NOEC 2018 in Tasmania — Proceedings

The 2018 biennial National Outdoor Education Conference was held in Hobart from April 9-12 and warmly hosted by Outdoor Education Tasmania.

The theme of the 2018 NOEC conference was “Wisdom of the Past – Exploring the Future.

Delegates were invited to examine and engage with historical foundations of long-held traditions of outdoor education, such as nature, risk, adventure, skill development and social and interpersonal development. More contemporary constructs of outdoor education were also covered including local place-based education, environmental education, sustainability education and social justice.

Conference Program

Click on the linked copy for a full conference program and for the Speaker Abstracts.

Unfortunately, not all speakers have provided public copies of their presentations. Those who have are listed below with links through to their presentation.

Keynote Presenters

A Critique of Forest Schools: Something Lost in Translation. Mark Leather, Plymouth Marjon University, UK. Available Now

Download or view Mark’s presentation

Mark Leather’s keynote will ask some important and, at times, hard and unsettling questions about Forest Schools in the United Kingdom (UK).  These questions are timely given the growing number of Forest Schools in Australia. To begin his talk, Mark will explain how Forest Schools came to the UK primarily from Scandinavia, where early years education conducted in the outdoors is a widely accepted practice. In its move to the UK, however, Mark believes that three major issues have arisen.

The first concerns how Forest School as a form of outdoor education is culturally, socially, and historically situated. This suggests that its adoption in the UK (and therefore Australia) must navigate cultural differences, acknowledging that Forest School is a social construction. Secondly, Mark will argue that the pedagogy of Forest School, relevant as it is to early years education, is undertheorised in the outdoor education literature. This especially relates to considerations of play as a central tenet of Forest School pedagogy. Thirdly, Mark will explore how the expansion of Forest School in the UK (and possibly Australia) has taken a particularly corporate turn, resulting in a rapid institutionalisation and commodification of Forest School practices. He will argue for a need to situate claims made for and about Forest School in well-designed and conducted research to substantiate what can degenerate into market-based promotion.

Mark will conclude his talk with acknowledgement of some of the very positive contributions Forest School is making to the development of contemporary practices of outdoor and environmental education. Mark’s keynote is offered in the spirit of engaging in robust discussion and debate around Forest School in order to ensure that the difficulties are addressed and the positive contributions continue in the UK and Australia.

A Sense of Hope: How and Why Outdoor Educators Need to Develop their Cultural and Social Justice Competencies. Dr Mary Breunig, Brock University, Canada. Available Now

Workshop Presenters

Celebrating our Past, Harnessing our Future as a Collective Voice: Exploring feminism for men and women in Outdoor Education. A/Prof. Tonia Gray, Sandy Allen-Craig, Dr Cathryn Carpenter, Dr Val Nicholls. Available Now

At the 17th NOEC in 2016 Sandy, Cathryn and Tonia challenged the long held assumption that the OE profession was a level playing field in a presentation entitled: Selective Hearing: The Unrecognized Contribution of Women to the Outdoor Profession.

The audience indicated a strong desire for further opportunities to explore contribute and reflect on the issue in greater depth.

Using a number of creative approaches, we will enable a reflective, restorative and story gathering opportunity for the voices of the men and women. In short, we aim to ensure the Outdoor Education (OE) profession continues to have a healthy dialogue in this space, whilst also working towards pathways for gender parity.

This workshop will be using creative approaches to eliciting personal narratives in response to the stimulus questions:

• What was a defining moment in your life, related to gender?
• What does gender in OE mean to practitioners in the field?
• When was the first time you understood how your gender would affect your career longevity in OE?

If possible we ask participants to bring four photos to the session that captures the essence of our stimulus questions. The presenters will have alternate creative stimulus available for those in the audience who don’t have photos.

Following up on that lively discussion and the ensuring the field continues to have a healthy dialogue in this space, we suggest to progress the OE profession in a number of key ways.

Undoubtedly, men need to be part of this discussion and help shape future directions. We are mindful of this impending challenge and will create a ‘safe space’ for both genders to participate freely and openly.

• The issue or problem under consideration

As a direct outcome of the challenge that; the OE profession was not as inclusive, democratic and egalitarian as it appears; Gray (2016) created a tangible list of threats that women face in OE profession and proposed that Feminism is not just a woman’s issue. We will highlight the willingness of men in OE profession to engage and respond to this contemporary debate as well as address positive outcomes already emerging from the identification of threats and misconceptions within this space.

