About

About Outdoors Victoria


OV provides advocacy on behalf of the outdoors sectors of Victoria, consisting of outdoor education & camp providers, nature-based activity & tourism leaders and bush adventure therapists.

We support the sector by guiding efforts to improve and enhance the safety and regulatory environment associated with outdoor learning, and activities; showcasing outdoor career pathways to help restore the workforce after the pandemic; as well as delivering major projects such as our annual conference, which provides sector-wide professional development opportunities, our Nature Stewards Program, helping to educate people about their local environment and our diversity & inclusion in the outdoors program.

Purpose

Outdoors Victoria advocates for and supports more Victorians to be active outdoors. 

Goals

 Outdoors Victoria is the peak body for outdoor education and active outdoor recreation. We support our communities through our three objectives:

Supporting a thriving Outdoors Sector

Advocating for every Victorian to be active in the outdoors

Building a strong and sustainable peak outdoor body to best support our community

Our Staff

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.

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 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. 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.

Andrea joined Outdoors Victoria as our Head of Digital and Communications, primarily focusing on developing creative solutions to promote our work through all our channels.

Andrea has worked for 11 years developing marketing and communications plans and strategies within the nonprofit sector and in service-based industries, including community services, leisure/recreation, tourism, media and advertising.

Rose heads up OV’s Nature Kindergarten Facilitator Demonstration Project. 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.

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.

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. 

Maddy 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 anthroposophical art therapy.”

Thea joined OV in April to help support the delivery of the ‘Positive Start’ project. The project supports the delivery of the Victorian Government funded ‘Positive Start’ program. The focus is to assist 80,000 children to attend a free camp during 2022 who wouldn’t have normally had the opportunity to attend.

OV’S role will be to assist in supporting approximately 10,000 young people to attend Journey-based camp programs.

Thea’s role as Customer Service Officer will primarily be focused on being the ambassador for Outdoors Victoria and journey-based camps.Growing up in rural Victoria, Thea has a deep respect for the natural environment and a passion for outdoor activities. She is very excited to be working with OV to help re-engage Victorian kids with the great outdoors through journey-based camp programs!

Our Board

Richard has worked within the outdoor industry for over 25 years, working for small and large organisations around the world, including the YMCA, Outward Bound and The Prince’s Trust. He was the Chief Executive Office for The Outdoor Education Group (OEG) from January 2016 until recently. Previously, Richard was Chief Executive at the UK Sailing Academy, Deputy Director at The Prince’s Trust and Operations Director of Fairbridge UK, a youth charity.

He was also Chair of the Adventure Activities Industry Advisory Committee (www.aaiac.org), the UK’s lead body for safety in adventurous activities, an Accredited Practitioner through the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) and a member of the IOL Providers Group. Richard is currently a member of the Sports and Recreation Industry Reference Committee and Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee reviewing the Outdoor Recreation Training Package. He believes outdoor education is one of the most powerful tools in the development of skills for the real world. That by taking young people into the natural world, we can help them discover more about their own nature.

Bernie has worked in the Outdoor Education sector for almost 20 years. His career began professionally as a guide and leader, working across a range of sectors including in schools and with corporate organisations. He has worked both domestically and abroad. Bernie is a qualified teacher, having previously taught VCE Outdoor & Environmental Studies and Physical Education.  He is currently the Director of Experiential Education at Firbank Grammar School, a leading Melbourne school in outdoor and environmental education.

Bernie is most passionate about designing and facilitating purposeful and empowering educational programs that build character, address the issues of today and provide optimistic solutions for the future. He believes Outdoor Education allow us to focus on the critical skills and attributes that our students require to thrive in their world and throughout their futures.

Bernie is an active member of Alpine Search and Rescue and Bush Search and Rescue.

