Special Guests

Youth Ambassadors


Our team of Youth Ambassadors are a diverse mix of young people with varying skills, interests and experiences. Most Youth Ambassadors have volunteered with Wild Mob on conservation expeditions previously and thus seeded a desire to further their engagement. New members are always welcome to join and be part of a dynamic team that works collaboratively and collectively for visible impact and change.

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson PhD OA


Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson PhD OA retired from formal academic work at the end of 2010. She co-researched and co-authored the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Task Force on Violence Report for the Queensland government. Her book, Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines The transgenerational effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia, was shortlisted for an Australian Human Rights Award.

In 2006 she won the Carrick Neville Bonner Award for her curriculum development and innovative teaching practice. In 2011 she received the Fritz Redlich Award for Human Rights and Mental Health, from the Harvard University Global Mental Health Trauma and Recovery program, of which she is a graduate.

She is presently Patron of the We Al-li Trust, as she continues to work across Australia and in Papua New Guinea on community based violence – trauma specific recovery programs. She works with the University of Wollongong in the development of specialized postgraduate programs such as the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Trauma Care and Recovery Practice designed specifically to build an Indigenous trauma skilled workforce.

She also serves on a number of International advisory bodies: The board of Independent Academic Research Studies on Restorative Justice (IARS -RJ) based in London; a member of the international advisory group for Humanity United, an US Philanthropic Foundation supported by the Omidyar family, dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom; and a member of a group of scholars involved in a 5 year project on Historical Trauma and Memory: Postcolonial Legacies and the Meaning of Being Human, based at the Centre for Historical Trauma and Transformation Studies based at Stellenbosch University South Africa.

View Judy’s TEDx Talk:

Dr. Gregory P. Smith


Dr Gregory P. Smith is a Forgotten Australian born in Tamworth, NSW in 1955. He and four of his siblings were surrendered to an orphanage in 1966. He was considered a problem child (‘uncontrollable’), diagnosed as a ‘sociopath’ with mid-range intelligence, and was in and out of institutions until 1974. Following his release from ‘care’ Gregory searched in vain for the skills to live a fruitful and rewarding life but became increasingly disillusioned with society and lived on the fringe as a recluse in a Northern NSW rainforest where he spent his time reflecting and reading important authors such as Douglas Adams. In 2000, through catharsis and serendipity, Gregory decided to give society one more chance, walked out of the forest and began to explore life from a different perspective. His life was transformed. In 2007 he completed a degree in Social Science, obtaining an honours (1st Class). Gregory completed his PhD in 2015.

Andy Hamilton


Andy Hamilton is a psychologist with over 18 years’ experience working in the mental health, drug and alcohol and justice fields. He has been head clinician and program manager of the Recre8 Bush Adventure Therapy Program for the past ten years, having helped pioneer the innovative program whilst he was a Youth Drug Outreach Psychologist at INTRA, The Buttery Rehabilitation’s drug and alcohol outreach service. He now runs the Recre8 Program as director of the not-four-profit organisation he founded in the Far North Coast of New South Wales: Human Nature Adventure Therapy (

He is passionate about facilitating transformation and healing in young people and feels that collaborative partnerships and multi-disciplinary approaches offer enormous opportunity for expanding the depth and breadth of great therapeutic work in Bush Adventure Therapy. He also has previously worked in a variety of community sector roles including in the mental health field to support people with severe psychiatric disability, those in crisis experiencing homelessness and juvenile offenders.

Pre and Post Forum Workshops

Bush Adventure Therapy 101

Pete Rae, Beccy Harth, Lani Pereira


Session day: Thursday 8th August
Session duration: 1 Day

Pete, Beccy and Lani are all members of The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc. They each have extensive history running and managing Bush Adventure Therapy Programs for people in need.

Expanding the Adventure - A one day experiential workshop learning with the help of horses

Kylie Peters


Session day: Thursday 8th August
Session duration: 1 Day

Bush Adventure Therapy Research Symposium - Where research and evidence meets practice and policy


Session day: Wednesday 7th August
Session duration: 1 Day

Pre Forum Expedition


Session day: Wednesday 7th August
Session duration: 2 Days

This page will be populated as the program develops. Be sure to sign up for our enewsletter or follow our facebook page for updates.