The contemporary landscape: What have we done and written about in the time that has elapsed between 17th and 18th NOEC?

In short, a tsunami has been happening behind the scenes and we wish to harness our momentum with like-minded professionals, both men and women.

Gray, T. (2016). The ‘F’ word: Feminism in outdoor education. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 19(2), 25-41.

Mitten, D., Gray, T., Allen-Craig, S., Loeffler, T.A., & Carpenter, C. (in press). The invisibility cloak: Women’s contribution to outdoor and environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education.

Gray, T., Mitten, D., Loeffler, T.A., Allen-Craig, S., & Carpenter, C. (accepted 2018). Defining Moments: An examination of the gender divide in women’s contribution to outdoor education. Research in Outdoor Education, Special Edition

Gray, T., & Mitten, D. (in press). The Palgrave Macmillan International handbook of women in outdoor learning. London, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gray, T., Allen-Craig, S., & Carpenter, C. (2017). Selective hearing: The unrecognised contribution of women to the outdoor profession. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education. 20(1). 25-34.

Gray, T., Mitten, D., Loeffler, T. A., Allen-Craig, S., & Carpenter, C. (2016). Defining moments: Women’s contribution to outdoor education leadership and an examination of the gender divide. Paper presented at The 7th International, Outdoor Education Research Conference, Nova Scotia, Canada, 4-8 July (pp. 45-46).

• The implications

Exploring Ways forward:

Alignment of past experiences of all workshop presenters helps shape the female narratives to be presented in this workshop. Social inequalities and blind-spots still abound in the profession and we will attempt to illuminate the ongoing issues. The task of the presentation is to elevate our contributions as well as galvanize the work that needs to be done to make these spaces inclusive.

We anticipate that creative strategies will generate insightful reflection from both male and female participants and foster consideration of topics such as gendered language on OE, potential bias and impacts within curriculum v pedagogy; quantitative v qualitative research approaches.

Tonia Gray Ph. D. is a Senior Researcher at Centre for Educational Research WSU and Chair of the Australian Tertiary Educator Network (ATOEN). She has been involved in OE for 35+ years as a practitioner, researcher and curriculum developer. In 2014 she received the prestigious Australian Award for Excellence in
University Teaching for her work in OE. Tonia is an associate editor for JOEE, past editor of the AJOE and
on the review panel for JEE and JAEOL.

Sandy Allen-Craig is the National Coordinator for the Outdoor Leadership and Outdoor Education and is responsible for the curriculum development and program delivery of Outdoor Leadership units across the multi campuses of the Australian Catholic University. She has been awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation, for outstanding contribution to student learning.

Cathryn Carpenter Ph.D. is currently an independent scholar and past senior lecturer in youth studies at Victoria
University. Cathryn has also contributed to the outdoor profession for 30+ years as an instructor, a teacher and curriculum developer in both secondary and tertiary institutions, and through research. For the past ten years she has been actively involved in the development and articulation of Adventure Therapy nationally and internationally.

View or download presentation here.

Educational Renaissance 2.0. Mr David Gregory. Available Now

How the core principles of outdoor education are vital to the modernisation and success of mainstream education for generations to come.

As our world faces massive technological and social changes, education has reached a pivotal juncture. Our current education system remains shackled by the ‘satanic mills’ of our distant industrial past. Just as the Industrial Revolution influenced a massive shift in education, we’re now at a point in which another dimensional shift is taking place. Our schools can either embrace it, or be scattered to the wind by it.

The Industrial Revolution style of chalk, talk and exhaustive content has lost its impact in a world full of devices that can answer any question instantly. With our world changing rapidly from one year to the next, jobs coming and going more quickly than ever before, we need to facilitate innovative and effective ways in which students develop an adaptable skill set that’s needed to not only survive, but thrive in this new world.

Through examining and effectively applying the educational philosophies of Dewey & Hahn, we can plot a positive way forward and modernise our antiquated education system. Consequently, outdoor education has a vitally important role to play as one of the primary drivers in the modernisation of mainstream education.

Throughout the presentation, I’ll explore the connection between outdoor education, effective integration techniques and the importance these play in the STEM focussed world of school education. I will demonstrate how it can be applied to reshape education, ensuring our students develop the core skills they need, to be adaptable and resilient in the ever-changing, tech-focussed world in which we now live.

David Gregory has been an outdoor educator for over 16 years and has worked throughout Australia and internationally as an instructor, teacher and program director. David has developed and run residential outdoor programs for secondary schools and consulted on operational and risk management practices. David’s work has been strongly influenced by the need to provide great educational opportunities for students to develop and grow personally and academically through experiential education.

