional change.
TA has received international and national recognition for her innovative teaching and community engagement.
- In 2021, TA was the recipient of the Recreation NL Bridging the Gap Inclusion Award.
- In 2020, TA was selected to the Canadian Geographic “90 Greatest Canadian Explorers” List.
- In 2018, TA was chosen by the Association of Experiential Education to deliver the Kurt Hahn Address at the 46th Annual Association of Experiential Education International Conference.
- In 2016, TA was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” nominee by the YWCA of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- In 2015, TA was Selected to the Canadian Geographic “Canada’s Greatest Explorers: 100 of the Nation’s Top Modern-Day Trailblazers” List and appointed as a Chair in Teaching and Learning at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
- In 2014, TA was nominated for two awards at Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Student Union Outstanding Contribution to Student Life Award and the Glenn Roy Blundon Award.
- In 2013, TA was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to her community and was named a Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
- In 2008, TA was awarded a prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship and named as the Minnesota State University “2008 Distinguished Alumnus” in the Humanitarian category. Additionally, TA received the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty/Staff Volunteer of the Year Award.
- In 2007, TA received the Karl Rhonke Creativity Award from the Association of Experiential Education.
- In 2006, The Globe and Mail named TA, “A Class Act” and she received the Association of Atlantic Universities Distinguished Teaching Award.
- As well, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport named TA to their 2006 Top Twenty Most Influential Women in Canadian Sport and Physical Activity List.
- TA received the Memorial University of Newfoundland President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2005
- The Association for Experiential Education named TA the Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year in 1999.
- TA was awarded the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Student’s Union Instructor of the Year Award in 1998.
TA is a talented athlete. TA uses strength training, running, tire pulling, biking, yoga, cycling and step aerobics to prepare for her expeditions. She has a passion for hockey and has played every position on the ice including goaltender. TA has coached several championship-winning hockey teams and has officiated at the national championship level. Through her experience in both sports and outdoor adventure, TA intimately appreciates teamwork and knows how to bring teams together to accomplish their goals and fulfill their greatest potential.