2020 Vision: Megatrends and Outdoor Environmental Education Programs

Mr Peter McKenna1, Dr Donna Little1, Mr Mark Cridland1, Mr Peter MacGregor1
1Maroon Outdoor Education Centre, Maroon, Australia


This presentation will explore the findings of a report commissioned to examine the current and emerging landscape within which Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres (OEECs) are functioning. Specifically reflecting the needs and experiences of three lead Department of Education OEECs in Queensland.

This report shows that OEECs, along with all other enterprises, will be impacted by nonlinear but interconnected global and local trends and megatrends. Australia’s CSIRO Futures identify 6 key megatrends namely:

1. More from less – suggesting that natural resources essential for human survival and lifestyle will continue to deplete at the same time as we experience growth in population and consumer demand;
2. Going, going …gone? – representing a megatrend toward the loss and decline in the world’s ecological habitats and biodiversity;
3. The silk highway – representative of the shift in world economic power from the west to the east, north and south;
4. Forever young – recognising the ageing of the population in Australia and has economic implications regarding where wealth is held;
5. Virtually here – the growth of online connectivity, virtual world functionality, digital information systems and online transactions;
6. Great expectations – referring to the rising demand for product, social relationships, as well as the personalisation of services delivered en masse.

The identification of megatrends helps to predict future possibilities; and to challenge organisations, government and community to prepare, respond, rethink or influence their own systems and business processes. Each of these inform the potential future landscape of education and OEE and represent not just challenges, but opportunities.

Donna Little: BA, Grad Dip Ed. (UQ); Grad Dip in OE (Griffith); Master of Arts in Outdoor Ed (Griffith); PHD (Griffith) Theme: Women and adventure.

A trained teacher, the experience of leading at a US Summer Camp inspired her to facilitate outdoor opportunities for others. Years spent in academia in the fields of sport, outdoor recreation, education and tourism brought her in contact with QORF in its early days and saw her become the organisation’s CEO from 2008 to 2013. Donna was honoured with life membership in March 2016 for services to the outdoor community in Queensland.

Donna is currently the Consulting Manager with waytobe…

Mark Cridland is the Principal of Tallebudgerra Outdoor Environmental Education Centre;
Peter MacGregor is the Principal of Tinaroo Environmental Education Centre and

Peter McKenna is the Principal of Maroon Outdoor Education Centre. Together, Peter, Mark and Peter have over 75 years of experience in Outdoor and Environmental Education, predominantly in residential centres operated by Queensland’s Department of Education.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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