From a 5th grader’s first overnight camp to immersive 6 month long residential programs, David’s worked with a diverse range of students at Scots College (Glengarry), Kinross Wolaroi, Xavier College (Kew), Snowy Mountains Grammar, SCECGS Redlands and Trinity Grammar School (Sydney). The core philosophy behind his continued work is how positive social and emotional development needs to be effectively integrated as part of an overall education program to improve student engagement and well-being.

Author and keen educational blogger, David’s published two books, one on bullying in schools and one on outdoor education and writes weekly on all sorts of experiential education topics. See:

David’s personal interests include hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, snow skiing, tennis and reading.

View or download presentation here.

Education or Entertainment - The 4 Cs of Outdoor Experiential Learning. Mr Peter Smith. Available Now

Observations during my career teaching outdoor education have led me to believe that quality outdoor education relies on the four Cs. Remove challenge,community, consistency or continuity from your program and you essentially remove the education from experiential learning outdoors. You may as well just pay for students to stay at the Big 4 Caravan Park. Do you want integrity in your program or mindless entertainment value?

This presentation will reveal how Challenge, Connectedness, Consistency and Continuity are critical to quality experiential learning occurring in outdoor education. Specific examples will be evidenced of outdoor education programming in which these four elements have been implemented to result in highly developed learnings for students. As a proponent of this teaching methodology I will also draw on personal teaching experiences to highlight successes incorporating the 4 Cs. Students taught using this methodology have highly developed relationships with self, others and the natural environment.

Intrigue abounds – Come learn about the 4 Cs.

Peter Smith has spent his life teaching and inspiring people through facilitating outdoor education programs. His personal philosophy on teaching students outside can be best summarised in the following statement delivered at a staff training prior to Year 9 Journey 2016 (Trinity Anglican School ). “When instructing in the outdoors, keep it simple. Initially, simply ask for respect for self, others and the environment. Then bring the complexity in when they grasp the meaning of commitment, exhaustion, pain, suffering, joy, loss, disappointment, patience, power, fear and triumph. The outdoors is an unsurpassed environment to undertake this essential education. People are placed in situations regularly where they are taking real responsibility and often able to observe the consequence of their actions. All that is required by a good facilitator is to cloak the whole thing with meaning.”

When not teaching students outdoors Peter passes time telemark skiing and paddling canoes and kayaks hopefully on whitewater.

View or download presentation here.

Exploring Opportunities for Outdoor Education to Contribute to a More Socially Just World. Ms Mary Breunig. Available Now

This highly interactive three hour workshop will focus on social justice competency through theoretical and experiential engagement. Participants will delve into the theory behind the concepts of cultural and social justice competencies, expanding their personal knowledge relevant to these ideals. The theory will be complemented by experiential activities to better enhance our conceptual understandings. Together we will explore our own positionality, privileges, and biases. We will also focus on how to employ this knowledge in our classroom and leadership praxes. We will consider how to integrate social justice competency into the secondary curriculum, into activity planning, and as in-situ “teachable moments” whilst engaged in outdoor/field activities.

The workshop objectives are threefold:

  1. To further develop individuals’ understandings
  2. To further enhance our teaching praxis relevant to these topics
  3. To consider how to assess and evaluate this competency (with a particular view toward the Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards & Certification)

Dr. Mary Breunig hails from Canada and her interactive workshop (as well as her keynote address) draws on her extensive practice and research on cultural competency.  Mary will help us understand what social justice cultural competency is and the ways in which outdoor educators can further develop cultural competency through intentional exploration of attitudes, awareness, knowledge and skills. 

View or download presentation here.

Integrating outdoor education, English and a whole lot of opportunity. Mr Ian Neville. Available Now

Outdoor Education can mean different things to different people, and the benefits can be wide and varied. With the introduction some years ago of the Australian Curriculum, of which outdoor education has not been included, there are still many benefits to incorporating outdoor education into an integrated curriculum. Perhaps our exclusion, is our greatest opportunity.

The aim of my study was to investigate the effect of integrating an outdoor education pedagogy into an English unit of work, and to determine the impacts of such an intervention on student learning.

I will discuss how outdoor education was integrated into a middle years English program with a focus on students’ creative writing. While on a hike in the Otways, students were required to select one of five scenarios in which to write their creative story. Once they reached ‘The Canyon’, the students were positioned independently and asked to completed a five senses writers grid before beginning their story. The following few weeks provided time to restructure their stories back in the classroom. At the conclusion of the task students were asked to complete an ‘Exit Card’ to gain insight into their perspective of the program.

