NOEC 2016 Conference Proceedings

Outdoor Education Australia‘s biennial National Outdoor Education Conference (NOEC) was held on Queensland’s spectacular Sunshine Coast from 29 March to 1 April 2016.

With the theme of Innovate – Educate – Celebrate and a major emphasis on outdoor experiential learning, it was a cracking event. Below are the presentations that have been made available for public viewing.

Keynote Presenters

Innovations in nature – learning from the best. Tim Low – Biologist, Author, and Environmental Consultant

Innovations in OE curriculum and pedagogy. Simon Beames, Edinburgh University, Scotland

Education in the 21st Century. Mark McCrindle – Social Researcher, McCrindle Research Available Now

Download or view Mark’s presentation here

Workshop Presenters

Adventure and learning in a changing world. Mike Brown Available Now

This presentation discusses the meanings of adventure and its role in learning. An analysis of literature from the fields of education, recreation and tourism suggests that definitions of adventure are constantly undergoing revision and reinterpretation. Drawing on Beames and Brown (2016) I highlight how ‘narrow’ views of adventure, which appeal to notions of risk and danger, are paradoxically shaped by control and predictability. A focus on activities involving risk and danger conspires to limit the pedagogical potential of adventure that is used for educational and development purposes. I argue that current forms of adventure education practice fail to meet the needs of learners who are confronting a world of increasing rates of change, unpredictability, and complexity. With reference to Beames and Brown’s Adventurous Learning, I suggest an alternative approach that embraces features of late-modernity and takes as its starting point the everyday life of the learner.
Beames, S., & Brown, M. (2016). Adventurous learning: A pedagogy for a changing world. New York: Routledge.

View or download presentation here

Applying Work Domain Analysis to evaluate a safety management regulatory system. Tony Carden, Paul Salmon & Natassia Goode Available Now

Safety management regulatory and compliance systems for adventure activities aim to promote safety and reduce accidents. However, there is scant evidence they have led to improved safety outcomes. In fact there is some evidence that the poor integration of regulatory system components has led to adverse safety outcomes in some contexts (White, 2014). The aim of this study was to evaluate the New Zealand Adventure Activity Regulations (NZAAR, 2011), in order to determine the extent to which the objectives of that system are supported by the resources available for action and the constraints on action, arising from the design of the system. The NZAAR were examined (New Zealand Legislation, 2011), along with “Guidance for operators” (NZ Department of Labour, 2011) and a suite of resources provided by the website Work Domain Analysis (WDA) was used to map the system in terms of the functional purposes, values and priority measures, generalized functions, physical functions and physical objects (Vicente, 1999). The analysis suggests that the NZAAR functional purpose of ensuring safe activities is not fully supported by the design of the system. Potential improvements to the design of the system are discussed.

View or download presentation here

Authentically Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and culture into learning spaces and initiatives. Kalindi Brennan Available Now

How can you set an intent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures to be immediately visible and authentically embedded in your centre and/or school learning programs and physical environment? How can you facilitate opportunities to acknowledge, respect and experience connection to our First Australians and engage with Aboriginal ways of learning?

The ‘Why’ and ‘What’ components of prioritising Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures into learning spaces and initiatives are clear, but the ‘How’ component can be more challenging. This interactive workshop will address the ‘How’ component, exploring Aboriginal ways of learning for engagement that are inclusive and transferable.

A short multi-media presentation will showcase how a small school has worked with indigenous mentors, local community and student-led directives to become an exemplar of ‘best practice’ indigenous integration in learning programs.

Following, will be hands-on activities demonstrating Aboriginal ways of learning including, ‘sensory story’, land art and bush tucker tasting. These activities will give educators ideas for their own learning programs.

View or download presentation here. Also great indigenous games ideas here.

Building Social Capital through the delivery of Outdoor Education Tony Keeble

Have you ever wondered if the outcomes of outdoor education can improve the communities we live in? I am sure you have. In fact, I am sure we all have. This presentation is a look at my PhD research to date, the definitions, the review of literature, methodology and method and research questions. It will explore the possible nexus between outdoor education outcomes and the social capital indicators of:
1. Communication skills
2. Relationship skills
3. Group processing skills
4. Networking skills
5. Leadership skills

Cool Running - Learning to teach cross-country skiing: An application of educational learning theories. Pete Holmes, Bruce Pridham

Snow ski instruction remains under theorised and under researched. The literature that is available advocates a behaviourist approach to the instruction of skiing. Through a qualitative research methodology we set out to see if this is the case and whether there are other educational learning theories being used. We found that instructors did use a behaviourist approach. However, this was augmented and enriched by adopting a number of other educational learning theories. In 2015 we investigated 13 third year students enrolled in a Bachelor of Outdoor Education at La Trobe University. We examined the students’ perceptions of themselves firstly as learners, and then as teachers of Nordic skiing during an Australian Professional Snowsport Instructor course. Initial findings were that students learnt predominately through a behaviourist approach. As students applied and accommodated their learning we found they were using other pedagogical frameworks, including applied learning, social cognitive and meta-cognition approaches. Implications to the learning and teaching of skiing will be discussed. Finally, we will propose that this application of learning theories to ski instruction is applicable and transferable to the development of other skills based teaching and learning.

Coping strategies and development of resilience in outdoor education. Jessie Booth, James Neill Available Now

A key aim of outdoor education is to develop participants’ psychological resilience (or mental toughness) through structured challenging and reflective experiences in outdoor settings. Such experiences, however, can be a double-edged sword, with the potential for growth and harm. Some participants thrive on the opportunity, whilst others can be reluctant or resistant. Psychological theory about stress and coping can help to understand this problem. Coping strategies are employed in response to stressful and challenging situations. Some coping strategies, such as problem-solving and positive thinking, can help and foster psychological resilience, whilst other coping strategies, such as ignoring the problem and worrying, may undermine the development of resilience.
This presentation will introduce psychological theory about stress, coping, and resilience, review research about the coping strategies in outdoor education, and explore how outdoor education programs could more intentionally support the use of coping strategies which contribute to the development of psychological resilience.

View or download presentation here

Creating links to and outcomes with Australia’s First Nations Peoples. Bryn Dunlop, Karen Lawton, Milton Lawton, & Dale Harding

In our roles as outdoor educators, we take many thousands of young people into places that are central to the culture and spirituality of Australia’s First Nations peoples. With a cross curricula priority being “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures”, our outdoor programs are well placed to create not only educational, but social and spiritual outcomes. In this workshop we will begin by briefly exploring the evolution of a relationship between an outdoor education program and the Garingbal and Bidjara people at Carnarvon National Park.This relationship has been developed over a decade in a program that has had profound benefits and outcomes for the students and wider community. We will also examine issues like how to engage with Traditional Owners communities and how to develop cultural safety for program attendees. In this workshop you will have the chance to engage personally with Garingbal and Bidjara contributors and be offered the rare opportunity to discuss issues that may be relevant to your situation.

By the end of this workshop we hope that you are challenged and moved to initiate contact with the Traditional Owners of the Countries you visit in an attempt to not only provide benefits for the young people, but also to contribute to the wider conversation on honouring our shared history and issues of conciliation.

Creating trip artefacts: Group journals on multi day expeditions. Dave Atkins Available Now

St. Philips College runs an extensive outdoor camps program from Years 7-12 in the Northern Territory. The biggest or culmination of these programs is the Year 11 10-day Leadership Course which is recognised as a Stage 1 Outdoor Education Subject by SACE. During the course the creation of a resource/ trip artifact for the group in the form of a group journal is created focusing on the course foci of; Leadership, Self-reflection, Communication and the Environment. Outdoors Staff create a skeleton and the students are then responsible for maintaining and adding to the journal as they move through the course. These resources are kept in the Head of Outdoor Educations office and often returned to past participants on a short term loan system. We have started to use a more free format journal with our Year 9 Endeavour 9-day program with some success as well.

View or download presentation here

Designing and delivering effective outdoor programs for youth: Lessons from a unique Australian study. Lauren Rose, Ian Williams

What makes for an effective outdoor program? What do you include and what should you leave out? How do you maximise the likelihood that participants will benefit? Despite many years of quality practice and research in the outdoors, key questions such as these remain largely unanswered. Like many others before us, we have grappled with these same questions. In this session we present key lessons learnt from a world-first research project looking at the benefits of outdoor youth programs.

Conducted by the Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA), with support from the Australian Federal Government, this project involved designing and delivering a purpose-designed outdoor program in collaboration with 12 partner organisations across education, health, government, and outdoor industry sectors. Almost 250 young people were recruited from two state secondary schools in Victoria, Australia to take part in a 7-day outdoor program encompassing both hard-top and journey elements. We will describe the key principles and elements we considered in building and running the program, drawing on the ChANGeS Framework (Williams, 2005) throughout. We will discuss aspects such as group size, program duration, activity selection, sequencing, leadership model and more. This session will be of interest to anyone wishing to know more about how to design and deliver effective outdoor programs for young people.

Development and evaluation of the PCYC Catalyst Outdoor Adventure Youth Intervention Program. Arron Sullivan, James Neill, Daniel Bowen

This session will explain the design and development of the Bornhoffen PCYC Catalyst program and a recent evaluation of its impact on adolescents. PCYC Bornhoffen partners with schools to offer a 15 day Catalyst program. The program uses an experiential methodology with adventure programming, delivered in three phases. Firstly, there is an introductory 3 day team development program. The young people and teachers then participate in a 9 day outdoor journey involving hiking, camping, cooking, sleeping in a tent, abseiling, creeking and climbing or high ropes experience. This is followed by a 2 to 3 day follow up program that revisits aspects of teaming and experientially encourages planning and goal setting. A recent research evaluation study of the impact of the Catalyst program on participants identified small to moderate short- and longer-term improvements in life effectiveness, psychological well-being, and several aspects of behavioural conduct. There were no positive longer-term impacts on psychological distress and some aspects of behaviour. Thematic analysis of 14 participant interviews identified these themes: overcoming challenging backgrounds, contending with adversity, personal development, social development, motivation to work for change, and a more optimistic outlook on the future.

