Re/Creating Australian Outdoor Environmental Education Pedagogy: Becoming-Speckled Warbler

Part of the International Explorations in Outdoor and Environmental Education book series (IEOEE)


In this plateau I employ Deleuze and Guattari’s (A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia (trans: Massumi B). University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1987) conceptual figuration of becoming-animal to explore ways that the life and circumstances of the speckled warbler might inform natural history focused Australian environmental education research. The speckled warbler and other woodland birds of south-eastern Australia have declined dramatically since European settlement; many species are at risk of becoming locally and/or nationally extinct. Coincidently, Australian environmental education research of the last decade has largely been silent on the development of pedagogy that reflects the natural history of this continent (Stewart, Aust J Environ Educ 22:85–97, 2006). The current circumstances that face the speckled warbler, I argue, are emblematic of both the state of woodland birds of south-eastern Australia, and the condition of natural history pedagogy within Australian environmental education research. The epistemology and ontology of becoming-speckled warbler offers a basis to reconsider and strengthen links between Australian natural history pedagogy and notions of sustainability.


Becoming-animal Deleuze and Guattari Natural history Speckled warbler Outdoor environmental education 


  1. Birkhead, T. (2008). The wisdom of birds: An illustrated history of ornithology. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  2. Colebrook, C. (2002a). Gilles Deleuze. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Colebrook, C. (2002b). Understanding Deleuze. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  4. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1983). Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (R. Hurley, M. Seem, & H. R. Lane, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  5. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia (B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fawcett, L. (2009). Feral sociality and (un)natural histories: On nomadic ethics and embodied learning. In M. McKenzie, P. Hart, H. Bai, & B. Jickling (Eds.), Fields of green: Restorying culture, environment, and education (pp. 227–236). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  7. Figgis, P. (2003). The changing face of nature conservation: Reflections on the Australian experience. In W. M. Adams & M. Mulligan (Eds.), Decolonizing nature: Strategies for conservation in a post-colonial era (pp. 197–219). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  8. Flannery, T. (1994). The future eaters: An ecological history of the Australasian lands and people. Sydney, Australia: New Holland.Google Scholar
  9. Ford, H. A., Barrett, G. W., Saunders, D. A., & Recher, H. F. (2001). Why have birds in the woodlands of southern Australia declined? Biological Conservation, 97, 71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gardner, J. L. (2002). Breeding biology of the speckled warbler, Chthonicola sagittata. Australian Journal of Zoology, 50, 169–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gardner, J. L. (2004). Winter flocking behaviour of speckled warblers and the Allee effect. Biological Conservation, 118, 195–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gardner, J. L., & Heinsohn, R. G. (2007). Probable consequences of high female mortality for speckled warblers living in habitat remnants. Biological Conservation, 135, 473–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gough, N. (2004). RhizomANTically becoming-cyborg: Performing posthuman pedagogies. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 253–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gough, N. (2006). Shaking the tree, making a rhizome: Toward a nomadic geophilosophy of science education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38(5), 625–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gough, N. (2009a). Becoming transnational: Rhizosemiosis, complicated conversations and curriculum inquiry. In M. McKenzie, P. Hart, H. Bai, & B. Jickling (Eds.), Fields of green: Restorying culture, environment, and education (pp. 67–83). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gough, N. (2009b). How do places become ‘pedagogical’? In M. Somerville, J. K. Power, & P. de Carteret (Eds.), Landscapes and learning: Place studies for a global world (pp. 155–173). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Gregoriou, Z. (2004). Commencing the rhizome: Towards a minor philosophy of education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 233–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamilton-Smith, E. (1998, April 16–19). Changing assumptions underlying National Park systems. Paper presented at the Celebrating the Parks: A symposium on Parks history, Mt. Buffalo.Google Scholar
