Developing Place-responsive Encounters with the Murray River: Deterritorialising Outdoor Environmental Education

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


How Australians experience a place such as the Murray River has been extensively shaped by our colonial heritage. Colonisation has left behind an intellectual legacy in the way Australians conceptualise nature. In this plateau I discuss how educational experiences might be conceptualised, and indeed carried out, as small acts of decolonisation. At a practical level, outdoor environmental education experiences of the Murray that do not make reference to the particulars of the place, such as the current declining ecological health of the Murray, might well be read as continuing acts of colonisation. In order to decolonise encounters with places, such as the Murray River, I suggest that outdoor environmental education pedagogy develop experiences that are place specific and responsive. In this critical reflection on practice, I draw on student encounters with the Murray River to highlight ways of placing personal experiential learning into a broader cultural context in order to counter colonialist understandings of nature and foster deeper awareness of our relationships with this river and this land.


Murray River, canoeing, place, outdoor environmental education, deterritorialisation 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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