National Outdoor Education Conference 2022 Program 

Monday 26th September 

12:30 - 3:30pm

Choice of 3 pre-conference workshops

The Art & Science of Building Connections 


Practice makes Permanent: Critical Incident Scenarios


Nature Play and Outdoor Learning


Mark Collard

Clare Dallet

Pasi Sahlberg, Christian Erkart, Amanda Lloyd

3pm Conference Registration before 4pm Official Conference Commences 

3pm - 7:30pm

Welcome to Country by Yvonne Weldon
Keynote Address by Pasi Sahlberg
"Let the children play – for outdoor learning, wellbeing, and life success of every child"

Followed by a Cocktail function overlooking the Sunset on the Beautiful Blue Mountains

Included in Conference Package or $55 per person

3pm - 7:30pm

Tueday 27th September 

8am - 5pm  

Keynote address from Sharon Goldfeld

"COVID-19 is the opportunity to build it back better and fairer. What can we do to create a better future for our children?"

followed by breakout sessions with topics that include; 


Tools & Resources



Risk Management


Lessons from the Past

Recruitment & Staff


Case Studies 

Concluding the day with Conversations on the Edge.. the burning issues and discoveries in Outdoor Education 

5:30pm - 10pm

Celebratory Dinner

Join us for a night of celebration as we join together to toast the Outdoor Industry at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains. 

Thursday 30th September 

8am - 5pm

Join us for the IGNITE Session - what's working in the industry right now

Keynote address from Deb Ajengo

Tom Potter & Stephanie Potter

"Expanding Horizons: Moving from Complacency to Action for Gender Equity and Inclusion"

Breakout sessions include;



Risk Management

Lessons from the Past


Pre-School to Primary

Secondary & Tertiary


Human Resourcing

Case Studies 

To conclude the day we have a 

Keynote address from Tim Jarvis with a keynote presentation

"By Endurance we Conquer"


and then to assist in the National Awards and Closing Ceremony. 

Post Conference Offers
Friday 1st October

Thanks to the Outdoor Industry in the Blue Mountains there are reasons to stay another day. 

A variety of offers have been put together for you to choose from.

Bookings are required direct with the operators and more information can be found here.

Experience the Blue Mountains the way it was intended... in nature's playground!

Welcome to Country


28 Sept 


Yvonne Weldon 

Chairperson, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

Yvonne Weldon is the current Chairperson of Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. She is a proud Wiradjuri woman and maintains strong ties to her homelands of Cowra and the Riverina areas in New South Wales.

Yvonne is a former student of Redfern Public School, Cleveland St High School and St Scholastica's College. She is a graduate of the first intake of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Program. Yvonne has worked in senior positions in Aboriginal policy development, health, human services, child care services, child protection, housing, disability and Aboriginal heritage. Yvonne is a member of MLALC, Aboriginal Children’s Service, and a number of interagencies throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area.

She has a passion for health, Aboriginal rights, children’s rights, education, research and evaluation. Yvonne recently received an award from the Australasian Evaluation Society for her contribution to the Evaluation of the NSW Aboriginal Child and Family Centres and has recently been awarded a Cultural Diversity Scholarship from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Master of Ceremonies

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Mark Collard                                                                  

Mark is best known for his remarkably fun training workshops, interactive keynote presentations and his three best-selling activity books including No Props No ProblemSerious Fun and Count Me In.

Over the course of his 30+ year career, he has delivered more than 2,000 program days and presentations which have helped 100,000+ people have fun and connect meaningfully with others in 11 countries around the world (translated in 4 languages.)

Mark has written 5 books and leverages a massive repertoire of 800+ fun group games & activities to help people connect.

He has produced 350+ video tutorials (which have attracted more than 11 million views), worn-out 3 rubber chickens, formed over 5,000 circles, stayed in 300+ dodgy hotels and spent 5 months of his life in a plane crisscrossing the globe to travel to & work with his groups.

