Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

The Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW and Sutherland Shire Environment Centre proudly present the 34thEnvironmental Education Conference ActiveNature: Learning, Citizenship and Activism for Sustainability.

Call for abstracts for conference presentations, short talks, workshops and posters have now closed.

About the Conference

The conference will explore the role education plays in bringing about meaningful change that protects the environment for future generations. This includes changes at household and government levels – changes from the kitchen to the Cabinet – that strengthen communities and protect nature.

This year’s program will focus on the role of education and educators in:

  • building learning pathways towards a deeper understanding of citizenship
  • improving understanding of activism in achieving a sustainable world
  • strengthening and making more explicit our collective focus on longer term change.

All presenters are asked to clearly demonstrate how their initiatives and programs link with the concepts of citizenship and activism. We encourage you to tell stories, make links, draw out lessons, highlight achievements and indicate possibilities for strengthening the focus on building active citizenship in your work. Please read the conference framing paper for a full explanation of this concept.

Who should contribute?

Environment and sustainability educators, environmental advocacy groups, bushcare and landcare facilitators, environmental activists, school teachers, early childhood educators, businesses, anyone who cares about our environment. We welcome contributions directly from young grass-roots activists and people with fresh perspectives on these long term issues.


Call for Abstracts Information

Submissions should address one of the conference themes below.

Theme 1. Active in Nature – building learning pathways

This theme looks at the value of connecting people to natural environments and how immersive experiences in nature may encourage people to act for nature. Presentations in this theme may explore the positive contributions of nature-based activities, how we can encourage people of all ages who value natural areas to act for the environment, and how we can build learning pathways to develop more engaged citizens. Examples of papers in this theme may include:

  • Citizen science projects building environmental knowledge, values and action
  • Bushcare and community gardening initiatives – the value of community contributions
  • Aboriginal interpretation of natural areas and heritage protection
  • Local government walks and talks – raising awareness and then what?
  • Deep connections – where do they lead?
  • The value of urban nature – nature as the teacher in early learning
  • Pathways from experience to action

Theme 2. Active for Nature – citizenship and advocacy

This theme examines different perspectives on environmental citizenship, reflecting on the meaning of activism, the scope of activities it may incorporate and how educators can facilitate significant change. Presentations may look at how we can cultivate engaged citizens in schools, early childhood services, businesses and broader community contexts. This topic also encourages discussion of how environmental groups encourage diversity and engagement with non-traditional audiences. Examples of presentations in this theme may include:

  • Young people leading solutions to climate change
  • How to – schools cultivating engaged citizens without promoting a singular position
  • Aboriginal perspectives on environmental activism
  • What is pro-environmental behaviour in a child care context?
  • What is advocacy? What is activism?  How to be an advocate?
  • Diverse voices – how culturally diverse groups are contributing to advocacy
  • Beyond the usual suspects – how your group is reaching new audiences
  • ‘But I’m not an activist’ – what actions matter, what conversations matter
  • What have you learnt from being active in your community?

Theme 3. Active by Nature – educating for future generations

This theme invites reflection on the role of educators in strengthening and inspiring our collective focus on longer term change. Papers may reflect on who should be educating whom if we wish to bring about long term change. How does your project/group educate, build community, change culture and help to shift political opinion and government policy? How can we sustain these changes into the future? Examples of presentations in this theme may include:

  • Future generations – how your work is encouraging a focus on longer term policies
  • Case studies – how is your group educating politicians and industry about environmental issues such as climate change, waste management, recycling and land clearing?
  • Pushing up – how has your project or group been influencing leaders and decision-makers?
  • Organisations and individuals building sustainable practices – who drives and who enacts initiatives that bring real change
  • Intergenerational equity – empowering future citizens

Types of Presentation

Snapshots: speakers will present for 8 minutes to provide a concise overview of their project or proposition including its aims, approaches and results. Snapshots should inspire others to follow up with you in person or online to learn more.

Presentations: speakers will present for 20 minutes on their work, including 5 minutes for questions and feedback.

Workshops: a limited number of high quality, relevant 45 minute workshops will be accepted with high levels of interaction and/or experiential learning. This may include a workshop, nature walk, outdoor activity, film or performance with discussion. Clearly indicate in your submission how you will make effective use of the time available.

Key points when submitting an abstract

  • All abstracts must be submitted on the template provided
  • A 100 word speaker bio must be provided at the time of submission
  • 300 word limit for abstract
  • Include a photo of yourself at least 500 x 500px with your submission
  • All abstracts received will be passed onto the conference committee for review
  • The committee will notify successful speakers by early July 2019
  • All successful abstracts will be compiled and made available on the conference website
  • Confirmed presenters will be required to register for the conference and pay the relevant registration fees.

Further information: Send the committee a message or call Phil Smith on 0412 338 687


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