Embodied teaching and learning: Exploring the mindfulness-nature-wellbeing connection. Son Truong

This mindfulness workshop will explore the interconnectedness between humans, nature, and wellbeing. We will begin this experiential workshop with a short and accessible mindfulness exercise focused on bringing our awareness back to nature. This exercise will serve as both a stimulus and provocation to discuss the concept of mindfulness, as well as steps and approaches for introducing mindfulness practices into educational settings. A selection of pre-workshop readings will focus on emerging evidence-based research on the mindfulness-nature-wellbeing nexus, as well as practitioner resources. This practitioner workshop will be facilitated by Dr Son Truong, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (, internationally Registered Yoga Teacher (, and lecturer and early career researcher in Health and Physical Education (School of Education and Centre for Educational Research, Western Sydney University). One of the central aims of the workshop is to mutually generate and exchange ideas with participants on ways to integrate mindfulness into our teaching and learning. In particular, the workshop is intended to generate further dialogue beyond the short session that examines the call to reconsider cross-curricular pathways between Outdoor Education, Health and Physical Education, and Education for Sustainability.

Evolution of the Outdoors in NSW. Liz Horne

In 2015, ORIC conducted a consultation process within the Outdoor Community in NSW. The consultation engaged people in face to face open forums, online surveys and one on one interviews. The breakdown of respondents being 57% of members and 43% non-members. Some of the themes that surfaced at the forums include: National AAS, aging population, identity of our outdoor industry/community, research and benefits analysis, advocacy, VET reform and Outdoor Recreation Training Package, and last but not least spreading the word about the capacity of the outdoors to provide fun – learning – life skills – therapy and much more. Liz will speak to the findings of the Evolution of ORIC report that may be relevant nationally. She will also pose some ideas to challenge the status quo within the broader Outdoor Community. Maybe it is time we look at ourselves a little differently so that we can celebrate the work happening throughout our community to innovate and educate the people of Australia.

How to plan and build a paddle trail in your community. Chris Townsend

In Australia and beyond, modern manufacturing technologies have spawned a massive increase of affordable self-propelled recreational watercraft, potentially creating increased opportunities for access to explore inland waterways. Through the lenses of a veteran outdoor educator, observations of visitor behaviour around boat ramps and access points at a number of recreational boating locations led me to suspect that a significant percentage of this booming population of TV-boating-show inspired owners might have little idea of the basic skill and knowledge required to safely explore and enjoy waterways. There might be need for some guidance, through the form of formal canoe trails, to foster more meaningful participation in self-guided water based recreation. A quantitative analysis of all formal canoe trails in Australia was conducted with the purpose of systematically investigating the variety and characteristics of existing and proposed formal canoe trails. [Geographic distribution; user groups; infrastructure & facilities; way-finding strategies; communication of safety content; interpretation of environmental and cultural knowledge]. Recommendations include the development and sharing of planning resources for stakeholders and land managers to: better cater to the unique needs of paddler; incorporation of well planned interpretative strategies to foster land/waterway custodianship; and the development of designated ‘canoe-only’ trails and campsites.

Innovative fieldwork pedagogies in outdoor education programs within the higher education sector. Brendon Munge, Glyn Thomas

Fieldwork is an integral component of many higher education courses and has been identified by students as an effective tool for connecting theory and practice. This session will report on the findings of a literature review that was conducted as part of ongoing doctoral studies exploring optimal teaching and learning practices in outdoor education fieldwork. The research is exploring the constraints, challenges and opportunities in outdoor education teacher education programs; including massification, increased concerns about litigation, and the push to replace face-to-face teaching with online and blended teaching models. Although there is a paucity of research exploring these issues, research in the disciplines of geography, biology, and environmental education have provided some insights into potential strategies to maximise the quality of student learning in outdoor education fieldwork. The literature review has highlighted the need for more empirical research into the practical strategies for implementing student-centred learning activities in fieldwork that can provide transformational student learning. In particular the study will explore how the increased use of technology to enhance learning in the higher education sector may impact fieldwork pedagogies in the future. Are the days of going outdoors to do outdoor education numbered?

Little things, big differences: Strategies and techniques to get the most out of near miss and minor incidents for organizational learning. Brian Thoroman

Gratefully, significant and severe incidents are rare in the Outdoor Industry. When a tragedy does occur, a broad array of investigation strategies can be brought to bear to draw out lessons and meaning. However, in the day to day reality of field delivery, the majority of incidents are minor issues or near misses. This “big” dataset generally does not invoke a legislative or organizational demand for detailed analysis, if only because the sheer number of minor incidents and near miss events that are reported likely makes investigating any single incident cost-prohibitive. Providers are missing out on an opportunity, as these “little” events have much to offer organizations for improved delivery and risk management. This workshop provides simple-to-use and effective methods to extract useful themes and interventions from a vast array of incident data. Quality analysis, understanding, and countermeasure development is available to organizations of any size with a minimal investment of time and money. This engaging and interactive workshop covers keyword analysis of big datasets, theme development, and iterative interviews.

