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NSW Department of Education and Communities

Environmental Education

Environmental Centres

The Department has 25 Zoo and Environmental Education Centres located around NSW. They provide various programs to visiting school groups depending on the unique features of their location.  Programs offered are linked to NSW syllabus documents and stage groups.  Pre- and -post excursion support materials are provided. The teachers from the Centres can also work in schools to support school-based environment programs.

The Centres support schools:

  • by providing resources to help integrate environmental education across all KLAs;
  • by providing professional learning opportunities to teachers;
  • implement more sustainable practices in schools;
  • by providing opportunities for student learning and environmental leadership.

Regional Environmental Education Plan achievements 2011

Regional Environmental Education Plans help identify priority activities for annual funding. Read about the activities that were undertaken in each region during 2011.

Visit their websites:

Hunter/Central Coast
Illawarra and South East
New England
North Coast
South Western Sydney

Field trips and excursions

Integrating the excursion experience into the students learning at the right point in the program helps build a logical learning sequence and skill development for the students and allows to the teacher to build task complexity.  It also puts any knowledge developed prior to the excursion in a more meaningful context.

Out-of-school activities need to be planned and coordinated with the pre- and post-excursion activities.  For example, if your activities includes the development of mandatory field work then it is necessary to develop students' equipment skills and understanding of data gathering prior to the excursion and then use the data gathered on the day in meaningful analysis. All the EEC’s can advise on how best to integrate the pre- and post-activities with excursion content.

The Excursions Policy can be obtained from the DET intranet.

 Risk Assessment

Each EEC and ZEC has conducted Risk Assessments for activities they undertake.  Risk minimisation procedures in place are in accordance with the DET Risk Assessment guidelines.

Each Centre can provide you with Risk Assessment information for their location and for specific activities they undertake.   More information can be obtained from the DET Risk Assessment guidelines.


Learning for sustainability: The role and impact of Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres - Roy Ballantyne and Jan Packer, University of Queensland, 2008 (pdf 1.52 MB). The aims of the research was to improve understanding of the role and impact of nature-based environmental learning experiences, identify factors that facilitate learning for sustainability, and develop empirically-based principles to support Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres in providing effective education for sustainability.

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