General Sessions

'Glowing in the dark' - how a father and son found connection through therapeutic caving

Nathan Furphy, Kate Neocleous, Marg Jans


Nathan has worked in the Outdoor education field for the past 19 years in a variety of public and private sector roles. The majority of his work has been facilitating and running extended trips both interstate and more commonly in his home state of Victoria.
As a freelance instructor he has gained extensive experience working with school groups general public and the more specialised field of training and assessing in a number of outdoor pursuits. After spending some time being the program manager for a large adventure camp and raising a small family Nathan then began employment with Berry Street and the Wilderness Program. Using skills and knowledge gained throughout time in the outdoors, Nathan began to help develop and cement the ideas and practises involved with the Program.
Nathan has also been involved in the formal evaluation of the Wilderness Program and continues to develop collaboratively, with other workers to improve and implement new parts to the current program.
Nathan has a passion for the environment and the great outdoors and with his family enjoys participating in a variety of pursuits

Kate Neocleous
Kate has worked as a Senior Clinician with the Berry Street Take Two Stronger Families program for 6 years working with children who are at risk of being removed from their family or who have been recently reunified with their family. Kate’s background includes social welfare, family therapy and EMDR therapy. Kate has a passion for working with children and their families to strengthen relationships and promote healing from past hurts. Kate’s approach to therapeutic work utilises a trauma informed, and attachment based framework and has recently incorporated the use of the Berry Street Wilderness program as an adjunct therapeutic approach.

Marg Jans
Marg has 15 years of work experience was working with individuals with a disability in both the behavioural and forensic teams before moving to the Berry Street Take Two team 4 years ago. Marg works as a clinician in the Regional Take Two team over the past 4 years. Marg has an educational background of forensic disability, counselling and expressive therapies. Marg’s current role with Take Two involves working with children and young people referred by Department of Health and Humans Services, Child Protection on Statutory order and live in out of home care. Marg has a strong interest in working with young people, with the intention of helping them make sense of their experiences and build their internal resources to achieve safety and stability in their lives.

Doug Moczynski
Doug has worked in the field of adventure base experiences for the past 15 years, he has a passion for using the outdoors to help vulnerable young people realise their potential and self-worth.
Coming from an adventure guiding background, Doug began working for Berry Street in 2009 and has spent his time since further developing and improving the Berry Street Wilderness Program, where he and his team take some of Victoria’s most vulnerable young people into the bush for extended journeys. Helping them to gain a positive experience of success within a small group.

Adventure program that builds life skills, identity and belonging in young people with Autism and other disabilities.

Leighton Smith


Connecting the body, mind and spirit through our senses; the why and how.

Kaya Lyons


Session duration: 90 minutes

Kaya is a dynamic Occupational Therapist who is driven to find the ‘key’ to unlock every child’s unique abilities in order to achieve success in life. Kaya is the director of Active OT For Kids and developer and leading therapist of Camp Reset.

She has extensive training and experience working with children with autism, trauma, and complex needs.

She values the importance of play, attachment and being active. As a mother of three children she also understands the constant challenge to find balance in life.

Cross-fertilising Bush Adventure Therapy and Contemporary Green Perspectives within Social Work Education: Describing the investigative and collaborative path taken and providing findings and recommendations to consider new settings.

Amanda Smith, Professor Donna McAuliffe, Dr Anita Pryor


Session duration: 60 minutes

Ms Amanda Smith is a Lecturer in Social Work at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. She has 17 years’ experience in Human Services and has practiced in diverse roles in the government and community sectors including housing and homelessness, trauma recovery, community development, youth and family violence. Amanda founded a BAT program within a national NGO service and designed, facilitated and evaluated numerous BAT programs. She was the former national chair of (AABAT) and is determined to collaborate with colleagues and peers to extend the social work curriculum to explore ways of integrating environmental social work and bush adventure therapy together into the broader social work discourse that is meaningful to both BAT and Social Work.

Professor Donna McAuliffe is Head of School and Professor in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University. She has diverse professional practice experience. Donna has been actively involved with the Australian Association of Social Work for over 30 years and led the last revision of the AASW Code of Ethics (2010). She is a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Social Work. She is co-author of the 5th edition text ‘Road to Social Work and Human Service Practice’ and sole author of the book ‘Interprofessional Ethics: Collaboration in the Social, Health and Human Services’. Donna’s current research agenda is in ‘e-professionalism’, the ethics of social media.

Dr Anita Pryor is a co-director of Adventure Works Australia. She has over 20 years of experience in BAT spanning roles of practitioner, manager, trainer and researcher in relation to BAT programs for young people, adults and families in areas of mental health, drug treatment, and a range of other complex needs. Her PhD (Public Health) was on practices and wellbeing benefits of Australian Outdoor Adventure Interventions. In the last 10 years she has undertaken research and policy work in areas of mental health, drug misuse and youth homelessness, and lead research in approximately 10 evaluations of BAT services. She played key roles in establishing a national peak body (AABAT) and international peak body (ATIC), and co-developed a graduate level course for BAT practitioners.

Dr Jennifer Boddy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Griffith University and the Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching). She is also on the executive committee for the Australian and New Zealand Social Work, Welfare, Education and Research (ANZSWWER) Association. Jennifer is passionate about creating healthy, sustainable environments, free from violence, for all people and particularly those who are marginalised and disadvantaged. Jennifer’s scholarship is focused on environmental social work, feminism, and program design and evaluation.

