Insights into a long term Outdoor Education program from the ACT

Mr Dan McNamara1, Miss Piper Quick1, Mr Peter Blunt1
1ACT Education Directorate


The ACT is a natural playground for Outdoor enthusiasts. Lake Ginninderra College is a school that has organically harnessed young people’s need for connection to the outdoors.

From humble beginnings in the 1990’s the program has grown winning multiple awards with high student engagement and enrolments.

This presentation will detail a timeline of the evolution of the program, identifying the highlights, challenges and outcomes along the way.

One of the defining features of the program is the pathways open to students, who can participate as clients in high schools, students, student leaders, trainees, pre-service teachers and teachers.

Through a awareness of the past, an insight can be gained into future trends, therefore ensuring that challenges can be overcome and students can continue to benefit from the growth that occurs in the outdoors.

Dan McNamara lives and breathes the outdoors. He is a former ACT VET teacher of the year and has been working in the Outdoor Education industry for 19 years. He has a compiled an impressive list of qualifications and worked in numerous industry settings.

He taught Outdoor Education at UCSSC Lake Ginninderra. He has led trips to the Nullarbor , Great Barrier Reef, Arapiles, mountain biking from Mt Kosciuszko back to school and numerous local trips. He has also been involved in the training and assessment of 90 adults in Outdoor Recreation and overseen the program at the College grow to 10 classes.

He has been heavily involved leading Outdoor Education within the ACT through a number of roles including; running accredited professional learning, updating policy and procedures, developing risk management, course writing and providing advice.

Currently, he is working as Assistant Director/SLC to review Outdoor Adventure Activities, lead the implementation of them, support schools and provide advice.

Peter Blunt has led an amazing career in the outdoors winning numerous awards. He has taught Outdoor Education in Tanzania (1981-82), Birrigai Outdoor School (83-98), UCSSC Lake GInninderra (99-2015) and now works as a guide and trainer.

He actively participates in a life of adventure, most recently culminating in a 6 day epic climb up El-Capitan in Yosemite.

Piper Quick is an Outdoor Education teacher at UCSSC Lake Ginninderra. Her commitment to education and her dreams in adventure combine to deliver the highest outcomes for the students she works with. Her combination of qualifications including a Bachelor of Education and Certificate III Outdoor Recreation, provide the foundations for excellence in practice. Piper trains and assesses in the field of Outdoor Recreation, where the learning environment extends from the ocean environment on the Great Barrier Reef to waist deep snow in Hokkaido, Japan.

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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