Lore, law the land and us: Considering power and positionality in relation to country. Dave Spillman

This practitioner’s workshop will work to explore different assumptions regarding the relationship between land (variously known as ‘country’, ‘the environment’, ‘Mother Earth’), human beings and all living things. The implications and impact of such assumptions on teaching and learning in educational settings will also be formatively considered. To enact this challenge, this workshop of conversations will draw upon the perspectives of two of NSW’s most senior Aboriginal Lore men, Uncle Paul Callaghan (Worimi) and Uncle Paul Gordon (Ngemba) (Callaghan, 2014), and the research findings from the Cross-Cultural Collaboration Project (CCCP) undertaken in the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training in 2008 (Spillman 2013). Participants will be introduced to and reflect upon a number of Indigenous conversational processes and perspectives, central to traditional Aboriginal life, to highlight a set of assumptions different to those of dominant western perspectives. The six L’s will be introduced – Lore, Love, Look, Listen, Learn, Lead, which ‘demonstrate the relevance of the wisdom of the Old People in our modern world’ (Callighan, 2014, p. 15). Focusing on Lore, conversational circles and strengths-based conversations such as Engoori (MurriMatters 2014) will be introduced and considered in terms of their underlying assumptions regarding power and positionality in relation to country, human beings and all living things.

Mapping the field of outdoor studies degrees in the UK and abroad: An exploratory study. Dave Hills

This exploratory study builds upon three pieces of research in OSD that have been published in the previous fifteen years. This includes a review of outdoor studies degrees in the UK (The ‘CAPEOS Project’ Humberstone, 2006), a model of the outdoor studies industry based on OSD (Martins et al. 2001) and an international review into the success factors of OSD (Potter et al. 2012). This paper extends the work of this literature and reviews the current position of OSD internationally as of January 2015. A mixed model of Content Analysis and Internet Based Research (IBR) was used combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Data was collected on 67 OSD from the three continents and seven countries of North America: USA and Canada, Oceania: Australia and New Zealand, Europe: Norway, Sweden and the UK. The results found a significant decrease in the number of OSD reported in the UK by Humberstone (2006) but supported a predicted curriculum shift to more practical and employability skills. Evidence for a new sector model from Martins et al. (2001) is suggested with the four key sectors of 1) Sport & Health, 2) Outdoor Education 3) Sustainability 4) Adventure Tourism and that expedition work, safety and risk management and psychology should be included as key connections. Further support was found for the mapping of Potter et al. (2013) supporting a greater tendency for European degrees to place a higher importance on spending time in the field with students and a greater need for interdisciplinary opportunities. The paper concludes that more collaboration of OSD internationally is needed and universities need to work to evolve the subject as opposed to the organisation. There is a need for further work to investigate the impact of new multi-country OSD.

More than people, equipment and environment: The design of a risk assessment method which considers hazards and risks throughout the led outdoor system. Clare Dallat

Inadequate risk assessment has been highlighted as a contributing factor in the deaths of participants on school outdoor education programs in Australia and internationally (White; 2014; Salmon et al, 2010; 2012). The current approach to risk assessment within this domain has traditionally focused on hazards and actors within the immediate context of the delivery of the activity; principally those associated with the ‘people, equipment and the environment’. This presentation will discuss the development of a new risk assessment method for the led outdoor activity context. The method, theoretically underpinned by a systems-based model and understanding of accident causation (Rasmussen, 1997), considers hazards and actors beyond those associated solely with the immediate context of the activity. This model of accident causation has been demonstrated to be appropriate for understanding the accidents that occur during led outdoor activities, although it has yet to be applied to the proactive identification of hazards and risks.

Mountain landscapes, ‘summit fever’ and story: The contribution of narrative identity to outdoor education. Brian Wattchow

Outdoor landscapes are interpreted and reflect the ideas, assumptions and desires we project upon them. Our outdoor experiences in these landscapes are “… in fact heir to a complex and largely invisible dynasty of feelings: we see through the eyes of innumerable and anonymous predecessors” (Macfarlane, 2003, p. 167). In this presentation I will be telling a personal and historical story about the cultural and narrative identity of climbers. The ‘climb’ is as much about the inner terrain of the climber’s psyche as it is of steep ice, rock and altitude. This story draws upon landscape artworks that include picturesque, Sublime, nationalistic and postmodern representations of climbing terrain. These ‘visions’ of mountain landscapes and climbing are deeply inscribed in our culture and influence outdoor education curriculum, programming and pedagogy.

