J. Robert Harris
J. Robert “J.R.” Harris has been exploring, unsupported and mostly alone, in remote areas around the world for more than 50 years, and is the author of Way Out There: Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker. Growing up in a public housing project in New York City during the late 1950s, his first exposure to nature and the outdoors environment was at a Boy Scout summer camp in the Catskill Mountains, where he learned the basic skills for thriving and surviving in the backcountry. More importantly, he began to appreciate the physical, emotional, and intellectual benefits that being in nature could provide. He also noticed that there were very few people out there who looked like him.
Armed with the emerging confidence that this experience provided, Harris ultimately realized his lifelong dream of becoming an explorer and he has now done more than fifty expeditions on six continents. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the distinguished Explorers Club, and is Chair of the Club’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
Harris became the first in his family to go to college, earning a degree in Psychology. He then moved into the corporate world, rising steadily to management positions in international marketing. In 1975, he started his own marketing consulting and research business, and in 2016 was elected to the Market Research Hall of Fame. Today, JRH Marketing Services is the oldest African American-owned company of its type in the U.S.
Spending time in the natural world gifted J.R. with a level of maturity, insightfulness, tolerance, fitness, sensitivity, and a respect for the environment that he might not have acquired otherwise. He believes these benefits are available to anyone who will spend some time outdoors, and that the experience will motivate them to support, maintain, and protect our natural environments. For the past 20 years he has been bringing this message to others, especially BIPOC.
For high school and college students, his lectures are fast-paced, humorous, and often interactive. Drawing from his experience as a street-smart kid who achieved a life of travel and adventure, he offers some practical, good-natured advice about how they can reach their goals and live their dreams. For adults, he tells engaging, compelling, and thought-provoking stories that blend his wilderness experiences with his career as a business owner and a former corporate executive, adjunct professor, and New York City taxi driver.
For more about J. Robert Harris, consult his website: jrinthewilderness.com.