Queer Nature Connection: Creating More Inclusive Outdoor Experiences for LGBTQIA+ Folks

Thursday 26th May
Session 4
3.45 pm-4.35 pm
Room: TBA
Outdoor Businesses & NFP’s Health & Wellbeing  

What are the practicalities and flow-on effects of creating more inclusive outdoor spaces for LGBTQIA+ folks?

In this experiential nature-connection workshop, we will offer a taste of some activities we use to create a felt sense of inclusion and belonging for our LGBTQIA+ participants.

We will learn about the diversity that exists in nature and the possibilities that the natural world offers us of life beyond the binary.

There will also be a chance to discuss how organisations can make their experiences more inclusive.

Everyone welcome, no matter your sexuality or gender identity. (Cis-gendered and straight folks very welcome!)

Queer Nature Connection (QNC), is a branch of nature connection not-for-profit organisation Firekeepers, it was created in 2019 to support the mental health and wellbeing of queer (LGBTQIA+) individuals and communities. Our mission is in reconnecting queer (LGBTQIA+) folks to nature, ancestors, land, each other & the more-than-human world. Reclaiming the gifts of queerness, queer rites of passage, re-skilling and building earth based queer community.

QNC creates safe and inclusive events for LGBTQIA+ people to access the natural world and connect to nature in new ways. Our nature connection workshops, held both in nature and online, support LGBQTIA+ people and their communities to cultivate and reimagine relationship with the natural world, their community and themselves, deepening their connection with nature, fostering positive wellbeing and peer relationships and building resilience.

Queer Nature Connection is run by a group of dedicated and experienced mentors. Our Head Outside sessions are run by Mel (they/she) and Ollie (he/him).

happy person in the Outdoors with tree and mountain landscape in the background

Melissa Turnbull

Firekeepers Incorporated & Queer Nature Connection

Mel Turnbull (they): Founder and CEO of Firekeepers has been running Nature Connection programs since 2016. Mel has worked with young people for 25 years, in outdoor education, secondary school, circus/gymnastics coach roles and coordinated a leadership program for LGBTIQ+ rural young leaders. Mel is passionate about building community and bridging connection between humans and nature. Mel has postgraduate studies in Mental Health Nursing and identifies as non-binary and queer.

happy person in the Outdoors with tree and mountain landscape in the background

Oliver Fabinyi

Queer Nature Connection

Ollie Fabinyi (he): Volunteer with QNC, on the Head Outside program since 2020. He is a secondary school teacher, parent and advocate, with a background in legal education. Ollie identifies as transmasculine and queer. He has taught in a wide range of schools including specialist education settings and camps, and has significant experience working with young people with complex needs. He is passionate about supporting queer and gender diverse young people in and out of schools.