Nature Play implications for outdoor education/outdoor recreation. Dom Courtney

We are in the middle of one of the greatest shifts to childhood in human history. In just one generation, childhood has changed from predominantly outdoors, independent, active, social, community orientated, all senses engaged to now largely indoors, sedentary, technologically immersed, risk adverse and fearful. This is a global phenomenon effecting most modernised families. These changes are effecting our children’s overall wellbeing and are now a source of great concern for families, carers, educators, State and Local Governments. The decline in children participating in unstructured outdoor play mirrors declines/changes in Outdoor Education/Recreation over the past decade. There are direct correlations between level of readiness of middle to late childhood OE/OR participants and the decline of nature play throughout early childhood. OE/OR has a major role to play in ensuring life-long participation/connection with natural environments and during this session we will be exploring how Nature Play and OE/OR can support each other’s mission as we continue the journey towards renormalising outdoor play for future generations of children.

Near-peer teaching: Innovations in fieldwork pedagogy. Lucas Bester, Gregg Muller, Brendon Munge

Near-peer teaching is used extensively in higher education for its efficacy in learning for both student learners and student teachers. A number of papers review its use in the higher education sector, mainly focusing on health and medical education, however there is little examination of the practice in outdoor education fieldwork. Using qualitative methods we examine the initial experience of near-peer teaching where third year students teach first year students in the field during La Trobe University’s extensive and integrated Outdoor and Environmental Education program. Both sets of students value the experience highly, for both its explicit outdoor education content, and the role it plays in inducting the newly enrolled first years into the community of practice, and more specifically into the culture of the department. We draw out the distinct elements that make La Trobe University’s unique program successful and discuss the limitations that near-peer teaching presents.

OOSH in the Bush: Evaluating the impact of wild play upon children. Sam Crosby, Tonia Gray Available Now

Over the last 30 years there has been increasing evidence that play in ‘natural environments’ has a multitude of benefits. These include the development of social skills, language and comprehension, physical activity, improved physical and mental health and environmental learning. Although these benefits are well known, Australia has one of the lowest rates of children playing outdoors. Nature Play WA claim that Australian children actually spend less time outdoors than its prison population. With a crowded school curriculum and societal barriers (parental fear, lack of provision, time poor) the ability for Australian children to be able to get out and play is diminishing. Another approach was needed. ‘OOSH in the Bush’ is an Australian pilot program delivered at Centennial Parklands and the Australian Botanic gardens in Sydney, from their ‘Bush classrooms’. Aiming to get children in who attend an afterschool or school holiday play service or as it is called in Australia; Out of Hours School Care (OOSH), children from ten OOSH provisions attended ten hours of nature play programming delivered by the park’s Education Ranger team. This paper will showcase the evaluation findings of a 2014 study conducted with a grant form the Ian Potter Foundation.

View or download presentation here

Outdoor Education at Hutchins: Building Good Men through challenge, adventure, growth and celebration

View or download presentation here:

Outdoor education programming: Working with ways of being, doing and knowing. John Quay

Outdoor education programming generally revolves around organising times for activities for groups of participants across a number of days. Our planning discussions are often very logistical, which is of course necessary. An educational problem exists, however, if our discussions start and end with logistics. Instinctively we know that there are educational ramifications inherent to the logistical decisions we make. But how do we comprehend these? In this session I shall ‘unpack’ an outdoor education programme using ‘ways of being’ to guide me. Ways of being help in this regard because they point to how the ways we do things cannot be separated from who we are and the meaning of the world around us. Activities are practices which I shall call ‘ways of doing’. Importantly ways of doing are the basis for how we know things, their meaning, they are then ‘ways of knowing’. And they are also the ways of being that participants will experience, while not always referring to them as such. Being-a-bushwalker, being-a-tent-partner are some examples, showing that ways of being, doing and knowing are all related. They can help us to better comprehend the educational aspects of our programming decisions.

Outdoor journeys: A place-based, cross-curricular pedagogy. Simon Beames

Seven years ago, the Outdoor Journeys approach to learning outside the classroom was developed at the University of Edinburgh. Outdoor Journeys (OJs) was created in response to teachers’ concerns that outdoor education was too expensive and risky, that it required technical training, and that it was disruptive to the timetable. OJs also addresses critical academic concerns about outdoor education programs that ignore place and whose one-size-fits-all recipes are overly orchestrated by instructors. Since its inception, empirical studies and guidance documents on OJs have been written, over 1500 educators have attended an introductory training session, and it is being used in several countries. This mostly active session will work through a straight-forward, three-step framework for delivering regular, low-cost, cross-curricular outdoor learning within the school grounds, on day trips, or on expedition. More information is available at

Practical tips for conducting research in the outdoors. Ian Williams, Lauren Rose

There is increasing expectation that providers of outdoor programs can demonstrate that their camps and outdoor programs are effective. Did participants benefit from the camp? In what ways? How enduring were any benefits? With growing calls for evidence-based practice, many organisations are looking for ways to document the benefits of their programs. However, conducting research in the outdoors is full of challenges: What kind of research methods work best? How do you select quality survey questions? Are quantitative or qualitative approaches better? How do you make sense of the data you collect? Presented by leading researchers from the Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA), this interactive workshop will introduce you to basic research principles, methods and practices. We will explore three key elements of effective research:
i) How to develop a suitable research question
ii) Choosing an appropriate research method (e.g. quantitative vs qualitative)
iii) When and how to collect data (e.g. before and after camp; paper-based vs online)
We will draw on real-world examples from our own research to demonstrate concepts and their application. We will also highlight some of the common pitfalls of undertaking research in the outdoors, and how to avoid them.

