The Centre for Ecological Learning Incorporated (CEL) was founded to provide Earth-based, immersive, and meaningful education experiences about the natural world and our relationship with it, for both young people and adults. Our programs offer hands-on, facilitated experiences in nature, bushcraft and survival skills training, practical education for sustainable living, and education/advocacy skills on a range of crucial environmental issues.
In 2011, a group of environmental educators formed the Centre for Ecological Learning Incorporated (CEL) in order to take the successful local youth program, Bellingen EYE (Environmental Youth Experience) under its wing, and formalise its management structure. CEL is incorporated as a not-for-profit association, is listed on the Register of Environmental Organisations, and has been granted Deductible Gift Recipient status by the Australian Tax Office. CEL has established the Ecological Learning Fund, a Public Fund for the specific purpose of supporting our environmental education objectives through donations and gift funding.
Since 2011, CEL has received $150,000 in grant funding from the NSW Youth Opportunities program to run youth camps and leadership projects with Bellingen EYE. We have had more than 600 high school aged participants participate in our Bellingen EYE camps and projects since 2007.
In 2013, CEL began offering workshops and retreats for adults, partly funded by a small grant from Bellingen Shire Council. CEL also became a major force in establishing the Bellingen Shire Learning Alliance (BSLA), a network of 15 local groups who are working towards sustainability, and is now a leading member group.
CEL has worked with a range of partners over the years, including Bellingen High School, Bellingen Urban Landcare, Taronga Zoo, VicZoos, Cascade Environmental Education Centre, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Bellingen Shire Council.
In 2015, the Centre for Ecological Learning Inc became registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and was endorsed as a Tax Concession Charity (TCC).