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Keynote Address - Day 1


28th Sept


Professor Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg has long and distinguished career in education holding various expert and leadership capacities in Finland, including policies and reforms that are associated to Finland’s successful education system.  He has worked as schoolteacher, teacher educator, researcher, and policy advisor and has studied education systems, analysed education policies, and advised education reforms around the globe. Pasi is a former senior education specialist at the World Bank, a lead education expert at the European Training Foundation, a director general at the Finland’s Ministry of Education, and a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University.

His most recent book “Let the Children Play: Why More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive” highlights the importance of play, especially outdoor play, to allow children to explore, discover, fail, succeed, socialize, and flourish. He argues play is a fundamental element of the human condition and is the key to giving schoolchildren skills they need to succeed - skills like creativity, innovation, teamwork, focus, resilience, expressiveness, empathy, concentration, and executive function. 

Known as the international “school improvement activist” Pasi directly links to practitioners, their communities and many other education audiences by sharing his experiences in classroom teaching, teacher education, school improvement and global educational change. 

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Keynote Address - Day 2

Wednesday 29th Sept 9am

Professor Sharon Goldfeld                                                                  

Professor Sharon Goldfeld is a paediatrician/public health physician, Director of the Population Health Theme (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Director of the Centre for Community Child Health (Royal Children’s Hospital). She has built a career as a policy-focused public health and paediatric practitioner and researcher. Her research interests are made up of complementary, synergistic, and cross-disciplinary streams of work focused on investigating, testing, and translating sustainable policy relevant solutions that eliminate inequities for Australia’s children. Sharon has a decade of experience in state government as a senior policymaker in health and education, including principal medical advisor in the Victorian Department of Education and Training. Sharon was recently awarded the inaugural Marles Medal for excellent and original research that led to outstanding achievement in research impact.

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Keynote Address - Day 3

Thursday 30th Sept 9am

Deb Ajango

Deb Ajango is the author two books on safety-related topics and has presented nationally and internationally on risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine. She received the Charles (Reb) Gregg Award in 2012 in recognition of “Exceptional Leadership, Service, and Innovation in Wilderness Risk Management,” and in 2014, she was awarded the Paul K. Petzoldt Award for “Excellence in Wilderness Education.”

Deb is currently a member of the faculty committee for Wilderness Medical Associates International and she has served on the Safety Committees for the Student Conservation Association and Outward Bound. Ms. Ajango has also served as a member of the Alaska State Parks advisory board, and for nine years, she was a member of the Association for Experiential Education’s (AEE’s) Accreditation Council.


Keynote Address - Day 3


30th Sept


Tom Potter


Tom’s passion for outdoor education has spurred many international contributions to the field. His work strives to investigate and communicate why and how the outdoors has such a potent impact on learning, therapy, and wellbeing; how and why student learning/experiences in the out-of-doors can be heightened through pedagogy; and, how leaders and participants can make informed decisions to enjoy safe experiences in this rich, meaningful, and often challenging learning environment. Thus, his research interests blend to include the pedagogy of outdoor education (including the educational use of solos and traditional technology), outdoor leadership, risk management, transportation safety, gender equity, nature-based therapy and park management.


Tom has instructed field courses, presented and published widely internationally. He has editorial responsibilities on several journals, including past Associate Editor for The Journal of Experiential Education, and has co-edited the book Controversial Issues in Adventure Education: A Critical Perspective. 


Tom Potter, PhD is a Professor in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

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Keynote Address - Day 3


30th Sept


Stephanie Potter


Stephanie Potter was raised among outdoor educators and keenly applies her passion for the outdoors in her research, education, and professional endeavours. With attention to critical feminist philosophy, her interests include parks and protected areas management, polar tourism management, and social justice, particularly as it is affected by outdoor experiences.

Stephanie holds a Master of Environmental Studies, through which she developed marine tourism management recommendations for the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site where Sir John Franklin’s lost ships were located in the Canadian Arctic.


Her work has been awarded multiple scholarships and medals, including Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Graduate Scholarship. Stephanie is now a Geomatics Technician for Yoho, Kootenay, and Banff National parks and a leader in Parks Canada’s web based mapping and emergency response resources. Her publications examine outdoor journeys as catalysts for change, integrated approaches to protected areas management, and gendered experiences in outdoor recreation, including a co-authored book chapter in the edited book The Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning.

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