Canoeing the Murray River as Outdoor Environmental Education: A Line of Flight

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


This plateau discusses my efforts to construct education experiences that are responsive to the state of the river. The Murray River, lying at the heart of Australia’s largest catchment, is used extensively in outdoor environmental education programs in south-eastern Australia. Since European settlement the river’s ecological health has declined considerably due to activities such as damming for irrigation and clearing of native vegetation. Colonialist notions of how the river ought to behave and be utilised have contributed to the river’s transformation physically, ecologically and culturally. In this critical reflection on practice and experiences I discuss two different outdoor environmental education approaches to encountering the Murray: the river as a venue for canoe journeys; and, the river as a place with a unique ecology, declining health and diverse human relationships and impacts. Contrasting these encounters I draw attention to the need for consideration of the epistemological and ontological dimensions of practice that may shape the educational consequences of experience.


Murray River Canoeing Place Outdoor environmental education Line of flight 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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