Nature Education Symposium
Program and speakers
The full day Nature Education Symposium will feature keynote speaker Richard Louv and other leading practitioners in the field of nature education.
Stay tuned for an updated program as speakers are confirmed.
This is your opportunity to meet one of the world’s leading international speakers, whose writings and associated research are influencing programs and policy around the world. Learn about new education tools and be inspired!
See the event details for all you need to know about the Nature Education Symposium.
Brigitte started her media journey in April 2001 with Austereo radio station 92.9. In 2003, Brigitte was approached by Channel Seven to cover a Promotions Manager role within their company, where she has an opportunity to be the station’s publicist. It was during this time at Seven that she regularly presented for Seven at the WA Youth Awards and was asked to be on the WA Lunchbox List guest panel for their Women in Media luncheon.
Moving into the next phase of her life she began consulting with Cambridge Events and The Lantern Group whilst transitioning into her initial field of study - Primary Education. Since changing industries in 2009, she has worked at Sydney’s Trinity Grammar School in many roles. First as a casual teacher across K-6, then as a temporary art specialist, in an academic support role and most recently in the last two years as a full time Year 5 and Year 6 classroom teacher. Concurrently with her classroom teaching she regularly runs 6 week extracurricular workshops each term for students in art, drama and news reporting. She has recently been promoted to the position of Multimedia Inquiry Manager of the new resource complex (commencing 2013), in the brand new state of the art Junior School opening soon.
She looks forward to growing further in all facets of her professional career, learning from others, their expertise and their passion for education and the arts.
Richard Louv, author and journalist
Nature-deficit disorder serves not as a medical diagnosis, but as a description of the human costs of alienation from nature – damage to our children’s health, to our ability to learn and create, and to the future of conservation. Even as children and adults spend less time in the natural world, an international movement is growing to reverse the trend. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that nature experiences can have profoundly positive impacts on our mental and physical health, our intelligence, and our relationship with the earth itself.
The future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world, and who balance the virtual with the real. Can technology be used as a tool to connect our children to nature, to grow an environmental ethic, and create a new civilization? What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are today in electronics, where we live, learn, work and play? How can each of us help create a nature-rich, life-enhancing world, not only in a hypothetical future, but right now for our families and for ourselves?
For more information:
Paul Maguire (Manager Learning and Experience, Taronga Conservation Society Australia & NSW Department of Education and Communities)
Wild Connections for Action (human and animal)
The presentation will focus on the power of animals to connect children with nature. This phenomenon has many applications including Taronga’s Youth at the Zoo ambassador program through to our Burbangana and Walanmarra programs that work with the most disadvantaged children in NSW. This presentation will outline how this engagement or connection can lead to tangible conservation outcomes. It will also explore the Taronga journey in regards the role of iPads and video conferencing in connecting children for learning and action.
Amanda Lloyd (Primary school teacher, St Michael’s Nowra)
Outdoor Learning in the Primary Years
Learning in the outdoors has significant educational advantages for children in the Primary School years. The current Australian Primary school curriculum allows for the implementation of innovative cross curricula programming within environmental outdoor education. Outdoor learning programs can be easily implemented into the regular school timetable to establish a connection to local outdoor spaces. The integration of social, emotional, personal and academic goals into outdoor learning programs has had success in trial programs run at St Michael’s Nowra.
Australian teachers can use local Indigenous story and place to create unique learning contexts for our students. Linking students to place and connecting students to ‘country” is central to the programs run at St Michael’s and where possible involves members of our local Indigenous community. A fully integrated term long Kindergarten program, a short term curriculum based Year One unit and a program for 12 year old Special Needs boys are used to highlight the advantages for such a program being implemented. Activities are as varied as initiative games, bush tucker walks, construction activities and walking in ‘country’ connecting to place.
Dr Tonia Gray (Associate Professor, Education, University of Western Sydney)
Is the 'Outdoors' Becoming Fossilized in the National Curriculum for schoolchildren?
Australia is on the cusp of an educational renaissance, with the introduction, for the first time of a national curriculum. However, the future of a child in nature in the school curriculum occupies a perilous position. Severely marginalised in the initial draft of the new curriculum, the place of Outdoor Education in the new era of a National Curriculum is under threat. This paper will address two key issues:
- “Should Outdoor Education be a part of every Australian child’s educational experience?”
- “If Outdoor Education is not formally part of the National Curriculum, how might it continue to contribute to education of Australian students?”
The challenge for educators who are advocates of "A Child In Nature" is to clarify how and where it can contribute to the nominated learning areas, general capabilities or cross curriculum priorities that make up the national curriculum.
Dr Carol Birrell (Lecturer, Social Ecology, University of Western Sydney)
Ecopedagogies - Ways of Connecting with the Natural World (presenting with Dr Tonia Gray)
In light of the much discussed ‘disconnect’ from Nature, educational moves towards a ‘connect’ with the natural world through ecological ways of experiencing, thinking and knowing are crucial - these are called ecopedagogies.
The authors will present two programs that examine ecopedagogies of a very different nature: one is ‘Touched by the Earth’ a year long part- time program in NSW for year 8 gifted and talented students conducted through Bundanon, an art and educational centre dedicated by Australian artist Arthur Boyd; the other is ‘A Simple Life’ which involves the surprising outcome when Outdoor Education pre-service teachers are removed from the comforts and dependencies of everyday life and ‘high tech’ addiction, into a 6 day group wilderness experience of walking from the Blue Mountains to Mittagong in the Southern Highlands.
Steven Papp and Patrick Spiers, Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre
Mark Edwards and Chris Vella, Brewongle Environmental Education Centre
Janet Rasborsek, Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre
Application of technology in authentic field and classroom contexts for NSW public schools
The 23 dedicated Environmental education centres (EEC’s) of NSW have decades of collective experience of the practical application of technology in authentic field and classroom contexts for NSW public schools of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
In this session 3 EEC's will outline practical insights of designing programs that:
- use technology to engage and connect students with nature
- avoid a “theme park” style of investigation design where natural experiences and student use of mobile technologies are seen as special events
- focus on personal stories and communication.
Fiona Robbé (Director, Architects of Arcadia)
Naturally better – designing opportunities to play in a natural setting
This presentation will explore the latest developments in nature based play in public spaces in Australia. Best practice principles and ideas for creating natural play environments will be explored and explained.
- “Why it is so critical for children to play in natural environments?”
- “What do children and young people have to say about this?”
- “How best to design optimal outdoor environments for children?”
Simon Stroud (Manager, Visitor Experiences and Education, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service), and Jody Orcher (Aboriginal Education Officer, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service)
NPWS’ new interactive program to engage children in nature. Simon will explain how and why NPWS is utilising new technologies to capture the attention of 5-8 years olds and encourage them to get outside and enjoy nature. Phase 2 of WilderQuest involves the development of education resources for schools. Teachers will be provided with WilderQuest Smart Notebook resources and lesson suggestions for them to use and as a tool to create new lessons.
Simon will be joined by Jody Orcher, NPWS Aboriginal Education Officer, who will explain how Aboriginal content is being included in WilderQuest, both online and in nature, to foster an appreciation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and connection to country.
Page last updated: 06 August 2012