About Us

Live Life Outdoors

Outdoors Victoria (OV) is the peak body for all Outdoor activities in Victoria. We exist to support the Outdoors Community, to advocate the benefits of outdoor activity to the broader community.


Our purpose is to build a valued and sustainable outdoor sector for the benefit of the community and natural environment by enhancing, connecting, and advocating on behalf of outdoor education, outdoor recreation, outdoor therapy and nature based tourism.

What We Do 

Advocacy

We provide advocacy to all levels of government on behalf of the Outdoors Sector, often in collaboration with other peak bodies and associations.

Outdoor Providers and Camps Subcommittee

This subcommittee includes a number of large and medium-sized businesses across the Outdoor Provider and Camps (OP&C) industry in Victoria. It functions as a reference point for the CEO and OV Board into the OP&C sector, to inform their work in advocating for, and supporting the Outdoors industry in Victoria.

The current Chair of the Subcommittee is OV board member, Richard Thornton.

 

Coordination & Delivery

The annual Education Outdoors Conference is our major event for the year. Through this event , and the deliverance of a professional learning series we provide important educational and networking opportunities for the outdoor learning sector.

Showcasing Outdoor Career Pathways

In 2018 in partnership with Victoria University, we launched the first ‘Careers in the Outdoors Day’ for Victorian school students.

Resources for the Outdoor Sector

We provide resource for the outdoors learning sector on a range of issues and initiatives through our help desk service to members and our monthly newsletter.

Safety Guidelines Projects

We guide efforts to improve and enhance the safety and regulatory environment associated with outdoor learning, through our work on the review of the DET’s Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors (SGEO)

 AAS

Through our ongoing work as the National Secretariat of the Australian Adventure Activity Standards (Aust. AAS), we provide advice to the outdoors sector on current safety and regulatory developments by

Develop, Deliver and Support Initiatives and Programs

We support initiatives that help improve the health, wellbeing and the outdoor education of Victorians.

We also work with people in the sector to help develop new programs, such as the new Nature Stewards Program.

Facilitating and supporting Research

Amongst other leading organisations in the sector Outdoors Victoria actively supported research teams such as OYPRA & The UPLOADS Project, who provide invaluable insights that guide strategic development.

Meet Our Staff

Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight

CEO

Andrew Knight joined Outdoors Victoria in 2016 with a passion for the outdoors reaching right back to his time in Cubs and Scouts, learning how to live in the bush, snow and on water, while having fun with friends and family. Andrew spent 10 years as an active patrol member of the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club and was Patrol Captain for many of those years. Andrew has extensive management experience in the automotive, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), and retail sectors working in Australia, the UK and USA. More recently Andrew has done important work in national roles for Not for Profits in the areas of fresh food rescue and community finance.

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He formed shared-value partnerships with a number of Australia’s largest corporates and governments, to generate positive outcomes for the Australian community. Andrew is skilled at bringing together complex groups, identifying common ground and then achieving the best results for the community. Married with two children, Andrew’s family frequently get away in their caravan to explore the staggering array of landscapes and activities Victoria has to offer. As OV’s CEO, Andrew enjoys meeting and working closely with Victoria’s Outdoor Education, Recreation, Therapy and Nature Based Tourism organisations.

 

 

Robyn Allan

Robyn Allan

Manager of Operations and Communications

Robyn began working with OV in early 2014 & has coordinated 6 Education Outdoors conferences. She is responsible for the daily running of the OV office from database, website and digital communications. She previously worked for 3 years at The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and has a deep love of the outdoors and a belief that conscious connection to the outdoors is essential for everyone’s mental health.

Andrew Gooday

Andrew Gooday

Outdoor Careers Strategy Coordinator

Andrew has joined Outdoors Victoria in August 2021 as the Outdoor Careers Strategy Coordinator, to produce a report of strategic recommendations to OV and the outdoor sectors on ways to address the staff shortages in the outdoor careers in Victoria. Andrew has had a lifelong love of everything outdoors.  He grew up in Scotland, hiking, cycling, and skiing in the mountains and learning life and bush skills with the Scouts, including long summer camps in Scotland and Europe.  He studied Geology and worked in the oil industry, before the need for travel and adventure led him to a career change and thirteen back-to-back winters, managing ski and snowboard schools and training instructors in New Zealand, Scotland, and the US. 

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After completing a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management and working in nature-based tourism in the highlands of Scotland, Andrew moved to Melbourne in 2003, where he has worked in a recreation role in local government and managed large tourist attractions for the National Trust.  Most recently Andrew has been delivering programs with the YMCA in Anglesea, where loves nothing better than getting out on a canoe or mountain bike, sharing his love of the outdoors and the excitement of young people.

Andrew’s community involvement includes sitting on the board of Isabel Henderson Kindergarten, a nature-based kindergarten in Fitzroy North, and Vice-President of Environment Education Victoria.

Rose Major

Rose Major

Nature Kindergarten Facilitator

Rose is embarking on the Nature Kindergarten Facilitator Demonstration Project, which will run until at least June 30 2021. Run jointly with not-for-profit networking and professional development group ECOLN, the project aims to support kinders and early childhood centres in certain LGAs to move towards offering off-site outdoor learning programs such as a Beach or Bush or Nature Kinder.
This project is funded by Sport and Recreation Victoria as part of their Together More Active program.

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Rose has worked as an early childhood teacher, a primary school teacher and a playgroup facilitator in both indoor and outdoor settings. She has been part of the not-for-profit network and professional learning group the Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Network (ECOLN) since it’s inception in early 2014.