Public sphere action in tourism/outdoor education and mining conflicts: A case of successful sustainable tourism/outdoor education business protest in Australia. Rob Hales, Innis Larkin

This study examines the conflict between a local community, which includes a sustainable tourism venture and a coal seam gas mining proposal in an area of high scenic amenity in Australia. The case study is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it signifies the increased pressures of global environmental change on the places and communities in which sustainable tourism is situated. Secondly, the study examines the role of a tourism operator as the principal organiser of the community protest to demonstrate the political and business opportunities for sustainable tourism operators to engage with public sphere action. An autoethnographic method is used to examine the ways in which both authors engaged in the effective use of the public sphere to further sustainability and sustainable tourism agendas. Lessons from the engagement are provided and inform future conflict resolution through public sphere action on the issue of sustainable tourism and mining. The paper concludes that sustainable tourism businesses can be effective in public sphere campaigns because of tourism’s social relationships within communities and because businesses can engage in public sphere action with no financial loss resulting from such engagement.

Retrieval of Additional Epinephrine From Auto-Injectors. Adam Kershaw

Anaphylaxis is a challenging condition for any austere outdoor environment. It is unpredictable, has sudden onset and a high fatality rate, and is responsive only to epinephrine, a prescription medication. The Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) has formally recommended that non-medical providers working in austere environments be trained to administer epinephrine, and the Australian Resuscitation Council recommends the use of Auto-injectors in the treatment of Anaphylaxis. Within Australia medical providers prescribe auto- injectors for this purpose due to their ease of use by nonmedical providers., however, auto-injectors have limitation in the wilderness environment, particularly due to their single-dose design. 25% to 35% of anaphylaxis victims may require a second dose. This may occur within minutes of the first dose, or may occur hours later as part of a biphasic presentation of anaphylaxis. The WMS has released a paper detailing how to retrieve and administer additional Epinephrine from an Auto–injector in an austere environment with the onset of Life treating Anaphylaxis. Survive First Aid would like to present this paper and practically demonstrate the process.

Selective hearing: The unrecognised contribution of women to the outdoor profession. Tonia Gray, Sandy Allen-Craig, Cathryn Carpenter Available Now

The role, place and often invisible contribution of women in the outdoor learning profession has recently come under the researcher’s microscope. Alarmingly, there is an under representation of women cited in research and practice, yet they represent half the OE population. A male dominated narrative prevails in the outdoor profession; the intention of this paper is to serve as a starting point for critical analysis and discourse about the status of women in outdoor learning environments (OLEs). Women have chosen to participate actively in outdoors careers, believing the profession was a level playing field and it offered alternatives to traditional sporting activities. We entered careers based on a passion for leading and teaching in natural environments; however, we naively assumed the field was inclusive, rewarding excellence regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status, disability or ethnicity.

Collective experiences of many women in OLEs suggest they feel relegated, marginalized and undervalued. This paper will investigate the historical contribution of women in OLEs within Australia and place this within the global context. Parallels with other professions and sectors will be examined where tests such as the Bechdel, Finkbeiner or Surfette Principle have been applied to examine the gender inequities and typecasting.

The workshop will conclude by exploring how our professional body may move forward positively in this space:
• How do we value women in Outdoor Learning Environments?
• How do we address existing blind spots to recognition and barriers, which females may currently experience in the field?
• How do we celebrate the role, place and contribution of women in our profession?

View or download presentation here

‘Sowing and growing’ life skills through garden-based learning to re-engage disengaged youth. Son Truong, Tonia Gray, Kumara Ward Available Now

The importance of connection to nature for health and wellbeing, and educational outcomes is firmly supported by evidence-based research. In particular, there is an emerging body of literature that explores the impact of garden-based learning (GBL) on student engagement and outcomes. GBL has been found to have a positive impact on academic outcomes across the curriculum, and improve attitudes towards gardening, the environment, and nutrition. In this presentation we will examine a case study conducted in partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust’s Youth Community Greening project to pilot a GBL program with disengaged students in South West Sydney. This unique innovative project involved collaboration between researchers, school teachers, GBL educators, and a small group of students. The students actively participated in the design, building, planting, and harvesting phases of the school garden. Data collection included participant observations, in-situ discussions, and semi-structured interviews with the educators. Preliminary analysis of the students’ and educators’ experiences in the GBL program and implications for curriculum and pedagogy will be discussed. We also seek to stimulate critical discussion on the development of GBL programs for students, especially in at-risk or disengaged contexts, and will examine the next stages of this research.

