Dave is one of the stalwarts of the Queensland Outdoor Ed and Rec community. Here he shares with us his career journey.
First contact with outdoor education and OEAQ. From May 1982 to February 1986, I was the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) Ranger-in-Charge of the Noosa River section of the then Cooloola National Park (now Great Sandy National Park). Many schools ran OE programs there and I was very interested in making those programs work for QPWS and for the schools.
I became a member of OEAQ as I thought I could learn from and/or influence (at least some) of the OE teachers. This was a good move as I met my future partner, Megan Burfein, and many outdoor-eders who are still close friends. I also got to know some staff from the Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education who started what became the Graduate Diploma of Outdoor Education (GDOE) at Griffith University and who regularly ran programs in Cooloola.
Then I worked for QPWS in Brisbane as a Regional Interpretation Officer. I filled my spare time studying for the GDOE which I completed in early 1988.
I took the opportunity to teach in the “Parks and Wildlife” associate diploma programs at the then Queensland Agriculture College (which was amalgamated into the University of Queensland in 1990). The GDOE was very useful for an otherwise non-credentialed teacher. GDOE lecturer, Norm McIntyre (or Terry Brown), asked me to give a lecture on Queensland’s national parks management and outdoor ed. That lecture became an annual event which many currently-practicing OEAQ members survived.
In early 1991, I returned to the QPWS HQ to develop and manage training for “field operations”. During this time, I attended OEAQ meetings regularly and gradually became part of the management committee. The recruitment processes were very subtle.
For most of this period, I worked within the Queensland Government (QG) sport and recreation agency (there are too many agency-name changes to list) – initially to produce an outdoor recreation strategy for southeast Queensland.
In 1997, senior staff in the QG sport and recreation agency allocated the initial funding to set-up a non-government organisation to advocate for the outdoor recreation industry. I heard about this when I was asked to help make this happen in 3 weeks (if my memory is correct – which it probably isn’t). With much work from the then OEAQ management committee, we press-ganged various folk to come to meetings, agreed on a name – the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation – elected a management committee, incorporated the organisation, set-up a bank account, wrote a draft constitution, got approval from the QG sport and recreation agency, banked the initial grant and gave birth to QORF.
OEAQ management committee meetings were a part of my life until 2005, when it was time to pass the baton to folk who were current OE practitioners.
Today, after finishing work with Queensland sport and recreation in 2012 I have continued to support OEAQ and QORF, sometimes up close and sometimes from afar, and I have enjoyed venturing further afield in enjoying the outdoors.