What is Take Me Outside NSW?
Take Me Outside NSW offers a free 'one-stop environmental-shop' for teachers, educators, community volunteers, and state government and council staff to connect and develop programs and activities to help young people get healthy and active in our environment.
What makes Take Me Outside NSW different from other outdoor environmental days and activities?
There are so many wonderful environmental days and activities already running successfully - and getting kids outside in nature isn't a new concept! What makes Take Me Outside NSW different is that we are encouraging project participants to choose a project that kids can have a long-term, ongoing involvement in. This builds on best practice principles and seeks to enhance the environmental benefit of each project, encourages kids to stay committed as active environmental citizens to a longer-term outcome and encourages on-going local partnerships to achieve success.
How did Take Me Outside NSW come about?
The name and concept of the project has been taken from Take Me Outside Canada, a not-for-profit organisation committed to educating and creating awareness with Canadians about their connection with nature and time spent outside. Since it started in 2011, Take Me Outside Canada has worked collaboratively with other organisations, schools and individuals to help more than 1 million youth spend more time outside through various advocacy projects and initiatives.
In 2016, the Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW Chapter began discussions with Take Me Outside Canada to bring the program to Australia. A grant from the NSW Government, through its Environmental Trust, has provided the funding to launch Take Me Outside in NSW in 2019.
Who is running Take Me Outside NSW?
The Australian Association for Environmental Education, NSW Chapter (AAEE NSW). Since 1976, AAEE NSW has worked collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to promote education for sustainability in NSW.
AAEE NSW is:
- the NSW professional association representing those with a passion for education for sustainability (EfS), both in paid and voluntary capacities, from all sectors and industries;
- part of a national organisation that represents environmental and sustainability educators across Australia. Our activities complement and extend what is being done nationally;
- responsible for providing high-quality EfS services to members in NSW including our biennial state conference, grant projects, awards, scholarships and the revitalisation of the Sustainable Schools NSW program;
- a not-for-profit, incorporated, member-based, non-government organisation that is guided by our vision, mission, core principles and strategic priorities; and
- committed to promoting and using Make the Change: A Framework for education and engagement for environmental sustainability 2014-2021 to help achieve its Strategic Plan.
Who should register a project?
Any organisation who regularly cares for, educates, or manages children in a formal or semi-formal enrolled setting is really well placed to register a Take Me Outside NSW project. This could include:
- early learning centres, preschools and day care centres
- primary schools
- after school care or school holiday care centres
- nature schools
- high schools
- sports teams
- community-based student groups (scouts, community service providers)
- youth groups or faith-based groups
What kind of project could we register?
A Take Me Outside NSW project could be carried out in unused natural space in your grounds, outside of school grounds in a local space, or even if you have limited outdoor space. Project ideas include planting and bush regeneration, habitat creation or maintenance (frog ponds, nest boxes, gardens, insect hotels), creek and waterways care, litter reduction, composting or recycling projects. See a list of ideas to inspire you on our Project Ideas page.
What support do I get for my project?
When you register your project as a Take Me Outside NSW project you will receive free support all year long:
- we’ll help you along the way with connections, resources, troubleshooting and evaluation
- regular e-newsletters full of tips, tricks and inspiration to keep your project on track
- access to resources and support to help your project make a real difference
- annual video and photo competitions to showcase your success
- email and phone support - we're with you all the way!
Does it cost anything to register or participate?
No - registering a project, or pledging to be a supporter is completely free. However, projects that are registered will be followed up to see if the project was completed and evaluation data will be requested to help us monitor the on-ground environmental benefits of projects and the impacts of getting kids outside.
Who should pledge to be a supporter?
Organisations who can provide resources, space, expertise, time or access to help project participants carry out their project successfully and effectively could consider pledging to be a supporter. This could include:
- local councils
- state government agencies
- commercial agencies like Exchange for Change
- Landcare groups
- community groups
- Environmental and Zoo Education Centers (EZECs)
- Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) such as environmental charities & not-for-profits.
- youth support and faith-based organisations
- community gardens
What is involved in being a supporter?
Support from organisations like councils, state government agencies, not-for-profits, community groups and commercial organisations can make a huge difference to the quality and effectiveness of school-based and student-led outdoor education projects by providing expertise, space for projects to be carried out, resources or other support. The level or type of support you or your organisation provides is totally up to you. The main thing is being available for project participants to contact you to seek your support when and if necessary.
There's some great benefits to your organisation to like:
- Promoting your programs & services
- Supporting kids to get active in nature
- Connecting with local schools and support organisations
- Being listed as a supporter on our website
- Extending your networks and influence
- Making a difference in a local project by providing expertise, space or resources
How can I get help with my project?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help however we can. You can also check out our Project Support page for ideas of how to link in with existing programs or supporters who have pledged to help in your area. We'll also be running a series of webchat sessions for anyone to dial in and ask a question.