View or download presentation here

Sustainability Mandala: Sustainability can simply mean enough for all forever. Cam Mackenzie

My presentation will be in two parts. Firstly I will describe what I have called a Sustainability Mandala as an overarching framework of the drivers for achieving a sustainable society. The second part of my presentation will be examples of the elements of the Sustainability Mandala drivers through programs, policies and projects at the national level across Australia and in particular in the state of Queensland.

Sustainability has many definitions and interpretations, however to me it can simply mean … enough for all forever through caring for self, others and the place. The complexities of sustainability can be explained best by drawing a picture, a Sustainability Mandala. Literature describes three pillars or dimensions of sustainability i.e. social, economic and environmental. I believe there are four drivers for sustainability; Incentives (carrot), Regulations (stick), Technology (hardware) and Education (software). Hence environmental education for sustainability is only one part, albeit often forgotten component, of the process to creating an environmentally sustainable, socially just and peaceful world. Incentives (carrot) include grants and rebates for sustainability items; retained financial savings; recognition through awards and improved student/adult engagement and learning outcomes. Regulations (stick) include legislations and restrictions, setting policies, developing strategic plans with goals and targets for sustainability achievements.

Technology (hardware) relate to the use of ‘Green’ technology and retrofitting, Green building designs and sustainable choices for transport, energy efficiency, water conservation and waste minimisation and biodiversity improvement. Education (software) processes through the development of behaviour change curriculum resources, professional development and training, transformative pedagogy and systems thinking. The systems thinking aspects of sustainability mandala should include a strong governance structure through establishing product and positive partnerships, alliances and networks across all three sectors of society i.e. government, community and business and must be based on ethical values and principles for sustainability i.e. the Earth Charter. A common and agreed positive vision of sustainability is central to achieving successful outcomes. The operational aspects of the sustainability mandala then follow the traditional strategic planning process of plan, do, review and renew with a specific focus on measurable sustainability outcomes across the three pillars plus education.

The benefits of using online registration system for school camps. Simon Wilson

In this session Simon will discuss the reasoning behind Wilderness Escape’s move from using paper consent and medical forms to a custom-made online registration system. There are great benefits to the use of online registration, including the ability to give parents and participants detailed information about programs, locations and activities – which in turn allows for well-informed parental consent. There are however numerous hurdles which need to be overcome in order for the system to work successfully, be user friendly and satisfy multiple legal requirements relating to issues like privacy and the secure storage of confidential client information. Simon as well as discussing the pros and cons of online registration will also look at Wilderness Escapes experience of creating and implementing their system.

The design, impact and outcomes of experiential pedagogies on the formative and summative assessment outcomes for students within the Australian Curriculum model. Adam Wood, Glyn Thomas Available Now

In the Australian National Curriculum, subject areas such as Geography, Science and Health and Physical Education utilise in-depth, practical studies. The breadth of curriculum foci in these subject areas is demanding, and it is in unclear how much value teachers and school leaders apportion to practical-based excursions, incursions and/or field trips. It is also not known how well cross-curricular content, like outdoor education and sustainability, is integrated into schools’ academic curricula. In this session, we will present the findings of a literature review for an ongoing doctoral study that explores: how educational institutions are teaching subject areas with practical elements, how they incorporate cross-curricular content and culture-change initiatives, and how teachers adjust their pedagogies to achieve student learning in these areas. We will also discuss our findings from the literature review investigating how the development of student’s practical knowledge and outcomes through “hands on” experiential learning activities impacts their overall academic learning outcomes. With limited mention of outdoor education in the health and physical education Australian Curriculum framework it is hoped that our study will enhance educators’ understanding of how experiential, outdoor learning can make a meaningful contribution to academic student learning outcomes.

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The importance of engaging and relating with students throughout an outdoor education experience with a large emphasis on day one. Tom Robb

This session will focus on the benefits of engaging individually and collectively with students on an outdoor education program with a large emphasis on day one. It will also include the importance of communication and delivery, a passion for teaching, and above all else, the potential positive group outcomes that will arise if these tools are utilised correctly. As guides I believe that learning from others is one of best ways to grow and further our own teaching. It is because of this that I encourage those attending this presentation to treat it as an open forum as well. All questions and ideas would be much appreciated because as we know, there’s more then one way to skin a cat.