  19. Harper, R. J., Beck, A. C., Ritson, P., Hill, M. J., Mitchell, C. D., Barrett, D. J., et al. (2007). The potential of greenhouse sinks to underwrite improved land management. Ecological Engineering, 29, 329–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Higgins, P. J., & Peter, J. M. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds. Volume 6: Pardalotes to shrike-thrushes. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Jickling, B. (2009). Environmental education research: To what ends? Environmental Education Research, 15(2), 209–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lather, P. (1991). Getting smart: Feminist research and pedagogy with/in the postmodern. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lindenmayer, D. (2007). On borrowed time: Australia’s environmental crisis and what we must do about it. Camberwell, Australia: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. Mac Nally, R. (2008). The lag dæmon: Hysteresis in rebuilding landscapes and implications for biodiversity futures. Journal of Environmental Management, 88(4), 1202–1211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mac Nally, R., & Bennett, A. F. (1997). Species-specific predictions of the impact of habitat fragmentation: Local extinction of birds in the box-ironbark forests of central Victoria, Australia. Biological Conservation, 82, 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mac Nally, R., Bennett, A. F., Thomson, J. R., Radford, J. Q., Unmack, G., Horrocks, G., et al. (2009). Collapse of an avifauna: Climate change appears to exacerbate habitat loss and degradation. Diversity and Distributions, 15, 70–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. MacCormack, P. (2001). Becoming hu-man: Deleuze and Guattari, gender and 3rd rock from the Sun. Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, Autumn, 1.
  28. Main, G. (2005). Heartland: The regeneration of rural place. Sydney, Australia: UNSW Press.Google Scholar
  29. Major, R. E., Christie, F. J., & Gowing, G. (2001). Influence of remnant and landscape attributes on Australian woodland bird communities. Biological Conservation, 102, 47–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Martin, W. K., Eyears-Chaddock, M., Wilson, B. R., & Lemon, J. (2004). The value of habitat reconstruction to birds in Gunnedah, New South Wales. Emu, 104, 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Massumi, B. (1992). A user’s guide to capitalism and schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari. Cambridge, Massachusettes: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. McKenna, M. (2002). Looking for Blackfella’s Point: An Australian history of place. Sydney, Australia: UNSW Press.Google Scholar
  33. McKenzie, M. (2009). Scholarship as intervention: Critique, collaboration and the research imagination. Environmental Education Research, 15(2), 217–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paton, D., & O’Connor, J. (2010). The state of Australia’s birds 2009: Restoring woodland habitats for birds. Carlton, Australia: Birds Australia.Google Scholar
  35. Paton, D. C. (2010). At the end of the river: The Coorong and lower lakes. Hindmarsh, Australia: ATF Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Radford, J. Q., Bennett, A. F., & Cheers, G. J. (2005). Landscape-level thresholds of habitat cover for woodland-dependent birds. Biological Conservation, 124, 317–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Recher, H. F. (1999). The state of Australia’s avifauna: A personal opinion and prediction for the new millennium. Australian Zoologist, 31(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robertson, O. J., & Radford, J. Q. (2009). Gap-crossing decisions of forest birds in a fragmented landscape. Austral Ecology, 34, 435–446.Google Scholar
  39. Robin, L. (1998). Defending the Little Desert. Melbourne. Melbourne, Australia: University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Robin, L. (2001). Flight of the emu: A hundred years of Australian ornithology, 1901–2001. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Robin, L. (2007). How a continent created a nation. Sydney, Australia: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
  42. Robin, L., Heinsohn, R., & Joseph, L. (Eds.). (2009). Boom and bust: Bird stories for a dry country. Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  43. Roy, K. (2004). Overcoming nihilism: From communication to Deleuzian expression. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 297–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seddon, G. (1994). Search for the Snowy: An environmental history. St Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  45. Semetsky, I. (2004a). Becoming-language/becoming-other: Whence ethics? Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 313–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Semetsky, I. (2004b). Experiencing Deleuze. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 227–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Semetsky, I. (2006). Deleuze, education and becoming. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sinclair, P. (2001). The Murray: A river and its people. Carlton South, Australia: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Somerville, M. J. (2007). Becoming frog: A primary school place pedagogy. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education 2007 International Educational Research Conference, Fremantle.
  50. St. Pierre, E. A. (2004). Deleuzian concepts for education: The subject undone. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36(3), 283–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stewart, A. (2006). Seeing the trees and the forest: Attending to Australian natural history as if it mattered. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 22(2), 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stewart, A., & Müller, G. (2009). Toward a pedagogy for Australian natural history: Learning to read and learning content. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 25, 105–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vesk, P. A., & Mac Nally, R. (2006). The clock is ticking—Revegetation and habitat for birds and arboreal mammals in rural landscapes of southern Australia. Agricultral Ecosystems and Environment, 112, 356–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vesk, P. A., Nolan, R., Thomson, J. R., Dorrough, J. W., & Mac Nally, R. (2008). Time lags in the provision of habitat resources through revegetation. Biological Conservation, 141, 174–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Weston, A. (1994). Back to Earth: Tomorrow’s environmentalism. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

Personalised recommendations