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


I sit in my canoe on the river’s edge with a clear line of sight straight out into the adjacent woodland. Most years the river would sit about three metres lower down in its bed. It is early February 2011 and I have returned to the Murray River in north-west Victoria with students to undertake our annual 3 week canoe journey down the river. It is the height of summer and 40 °C yet the river is in full flood. We drift quickly with the river, manoeuvring around snags and trees, barely having to paddle. My favourite campsites and sandy beaches are three metres under water. Usually dry creeks fill billabongs and backwaters that teem with life. We observe kangaroos and wallabies swim-hop across creeks and wetlands. Raucous ibis, spoonbills and cormorants nest in huge colonies high in the branches of flooded trees. Rarely seen Murray crayfish, 40 cm long, climb up the trunks of flooded river red gums, poking their pincers out of the water. Sadly also, large old Murray cod float dead on the river, the causality of blackwater and a river flooded too infrequently. The river is unlike anything I have experienced before on this section. Such new experiences of the river suggest to me a new river. The floodwaters at once act to renew the health of the riverscape, my hope for the river and my pedagogy …


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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