Sandy brings to the board a range of experience and expertise from across the Outdoor Education sector. She has worked as a freelancer, in corporate outdoor training, as a PE teacher and as an Outdoor Education Director in schools before moving into the tertiary sector where she has spent the past 3 decades developing and implementing Outdoor Education courses for Deakin University and Australian Catholic University. Sandy brings to the board a range of experience and expertise from across the Outdoor Education sector.

She has worked as a freelancer, in corporate outdoor training, as a PE teacher and as an Outdoor Education Director in schools before moving into the tertiary sector where she has spent the past 3 decades developing and implementing Outdoor Education courses for Deakin University and Australian Catholic University. As part of this process of curriculum and program development she has had the opportunity to work alongside multiple outdoor activity providers and outdoor pursuits associations in a wide range of natural environments. She has published in a range of areas including wages and conditions in the outdoor profession, outdoor education program outcomes, risk management, bush adventure therapy, leadership programs in developing nations and gender equity in outdoor and environmental education. Sandy has played an active role with the Victorian Outdoor Education Association (VOEA) the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) and Bushwalking Mountain Craft Training Advisory Board (BMTAB), in a variety of roles across many years. She is presently the National Coordinator for the Outdoor Leadership and Outdoor Education units across the multiple campuses of Australian Catholic University. She has been awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation, for outstanding contribution to student learning. Sandy believes that every person should have the opportunity to experience the joy and wellbeing that time in the outdoors can bring and the power these experiences can have for the ongoing protection and care of our natural environments and hopes that her role on the OV board will enable the support of initiatives and endeavours in all things “outdoors”.

Josh is a lecturer in the School of Education at Federation University; his teaching interests include outdoor education and science curriculum studies. Josh’s research focuses on different models of teaching and learning in middle years education (Year 9 programs). Josh has worked in several P-12 school contexts across Government, Independent and Catholic sectors. Josh has been actively involved in OV for several years, including a time on staff. He was the previous vice-president of Environment Education Victoria and has a strong working relationship with ACHPER Victoria, including receiving an ACHPER Honour award in 2020.

Alison has been a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for 20+ years.  She brings to the board a wealth of experience in financial strategy, planning and analysis as well as systems integration, legal and supply chain management.

She is currently the CFO of Sabrands, a privately owned wholesaler in the food, beverage and cleaning industries.

She is also the Director of Blacklight Distribution, a family business which is the importer and distributor of outdoor brands Nitro Snowboards and Mammut across Australia and New Zealand.

Her experience with the Nitro and Mammut brands has given her a great insight into the impact of recent events on the outdoor and snow industries and the need to support the industry and associated regional areas with appropriate education, funding and recognition to develop their resilience in difficult times.

Alison has three young adult children so also appreciates the benefits of exploring the outdoors as a family and the wellbeing that comes from spending time experiencing new adventures 

Amber has worked in tourism for over a decade. In 2019 Amber was appointed as the CEO of the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board. Previously she was the CEO Tourism North East, the regional tourism organisation charged with developing the long-term strategic vision for tourism in the High Country, North East Victoria. Prior to that she worked as the Director of Marketing, Sales & Business Development at Mt Buller, the most popular alpine resort in the State, along with a range of senior marketing positions in both Australia and the UK. As such, she is experienced at developing innovative ways to drive visitation and yield opportunities across diverse product portfolios, and driving collaboration between government, industry and community/interest groups.

Reegan is the Manager, Public Information and Warnings at Emergency Management Victoria.  Her role focuses on implementing best practice in the outputs of the Public Information Section in Victorian emergencies, though the management and improvement of warnings, media engagement and community information across all hazards.

Reegan has developed her operational capabilities in Public Information as part of incident management teams since 2007. In 2012 she represented Australia as the Public Information Officer in a cooperative research deployment to southern France, and undertook a study tour of the USA in 2015 to look at the provision of information during emergencies in major cities. Prior to working in emergency management, Reegan’s experience spans multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns, media management for national and international sporting events, promotion of some of the world’s biggest brands and a double degree in Business/Marketing and Communications/Public Relations.