Rose grew up hiking and camping in the UK and re-discovered her love for the outdoors after moving to Australia 17 years ago. Rose has a passion for sharing her love of nature with young children and families and believes that fostering a love for the outdoors in young children is a necessary step to promoting sustainable thinking. She would like to acknowledge the influence of First People’s perspectives on deepening her understanding of what it means to live, work and play on another’s country.

Richelle Olsen

Richelle Olsen

Community Engagement Officer, AABAT

Richelle joined Outdoors Victoria in August as the Community Engagement Officer for the Australian Association of Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT), to support AABAT’s small team of volunteers with providing organisational and administrative support, and growing their membership program.
 

Professionally Richelle has worked as an online business analyst for over 20 years, in Australia, the UK and Middle East.  In 2015, she cycled the Great Divide MTB Route off-road from Canada to Mexico, almost 5,000kms over 5 months.  Spending that amount of time with her only concerns being where to find food and water, which patch of dirt to set the tent on, and how not to be eaten by bears or mountain lions, her perspective on life was indelibly altered, and she returned to Australia with a goal to make adventure her life, rather than a last minute add on.

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Richelle is the founder of Escaping Your Comfort Zone, body positive adventures for women, with the approach “The outdoors don’t care about your size, your pace or your fitness, and neither do we”.  She has a passion for changing the story for what an “adventurous person” looks like, and increasing representation in adventure for people in bigger bodies, and generally those who have historically been left out of the adventure narrative.

“I have a passion for the transformative impact the outdoors can have on people, and the importance of health professionals to have the ability to prescribe the benefits of the outdoors as therapy.  This role with OV/AABAT beautifully combines this passion, with my experience with administrations and systems, to hopefully make an impact on ultimately increasing participation in the outdoors as therapy/care.  I’m super excited to be supporting the incredibly talented volunteers to do what they do best – nurturing the Bush Adventure Therapy and Outdoor Healthcare community.”
Luke Parker

Luke Parker

Education Advisor

Luke is our very own advisor on all things Outdoor Education. He also gets a lots of education-related behind the scenes stuff done. Luke  is a former teacher and is the current Education advisor for Outdoors Victoria for over 4 years where he works with numerous stakeholders including teaching organisations, Schools, and the Department of Education to encourage outdoor learning across the curriculum.

Furthermore, he is a University Lecturer at Australian Catholic University in Outdoor Education, PE, Health and ICT. Luke is the founder of one of Western Victoria’s first Aerial (drones) & VR imaging companies with clients including Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Brothers Hollywood and the AFL to name a few. 

Luke enjoys playing AFL football for his local team, but has a particular fondness for Skiing, White Water Rafting and Rock Climbing in combination with many other adventure activities. 

Renee Pascolo

Renee Pascolo

Administration and Events Coordinator

Renee has joined Outdoors Victoria in August 2021 as the Admin and Events Coordinator streamlining the existing processes within the organisation and will be arranging small-to-medium events to benefit people who wish to engage in the outdoors for professional, recreational and therapeutic activities.

Renee loves the outdoors as a way to disengage from the stresses of society, enjoying camping under the stars, hiking within the national parks and skiing. Despite not growing up in a family that enjoyed outdoor experiences, her love of travel nationally and internationally has enabled her to tackle many activities solo in order to develop mastery and an understanding of the land and its beauty. She prides herself on being able to put up a 4 person tent on her own!

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Her experience as a secondary school teacher organising student adventure camps involving canoeing, surfing, orienteering and survival situations enables her to advocate for the outdoors within the education industry and its success in developing leadership, resilience and confidence amongst young people. She fondly remembers her own defining experiences at school camps learning how to make a fire, cook with a trangia, waterproof a canoe and mosquito-proof a tent.

Andrea A. Vela

Andrea A. Vela

Digital Communications Coordinator

Andrea has just joined Outdoors Victoria as our Digital and Communications Coordinator, primarily focusing on creative digital and social media communications and marketing for Outdoors Victoria.
Andrea has worked for 11 years developing marketing and engagement communications solutions within the nonprofit sector and in service-based industries, including community services, leisure/recreation, tourism and advertising.
Originally from Mexico, Andrea made Victoria her home 5 years ago, and she has fallen in love with all the amazing landscapes in the state and in Australia. Andrea has a strong passion for the outdoors and for travelling and discovering new places and cultures. Some of her favourite activities are hiking, camping, trail running, rock climbing, and playing beach volleyball.
 

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“Working for Outdoors Victoria combines my passion and experience working for the leisure/recreation industry with my love for the outdoors. I love that I can now contribute to the industry and communicate the positive effects of being outdoors and doing recreational activities, especially now that the pandemic has affected people’s wellbeing and mental health.”
Dr. Maddy Willcock

Dr. Maddy Willcock

Nature Stewards Project Co ordinator

Dr Maddy Willcock runs the Nature Stewards program, which is a 10-week program  introducing local ecosystems and natural places to interested locals in several council areas throughout Victorian. We are very proud to say that his wonderful program is proving to be very popular and is being picked up by more councils. 

Maddy can frequently be found in her preferred natural habitat, the great outdoors, camping, relaxing, and probably checking out any local volcanoes. Childhood family and scouting adventures ignited a great respect, love, and spiritual connection with the natural environment. Supporting others with their connection with the environment, is a key passion. Maddy has continued to explore and learn in the great outdoors through her career in geological field research and STEM education program development, and in her training in land management and art therapy.”