This research questions who the teacher really is. Students learnt through their experience, which was shaped by the outdoor environment, other pupils, and the teachers. This study provides an example of how outdoor educators can take a leading role in structuring curriculum, integrating one or more subject areas and leading the way towards innovative 21st Century learning.

Ian is a passionate outdoor education teacher and has contributed to the outdoor profession for 11 years. He is currently completing a Masters of Education looking into integrating an outdoor education pedagogy model and its affects on students creative writing in English. He believes in providing students with an educative experience through the outdoors and the integration of multiple subjects as a means in which the profession can grow students in their cognitive, social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

View or download presentation here.

Navigating in the Field - a simple acronym for teaching students. Mr Mark Oates. Available Now

Looking for simple ideas on how to teach secondary students to navigate off-track?

Mark will provide a quick overview of a simple acronym that he encourages his Year 10 students to use as a helpful checklist when navigating from one point to another with a topographic map and orienteering compass.

The acronym is O COMPASS and it provides students with 8 simple steps that they should complete in order to ensure that they have all of the information they need to proceed from one known point to another.

Mark Oates is a passionate outdoor educator and adventurer who moved to Tasmania 8 years ago from Victoria to explore its remote rivers and mountains. Mark works at The Hutchins School in Hobart and is heavily involved in teaching the Power of 9 Program and the TASC Outdoor Education course to senior students. He has been teaching outdoor education in secondary schools for 20 years.

View or download presentation here.

Old Wisdom, Wellbeing, and Outdoor Ed. How does the Timbertop Programme boost wellbeing and what can we learn from this? Miss Catherine Lamb. Available Now

The Timbertop campus of Geelong Grammar School has grown fairly organically since 1952. It is a unique, year-long residential outdoor educational experience. The ‘wisdom of the past’ was that time in the outdoors, working hard with friends and overcoming physical challenge were beneficial to a person’s character and happiness.

The 2014 Geelong Grammar School Research Report, compiled by Melbourne University, shows differences between the ‘Timbertop experience’ of well-being growth and that of the senior year levels at the Corio Campus. Throughout the GGS Research Report wellbeing benefits are ascribed to “the Timbertop program”, rather than the ‘Positive Education Program’. The improvements in Year 9 GGS students were extensive when compared with the control group. No substantial improvement was observed during the year for the Year 10 and 11 GGS students, implying that there are elements unique to Timbertop which facilitate this change. Satisfaction with Life and Mental Wellbeing increased for the Timbertop students and decreased for the control over the time period. Conversely, Depression, Anxiety and Stress all increased for the control group and decreased for the Timbertop Students. The GGSRR focused mostly on the results of implementation of a Positive Education Programme (PEP) within the school, and it was outside the scope of the paper to establish other correlations.

I am completing a Masters thesis this semester which will re-examine this data and draw out the most effective elements of the programme for increasing student wellbeing. My intention is to show explicit links between outdoor learning and student wellbeing.


Catherine (Cat) is an experienced Outdoor Educator, currently completing a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and working as a trainer in Positive Education. She is passionate about exploring links between the science of wellbeing and outdoor education, which she thinks of as the practice of wellbeing. She has lectured and lead trips at both LaTrobe and Federation Universities.

View or download presentation here.

Outdoor Education Scope and Sequence – A case study of application in a non centre-based, K-12 school. Mr Darren Osmond & Ms Emma Beveridge. Available Now

Trinity Anglican School is a K-12 independent school in Cairns with a well-developed outdoor education program spanning years 2-12. The detailed outdoor education scope and sequence in place informs the design, delivery and future development of its many and varied programs in a range of outdoor environments. Along with an investigation of the scope and sequence itself, several components will be examined in detail, including a student reflection journal tool, program front-loading and pre-briefing techniques, learning transfer and program de-briefing. Examples of cross-curricular practices will also be discussed, including key linkages with hospitality and geography in particular.

Having a non centre-based outdoor education program gives ultimate flexibility to make programs fit the scope and sequence, not vice versa. The diversity of the Tropical North Queensland environment and culture adds more interesting dimensions to potential learning opportunities. At Trinity Anglican School all staff attend outdoor programs with their classes, providing a great opportunity for learning transfer back into regular school life, especially in primary programs. In secondary programs some pre-and post-program facilitation is done using a flipped classroom approach, through the use of Stile interactive online learning.

