We have an outstanding selection of Keynote Speakers joining us at the 2020 NOEC Conference in the Blue Mountains.

Ecuador 2017 - credit Brett Danielsen

Tim Jarvis AM

Tim Jarvis is a world-renowned environmental scientist, author and adventurer with Masters degrees in environmental science and environmental law.

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Tim is committed to finding pragmatic solutions to major environmental issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss and uses his public speaking engagements, films and books about his expeditions and sustainability work to promote progressive thinking in these areas. Tim is founder and leader of 25zero, a climate-change awareness-raising project that focuses on the world’s rapidly melting equatorial glaciers, and Global Ambassador for WWF-Australia. Tim was named Australian Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year 2013 and Conservationist of the Year 2016, the only person ever to receive both awards.

Tim has undertaken unsupported expeditions to some of the world’s most remote regions, including to the South Pole, the Arctic and across the Great Victoria Desert. He has authentically retraced the 1913 polar journey of Sir Douglas Mawson as well as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 “double” – sailing a replica James Caird boat 1500kms across the Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia, and traversing South Georgia’s mountainous interior – using the same rudimentary equipment, technology and rations as Mawson and Shackleton had 100 years before.

After over two decades of polar travel and  work as an environmental scientist, Tim is a well-known public speaker, applying the lessons he has learned throughout his expeditions to talk about leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, change management and goal setting for both organisations and individuals.

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Deb Ajango

Deb Ajango has written two books on safety-related topics and has presented nationally and internationally on risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine.

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Deb 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.”

Ms. Ajango is Owner and Director of SafetyEd, a company that provides safety education, and she is part-time faculty at Alaska Pacific University. She received her Master of Science degree in clinical psychology and education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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.

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Tom Potter

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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Tom’s teaching experience spans every level of education (primary, secondary, college and university).

He is the recipient of several teaching awards including the Ontario Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award (2007), the Association for Experiential Education Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year Award (2004), and the Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award (2002). Whether outdoors or in the classroom, Tom seeks to foster meaningful learning environments embedded in experience and relations to both the human and non-human world.

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 is passionate about people and wild places. He enjoys sliding on all forms of water and is thus an avid canoeist, sailor, and skier.

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Pasi Sahlberg

Professor 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.

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Pasi 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 co-authored with William Doyle “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.

Active in social media and public debates about education, Pasi Sahlberg’s book, Finnish Lessons: What can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? (2015), won the Grawemeyer Award in the U.S. as an idea that has potential to change the world. The LEGO foundation recognized Pasi’s efforts to improve education worldwide by awarding him the LEGO Prize 2016. He held the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in 2017.

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.

Pasi moved to Sydney in November 2018 with his wife and two young boys to help to transform Australia’s schools through his research and leadership at the Gonski Institute for Education, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

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Yvonne Weldon

Wiradjuri Woman Yvonne Weldon has volunteered and worked in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal roles throughout her career.

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Yvonne has maintained her cultural connections to her homelands of Cowra and the Riverina areas of New South Wales. Yvonne’s commitment to improving the outcomes for First Nations, the lands and waterways of this continent is an ancient lived practice of her people.

Yvonne provides keynote and opening speaking engagements through her role of Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. She is motivated to creating positive change for all, not through changing what has existed for thousands of generations of this lands First People but through a continuation in this contemporary lived society. Yvonne has a deep respect and honour of the many traditional practices and belief systems to be (re)instilled and (re)enforced across this continent, honouring the land and the waterways – in alignment of mother earth – the engrained ancestry of the land, the waters, the body and the spirit.

Yvonne was awarded the 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year Adult Volunteer for the South Sydney Region and the 2019 NSW South Sydney Volunteer Region Volunteer of the Year. Yvonne’ article True Country was published in the December 2019 Vogue Australia magazine. Yvonne is the Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, a Board Member of Domestic Violence NSW, a Board member of Redfern Jarjums College, the Deputy Chairperson of NSW Australian Day Council, and a consultant of Y. Consultancy yconsultancy.com.au.

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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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