Ms Hilary Gallagher is a Lecturer in Social Work at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia Hilary is a qualified social worker and has worked in health, disability, mental health and community settings in Scotland and Australia; as well as volunteering in a number of settings in South America and Asia. Her research and practice interests centre on creating sustainable communities, environmental social work and social justice issues particularly with regards to people who have a disability. Hilary is a PhD Candidate at Griffith University exploring community living and human rights.

EcoArt Therapy Pilot Program: Bringing outdoor adventure therapy indoors!

Tara Bendeich


Session duration: 30 minutes

Tara Bendeich is an 34 year old Australian who grew up in Borneo, Indonesia. As a child she engaged in jungle adventures & tropical reef scuba diving with her family & community. In her early 20’s she followed in her father’s footsteps to specialise in heights rescue training & development for remote mine site emergency response teams across Indonesia & Africa. Both inspired by the benefits of adventurous team building activities & having a desire to contribute to social change, she recently completed a Diploma in Arts Psychotherapy in Brisbane, QLD.
With a special interest in conceptual design of community programs that cultivate therapeutic outcomes, Tara has begun to facilitate a pilot program for EcoArt Therapy in nursing homes & beyond.

Emergency service workers need Bush Adventure Therapy too! A personal perspective.

Mark Cartner


Session duration: 60 minutes

A sworn police officer since 1999, Mark commenced working as a Detective in the Juvenile Aid Bureau from 2003. He has worked in the child protection field ever since, most of that time spent as an investigator in Cairns, Bundaberg and remote communities around Cape York. He achieved the rank of Detective Sergeant before taking a voluntary demotion to respond to a family related need.
Mark has experienced the highs and lows of an operational policing career, dealing with major investigations, child abuse investigations, police pursuits, child death coronial investigations, police shootings, all of which have given him insights into dealing with traumatic events.
Desiring a change from child abuse work in 2014, Mark decided to see if he could combine the skills he had gained in his work and volunteer life to create a crime prevention/child protection program. He located a supportive school principal who agreed to back him in his endeavours and thus the Walk of Life Program was born. Now working as a School Based Police Officer, Mark works at a high school full time putting his ideas into practice for the benefit of youth. This means that he exchanged a life spent investigating major crime, responding to natural disasters and experiencing the worst of humanity to working in a school yard experiencing what real chaos is all about. Some of his more cynical colleagues believe he has simply discovered a way to go camping and canoeing in work time, a claim Mark strenuously denies. These claims quickly fade when speaking to Mark and discovering his genuine commitment and enthusiasm in his work improving the lives of young people. Given the opportunity, Mark will talk all day about things he’s learnt and theories about child protection and crime prevention.
Mark is a qualified flatwater canoe instructor and bushwalking (uncontrolled environments) instructor.
He and his wife raise 4 kids. Although this leaves little time for hobbies, he still spends an inordinate amount of time surfing, playing guitar, 4 wheel driving, gardening and pretty much anything that involves the outdoors. Of Aboriginal, German and Scottish heritage, Mark has a lifelong interest in reconciling different cultures as exemplified by his own heritage.

Expanding the Adventure with Groundwork Therapy

Kylie Peters, Pheobe


High Ropes as stress exposure; a trauma focused approach

Mike Coker


How nature connection experiences can re-engage upper primary aged children experiencing ongoing trauma.

Claire Mosley


Session duration: 60 minutes

Claire Mosley is an artist, educator, mentor and a deep lover of anything wild. Who grew up and lives on Wurrundjeri country and her love of the outdoors began whilst walking through secret valleys with her Grandfather.

Claire has worked as a bush educator for the last four years. With a Bachelor in Visual Arts and Teaching, Claire merges her experience of education, art and her love of outdoors to provide wild experiences for children that have and are experiencing ongoing trauma.

In 2016, Claire lived off the grid at Wollangarra Outdoor Education centre, where she facilitated hiking trips for year 9 students from all over Victoria. Here, Claire introduced and was responsible for running a program that provided bush and hiking experiences for newly arrived refugees. It is here she saw first hand the therapeutic power that the bush could have on young people.

Currently, Claire works on a government funded program within a community centre with a small cohort of 9-12 year olds in a low socio-economic area in Melbourne’s inner west.

Claire is also heavily involved with Firekeepers, a non-for profit organisation who run nature connection workshops and camps for all ages. Here, Claire has gained a rich bank of experiences wandering and seeing the magic nature of the bush.

I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours. Lewis Carol (Alice in Wonderland)

Belinda Stovell, Graham Pringle


Mentoring our young leaders – youth at the frontline of outdoor adventurous learning

Kalindi Brennan


Session duration: 60 minutes

Kalindi is an educator who loves working directly with young people. She has a passion for Sustainability, Environmental Education and Indigenous Cultural Integration; specialising in authentically embedding these cross-curriculum priorities through education and wider community engagement. .

