THE NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) Environmental Education and Zoo Education Centres Annual Conference was held at Kianinny Resort and Bournda National Park over three days last week.
Organised by Bournda Environmental Education Centre, this important event was a wonderful opportunity for over 60 educators from throughout the state to share best practice in teaching and learning in sustainability and environmental education.
The conference encouraged participants to explore the theme of “Great Teaching, Inspired Learning” and included workshops on the new NSW syllabuses and the use of technology.
Highlights included presentations by Graham Moore of the Office of Environment and Heritage on Aboriginal history and culture and an opening address by DEC School Education director, Paul Morris.
The program featured valuable contributions from locals Steve Sass (Envirokey), Dave Gallan, David Newell (Landcare/SRCMA), Dean Turner (The Crossing), Steve Burrows, Sarah Nolan and Ian Merrington (Department of Primary Industry) and Libby Hepburn (Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness/Bioblitz).
Another popular presentation was mandatory anaphylaxis training presented by Maria Wilson, nurse manager from Bega Community Health.
The official conference opening was an address by the director of Learning and Development Research with DEC, Dr Paul Brock.
Dr Brock outlined compelling research of the benefits to student learning from activities in natural settings while also pointing to the need for students’ education to prepare them for the challenges of sustainability.
Bournda EEC principal Doug Reckord said the participants enjoyed being around Bournda National Park and many indicated a desire to come back with their families for a holiday experience.
“You couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of pride when hearing so many compliments on our area as a marvellous setting for environmental education.
“The best part of the conference,” he said, “was learning new teaching and learning strategies to support students in our local schools.”
Mr Reckord thanked NPWS Merimbula for support with conference logistics and workshop activities held in Bournda National Park.
The conference was sponsored by the DEC Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre.