We offer nature connection, cooperative group work, and leadership skills training for small to medium groups of young people.

What We Offer

CEL offers tried-and-true or specially-tailored camps and in-school programs for schools and community organisations, facilitated by experienced and qualified mentors. Our mentoring staff is made up of qualified and experienced educators who are keen to share their knowledge and passion with the young people you work with.

Who do we work with?

CEL is able to work with small to medium sized high school aged groups,  located on the east coast of Australia.

How much does it cost?

Each camp is unique and can be tailored to your specific needs. Costs will vary depending on the size of your group, your choice of venue, the number and types of activities that are included  and the specialist mentors involved.

Our camp coordinators will asses your needs and draft a number of program and budget options to allow your school or organisation to provide the best option for your students.

Contact us to start planning your next camp or activity.

How do I book?

Simply request an Info Pack or contact us  to arrange a discussion with one of our Camp Coordinators.

Who we’ve worked with

The CEL team has worked collaboratively with a number of other organisations:

  • Chrysalis School for Steiner Education
  • North Coast Settlement Services
  • Bellingen High School
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Cascade Environmental Education Centre
  • NSW Government Youth Opportunities
  • Bellingen Shire Learning Alliance
  • Jalligirr Alliance

Camps for young people

  • Leaders for Tomorrow Camp

    These camps offer schools the chance to take leadership training one step further. Participants work with knowledgeable mentors to explore the challenging environmental issues of our time in a meaningful, relevant and balanced way. Participants are then given the chance to develop the interpersonal and group work skills needed to become change agents. Youth-to-youth mentoring, cooperative games and drama exercises, small group work in “tribes”, and our famous “camp challenges” all offer opportunities for long term interpersonal skills development.

  • Go Bush Camp

    For those who are looking to help their students “disconnect to reconnect”, we offer Go Bush!, a Bush Skills Camp where participants experience deep connection to nature and learn primitive bush skills such as fire making, tracking, blindfolded orienteering, and bush tucker. Fun and challenging group exercises ensure that students experience connection to each other as well as to nature.

  • Art of Nature Camp

    Here, we invite local artists to share their knowledge and passion with students. An amazing array of nature art topics are on offer:  fibre craft (harvesting, dying with natural plants, weaving, and cordage making); earth based sculpture and recycled art; earth based movement (yoga, tai chi, “eco-ninja”); and nature music (body percussion; nature inspired music composition, instruments from “found” materials).

The Centre for Ecological Learning has worked with Zoos Victoria’s Youth at the Zoo (YATZ) members for the past two years, sharing their knowledge and passion for the natural world by helping us deliver nature education workshops and overnight camps.

The YATZ members are an extraordinary group of young people who all share a passion for the conservation of species worldwide. However a majority of members live in metropolitan area’s around Melbourne which means their connection to the natural environment is limited.

“CEL practitioners worked with us to develop an overnight camp program that would not only see our YATZ members experience the natural world but also build the skills, knowledge and awareness to connect to the natural world. As a part of the camp, YATZ members participate in a dynamic program of games and activities designed and delivered by the CEL practitioners.  Following the camp’s we have run with CEL, YATZ members have always commented on how amazing the ‘sit spots’ were, how they feel more aware of the world around them, and the closeness they feel with both the natural environment and the other people who attended the camp.”

– Cyrelle Field, Learning Programs Coordinator, Zoos Victoria

What the research says…

Why should young people “reconnect” with the natural world?

Evidence supporting the importance of re-connecting youth and nature is reverberating throughout the local and international academic community.  Studies are emerging stressing the importance of a connection with the natural world1, and terms such as nature deficit disorder2 are being coined as the negative consequences on young people’s disconnection from nature are being investigated.   Increased contact with nature is associated with positive effects on children’s health, behaviour, and learning3.  Our camps provide a bridge between young people and their natural environment that gives them a sense of belonging, inspires them to learn, and empowers them to become agents of change.

Our specialty is working with high school class groups or specific high school groups of up to 40 students (i.e. Student Leadership Council, Student Environment Group, Geography/Science/Social Science/Art classes, students at risk.)

At the Centre for Ecological Learning, we can design an eco-learning camp to meet your group’s needs, and we also have some tried and true camp formats that could be exactly what you are looking for.

What others say about us

“Being out in the bush at camp is kind of indescribable….we are in the forest, dancing and making wild noises in our tribe….and it’s like we are ourselves, our real raw selves, and we aren’t hiding anything and it is okay……and so much fun!”

SavannahAge 16

“A fun adventurous holiday with all my friends… The mentors on this camp are both incredible role models and beautiful, fun, smart people! I also love getting to know new people and making new friends, that is definitely also a stand out. The bonds you form on a camp like this are tight, family like bonds. I think jEYE provides the perfect balance between education and fun and provides important life skills. I love going on jEYE so much.”

EllaAge 14

“…EYE has transformed the ways I live my life, creating a space that furthers my own sense of self and the way I interact with the natural world.”

ZiannaAge 18

“My daughter is a girl of the great indoors. Over the years that she has attended EYE camps she has gained a real appreciation of the natural world and is much more comfortable and confident with her place in it as a consequence.

I think more real learning is to be had on a 3 day EYE camp than a term at school – learning about working with others in a group; learning about thinking independently; learning about the world around us; learning new skills and learning about responsibility. It has also been great fun. EYE is an invaluable part of my daughter’s education.”

Linda Parent

Refer to Health Benefits to Children from Contact with the Outdoors and Nature”, a summary of research by the Children and Nature Network, available via their website: www.childrenandnature.org/research/

2  Louv,  Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder: Algonquin Books; 2008.

3  Martin, Dr. Karen. “Putting Nature back into Nurture: The Benefits of Nature for Children.”   A Literature Review prepared for the Department of Sport and Recreation, Government of Western Australia, February 2011.