Darren Osmond and Emma Beveridge are the full time staff members of the Trinity Anglican School Outdoor Education Department. Darren has lived in Cairns for 20 years after completing postgraduate outdoor education studies in Brisbane. He has worked in a range of outdoor settings, including delivery of the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation at Cairns TAFE. Darren’s passion revolves around navigation sports and he enjoys mentoring students through the challenges of learning to navigate cross country. Darren has worked at TAS for 12 years, with roles including Director of Outdoor Education and Director of Sport and Activities, Duke of Edinburgh and World Challenge Coordinator.

Emma Beveridge joined the outdoor education team at TAS only last year, having come through tertiary studies at La Trobe, Bendigo and working in range of outdoor education environments in Victoria. Emma is a keen cyclist and has enjoyed the introduction of more mountain biking activities at TAS, as part of the outdoor education program. She is heavily involved in the outdoor education curriculum at the School and looks to facilitate cross-curricular linkages wherever possible.

View or download presentation here.

Safety regulation: perception, intention, and practice. Mr Tony Carden. Available Now

The experience and wisdom of practitioners have informed the development of various systems that seek to regulate safety in led outdoor activities. These systems include adventure activity standards, education department guidelines, operator licensing, instructor registration, and camp and activity accreditation. Interviews with field staff, supervisors and managers across a range of outdoor activity provider types in Victoria revealed a wide range of understanding of these regulatory mechanisms and how they relate to practice. In turn, these understandings were found to be at variance with the stated aims, advice and requirements of the regulatory systems. Furthermore, incongruity was found between the requirements of different regulatory instruments for the same activities. Has reductionist thinking limited the effectiveness and efficiency of attempts to regulate and manage safety in the outdoors? Would a more integrated approach be better? Is a more holistic approach possible? This presentation will explore how the analysis of accumulated wisdom from within and without the led outdoor activity sector can inform the improvement of safety regulation into the future.

Tony Carden began working in led outdoor activities in 1993. Starting as an assistant in youth-at-risk and corporate outdoor training programs, he went on to work as a commercial raft guide and free-lance group leader. In 1997, Tony started work at the Outdoor Education Group. Following a decade working at OEG as a School Manager, Group Leader, Course Coordinator, river trip leader and finally Director of Schools, Tony left OEG in 2008 to take up the role of Executive Officer at the Victorian Outdoor Education Association. In 2015, Tony was admitted as a postgraduate student at the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where he is now working toward his Ph.D. by conducting research on the application of systems theory to the regulation of safety in led outdoor activities.

View or download presentation here.

The impact of outdoor education on the body image and self-efficacy of adolescent girls. Ms Joelle Breault-hood. Available Now

We live in a visual culture that inundates us with images of an idealised body based on dominant Western societal and media influences. The body has become an object, a site of production and commerce.  For many, having negative thoughts about our bodies has become normal. Poor body image can contribute to low self-esteem, low self-confidence and never feeling that one’s body is adequate.

My research explores the possibility of an outdoor education program as an effective tool to curb the normalcy of poor body image. To do so, the impacts of outdoor education programs on the self-efficacy and body image of adolescent girls will be addressed. Through a feminist theoretical lens and mixed methods inquiry, quantitative and qualitative data will be collected in the form of pre, post, and six month follow up outdoor education program questionnaires based on the General Self-Efficacy Scale and the Objectified Body Consciousness Youth Scale and focus group interviews. Participants are 13-15 year adolescent girls who participate in outdoor education programs offered through the co-curricular component of their school.

The presentation will showcase the research background and any preliminary findings in the first round of research.

Research is limited in the Australian context on the relationship between outdoor education, adolescent girls and body image. The anticipated research outcomes include:

  • Gaining a better understanding of the role of outdoor education in affecting body image and self-efficacy of adolescent girls,
  • Providing robust evidence-based research in Australian outdoor education.


Joelle Breault-Hood (PhD Candidate) is currently working as the Communications Officer for Outdoors NSW. She is also involved with a running Tween Empowerment programs for girls. She teaches Outdoor Education and Experiential Education at the tertiary level in NSW.   She has been involved in OE for 20+ years as a facilitator, curriculum developer, program planner and OE instructor. She is currently working on her PhD investigating the impacts of outdoor education programs on adolescent girl’s self-efficacy and body image.

View or download presentation here.