The Round Table: Insights into the risk management journey of an outdoor education centre. Mark Brackenreg

Reference to the Round Table isn’t derived from a delusional fantasy in which we vision ourselves as the outdoor educators equivalent of knights in shining armour! A recent safety audit highlighted the importance of our Round Table – where staff discussion and collaboration often takes place. This presentation will highlight some developments on the journey of the Colo Outdoor Education Centre as our risk management process has evolved over time. Clearly risk management is an ongoing process, not an end product. It is a living process and should never be “a document written by someone sitting in an office”. Case studies will demonstrate how we use incident data, our incident review process, and changes we have implemented to reduce accidents. Having been involved with the UPLOADS project from its inception, we will attempt to give our insights into collaborative accident analysis. More broadly we will explore our approach to embedding risk management processes into all aspects of the program, our attempts to establish open and honest review without blame or defensiveness and to establish a culture of ownership by all outdoor education staff.

Transfer of learning: Are we making a difference? Geoff Adams Available Now

Our outdoor education programs mostly occur outside the classroom, far removed from daily life. Does the learning from these programs transfer back to the participant’s everyday contexts? Join us as we continue the discussion on transfer of learning, exploring results from research of a journey based program. Most outdoor education in Australia occurs in a context that is external to the participant’s regular setting (Martin, 1999). Experiences are usually held in remote locations for short periods, with the learner then returning to continue with their traditional learning back in the classroom. Any links between the two learning environments are not always drawn out or identified by the learners or educators (Brown, 2010). The links between these experiences and knowledge gained can be explored through the concept of ‘transfer of learning’. Leberman and Martin (2004) explored the importance of time in enhancing participant reflection, and therefore transfer of learning. They “argue that with increased time and space away from the course deeper reflection can be facilitated, which may enhance transfer of learning” (Leberman & Martin, 2004, p. 174). This paper will explore results of research conducted using a journey based program. The research asks whether participants report changes in learning over an extended time period – ie. Does learning change if there is more time given for the participants to process their experience?

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UPLOADS: Applying systems thinking to understand and prevent injury during led outdoor activities. Paul Salmon, Natassia Goode , Caroline Finch

In Australia and worldwide led outdoor activity sectors experience adverse events that can cause injury, and in the worst cases, multiple fatalities. A known requirement for successful injury prevention is the ability to collect, analyze and disseminate appropriate data on injury and near miss incidents. Since 2011, the led outdoor activity sector in Australia has been engaged in a major program of research to address the lack of good quality data available on the frequency and causation of incidents associated with led outdoor activities ( The goal was to use state of the art accident causation theory and methods to develop a software tool to support organizations in collecting and analyzing their own incident and participation data and in turn contribute the data to a National Incident Dataset that is regularly analyzed and reported on. The ultimate goal was for the sector to use the system to better understand the risks it faces and take appropriate action. Accordingly, UPLOADS (Understanding and Preventing Led Outdoor Accidents Database) was developed and has recently been implemented as part of a 12 month national trial. This presentation gives an overview of UPLOADS and of the studies that were conducted during its development, testing and validation. It culminates with presentation of the findings from the 12 month national trial involving over 40 led outdoor activity providers, showing the system wide contributory factors involved in over 500 injury, illness, and near miss incidents.

What can outdoor education learn from adventure therapy to deliver better programs? Graham Pringle Available Now

What can Outdoor Education (OE) learn from Adventure Therapy (AT)? Through adventure OE improves student’s world view and develops healthier ways of operating and is often described as personal development. AT is an emerging field of psycho-social therapy and appears to have wide and novel application particularly with regard to adolescent populations who are often difficult to engage in treatment. Psychotherapy and drug treatment are no longer regarded as the only, or even best, treatment for mental health concerns. OE can meet this need, in concert with AT, and provide opportunities for very early intervention and prevention with little modification to practice. This session outlines what OE can learn from AT to deliver better programs and, perhaps, contribute to health outcomes.

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When a university degree is not enough. Glyn Thomas, Scott Polley, Peter Martin

University programs have been preparing outdoor education leaders and teachers for over 40 years, and there are 13 universities across Australia currently offering such programs. These programs have evolved in response to the needs of state-based education systems and consequently there is not a strong national consensus on essential curriculum foci and the threshold learning capabilities of graduates. Within the outdoor recreation sector, the SIS10 – Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package has been developed and is used predominantly within the VET sector to train and assess outdoor recreation leaders. In 2003, The Outdoor Council of Australia developed the National Outdoor Leadership Registration Scheme (NOLRS) to provide a nationally portable endorsement of outdoor leaders’ current skills, knowledge and experience. The NOLRS is meant to be a voluntary registration scheme for outdoor leaders and was not established to describe the skills, knowledge and experience that a person needs to teach outdoor education within the school sector. However, some organisations and states have adopted the NOLRS as the benchmark for both outdoor recreation and outdoor education practice. Consequently, university graduates are sometimes required to undertake additional training and assessments to obtain outdoor recreation units of competence from the SIS10 training package. This can represent an additional economic burden to graduating students where there may not be any additional learning. University program leaders are partly responsible for allowing such a situation to emerge. This session will suggest a way forward for this group to identify national threshold standards for university graduates to safely conduct outdoor activities within outdoor education programs and deliver broad learning outcomes.