On Sunday 3 March 2024, participants of all ages from Interchange Outer East’s recreation program took part in the Active in Nature pilot program held at Jells Park.

Funded by VicHealth and in collaboration with Outdoors Victoria and Parks Victoria, the Active in Nature Project 2023-24 aims to provide opportunities for young people to engage with nature and outdoor activities, promoting enhanced physical activity, wellbeing, and a deeper connection to the natural world.

Staff from the Bindaree Outdoor Education group, facilitated the tailored Active in Nature program specific to our participants’ support needs and experience outdoors. Guiding the day’s activities were seasoned outdoor educators Shaun and Joe, who  adjusted activities to ensure maximum accessibility and inclusion. Their leadership included an immersive sensory nature walk, offering insights into tree species, bushfires and local birdlife.

The group participated in activities like bush bingo and a visual scavenger hunt, with encouragement from IOE and Bindaree staff to explore the landscape freely. While some opted to venture off the beaten path, others enjoyed the sealed trails. The collective enjoyment of the walk and shared time together was evident in the beaming smiles upon our return to base, where a BBQ lunch awaited.

Prior to departure, participants took a moment to provide feedback to the Bindaree group. Shaun and Joe prompted them to sum up their experience in just one word. Words like exciting, awesome, and fun rang out across the park.

Thank you to Bindaree and Active in Nature stakeholders for a fantastic day! We hope to see continued opportunities like this one where we can work alongside stakeholders to provide safe, tailored and accessible outdoor opportunities to our community.