The role of Indigenous Cultural Immersion in the Outdoor Education Industry. Matthew Alterator. Available Now

Place, Self and the connection between the two are a bedrock of Outdoor Education. An increased focus on traditional ownership and ‘On Country’ principles in have given giving rise to Indigenous land use practices and philosophies being adopted into many joint environmental management programs including the management of national parks and flora and fauna control. This presentation will explore how Outdoor Education programs have adapted to build new ‘On Country’-centric experiences for participants

Student and Teacher based Indigenous Cultural Immersion opportunities with a focus of being ‘On Country’ are increasing in their frequency, location, depth and quality. Importantly, they are establishing a further need and revealing a gap in existing programs in schools and curriculum structures.

The Outdoor Education industry has long been leading the way in building relevance in experiences focusing on Place and Self whilst considering Indigenous perspectives. This presentation considers the role of the industry in building ‘On Country’ curriculum and content into the programs at the instructor training level and at the school level.

This presentation uses an Arnhemland based Cultural Immersion program to explore the topic from the perspectives of student participants and the host family. These perspectives offer answers to the key questions raised.

Matt is a Koori man who has dedicated his career to working with Aboriginal communities. Matt has worked in diverse remote and urban Indigenous communities across Australia combining his love of culture and the outdoors. Matt’s moral purpose is to see the future built with a deeper understanding of Aboriginal cultures. Across 17 years Matt has established strong relationships with communities, schools and various government sectors.

View or download presentation here.

Vocational Education Training “Outdoor Recreation Training Package Review”. Liz Horne. Available Now

The Commonwealth Government has been leading a process of reform in the VET Sector over the past three years. This reform has led to a number of changes in standards for training packages, structure, funding, timelines and process. The new structure has been designed to ensure employers have more input into the development of training qualifications for their sector.

SkillsIQ, under the direction of the Sport and Recreation Industry Reference Committee (IRC), is undertaking a thorough review of all Outdoor Recreation related training package products packaged within the SIS Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package. Many outdoor education programs use staff who have VET qualifications. This session will provide an opportunity to understand the expected changes in the Outdoor Recreation Qualifications.

i) Outline the key direction and goals of the review
ii) Explain the review process
iii) Highlight the main changes in the current draft of the outdoor recreation qualifications

Liz Horne, Skills Engagement Specialist, SkillsIQ.
Liz has held a variety of key leadership roles in outdoor education, camping and outdoor recreation and expedition based learning for 30 plus years. She has led staff teams from 20 to 250, and remains passionate about supporting the staff who work in the outdoors community to be the best they can be. In her current role at SkillsIQ, Liz is the project leader of the Outdoor Recreation training package product review.

Download Liz’s presentation here.

Vu Deja for risk assessment: Exploring an old problem through a new lens. Ms Clare Dallat. Available Now

Please note: while this presentation PDF is called:

Beyond Likelihood and Consequence: Developing a systems approach to risk assessment in the led outdoor activity context.

it is the one given at the conference.

Failure to identify and adequately manage foreseeable risks associated with the task of determining participant characteristics in the program design and planning phase of an outdoor program can lead to the creation of 150 further, emergent risks. This is just one significant finding from a program of PhD research that focused on the development and testing of a risk assessment method which could identify and analyse risks associated with the design, planning and conduct of outdoor programs.

The method, called NET-HARMS, is theoretically underpinned by the now widely accepted view in safety science, that accidents are caused by multiple, interacting factors located throughout the system of work, and not solely by the actions or decisions of the people closest to the accident scene, e.g., an instructor’s ‘poor decision’, a student’s ‘carelessness’, or the high river level. Clare will demonstrate how NET-HARMS differs from current risk assessment methods in highlighting how it can identify and assess risks involved in the design, planning, delivery and review stages of a program, as opposed to risk associated with the delivery stage only. Workshop participants will then have the opportunity to have a go and trial the method with their own programs in mind.

Clare Dallat is an experienced outdoor educator with over twenty years practicing both in the field, and in administrating programs. For thirteen years, Clare held the position of Director of Risk Management at The Outdoor Education Group (, a large not-for-profit organisation that provides multi-day outdoor education experiences for approximately 40,000 participants annually. She now leads Risk Resolve, a risk and crisis management consultancy service. Through this work, Clare has supported many organisations, including schools, universities, and local government to assist them develop and improve their risk and crisis management systems. She has responded to, in both a field and leadership capacity, to critical incidents and has expert witness and court experience. Clare holds an MSc. in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management from the University of Leicester, UK, and is currently a PhD researcher with the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia (

View or download presentation here.

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