A life-long learner, Kalindi has completed her Master of Education and Master of Environment – Education for Sustainability degrees. She also holds certifications in Outdoor Recreation, Fitness and Active Volunteering. She coordinates adventurous outdoor learning initiatives and expeditions for high school students; including Duke of Edinburgh Award journeys, Outdoor Recreation accreditation programs, School Camps and Wild Mob conservation expeditions.

Being a mentor to the Wild Mob Youth Ambassadors, fits with Kalindi’s ethos of empowering young people to have a voice and active role in decisions that impact them. She advocates for youth to be the leaders they’d like to see in the world.

Narrative Walks

Chris Darmody


Session duration: 60 minutes

Chris Darmody is a Father, Husband, Psychologist, Son, Dreamer and a number of other things. He has spent a large part of the past fifteen years working with young people and currently works in private practice in Perth, Western Australia. Chris is the founder of Embark, a service which develops and runs a number of therapeutic programs held outdoors in an attempt to address issues of power, connect people to their environments and engage with populations which may not engage with indoor therapy.

Nature Freedom - an organisation for everybody

Mathew Townsend


Paediatric camps to support recovery and well-being of young people with burn injuries in Queensland

James Neill, Arron Sullivan, Megan Simons


Session duration: 60 minutes

James Neill is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Applied Psychology, University of Canberra where he teaches Motivation and Emotion, facilitates work-integrated learning for undergraduate psychology students, and convenes Master in Clinical Psychology research projects. James’ research interest is in measurement of psychological change, particularly program evaluation of psychological interventions, including adventure therapy and outdoor education.

Arron Sullivan is the Leadership Development Manager at Police Citizens Youth Clubs Bornhoffen operation. Arron has been involved in experiential and adventure based programs since 1995 and has worked with the Children’s Health Queensland partnership since 2008. Arron’s interest is facilitation practice with a particular focus on the positive health impacts for young people.

Megan Simons is a Senior Lecturer is the University of Queensland’s Child Health Research Centre and an Occupational Therapist in the Burns Unit at the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital. Megan has been organising camps for children with burns for more than 10 years.

Professional Individualised Care and BAT

Sharleen James


Session duration: 60 minutes

Sharleen is a Youth Work Specialist with PIC. In this role Sharleen provides support to the young people in PIC and their carers by building close supportive relationships to support the care setting. Sharleen plans and delivers a range of supports and programs based on the individual needs of the young person incorporating travel projects, adventure-based youth work, bush adventure therapy and recreational opportunities.

REGENERATE - Recovering From Family Violence

Ben Knowles, Lani Periera


Session duration: 60 minutes

Added Later

Through The Eyes of the Participant: What Can We Learn From Adventure Therapy Experiences

Will Dobud


Unplugged, but in touch: Program evaluation in the digital age

Rebecca (Becky) Harth


Session duration: 60 minutes

Becky grew up on Djabugay country in Far North Queensland. She works as a Quality Assurance Coordinator for a large outdoor education organisation, where she uses technology and systems thinking to manage program evaluations and support staff development across a large team. She studied a BSc (Hons) at the University of Queensland and University of Wollongong, with a major in psychology and a primary teaching diploma. Becky is a NSW & ACT AABAT representative.

Whittling as Bush Adventure Therapy

Nicki Farrell, Vicci Oliver


Session duration: 90 minutes

Raised on a farm in remote South Australia, Nicki’s favourite childhood memories are of family camping trips, climbing trees, hiding amongst wool bales and rock-hopping over rock pools.

Accidentally stumbling across the respectful attachment parenting philosophy shortly after having her first child, enabled Nicki to begin to trust her child’s innate curiosity and insatiable appetite to learn through play, which in turn led the family down the rabbit hole of alternative education options and the inception of Wildlings Forest School.

As founder and director of Wildlings Forest School, Nicki’s passions and expertise lie in bush skills, educating educators, creating community connections, ecological literacy, environmental protection and stewardship, and ensuring diversity and alternatives in our education systems to better prepare our children for an uncertain future.

The ocean has always been home for Vicci. Living in South East Queensland has been the perfect backdrop for a life of adventure chasing dolphins and whales on a mission to spread a love for the natural world.

After spending a few years teaching in traditional schools, Vicci’s world was soon opened to alternative models of learning, particularly the Forest School philosophy, after the birth of her first daughter. The philosophy embodied many of Vicci’s own lifestyle values and seemed to be the perfect blend of world-schooling and wild-schooling.

As founder and director of Wildlings Forest School, Vicci’s passions and expertise lie in marine education, respectful communication, child empowerment and educational freedom of choice.

Writing a grant application that gets results.

Dane Cross