From Little Things, Big Things Grow

In 2015 we celebrated 35 years of the Australian Association for Environmental Education. In the years circa 1979-1980, a passionate group of educators driven to put ‘education about the environment’ on the national agenda formed our national Association. AAEE (soon fondly referred to as A2E2) was an opportunity for like-minded people to network and no longer feel isolated in their respective fields. It gave them a voice and shared goals were soon driven with force and determination because of the friendships and community that drove it.

Queensland environmental educators were at the forefront of the new association with Peter Fensham (a Queenslander in Victoria at the time!) as its first President (1979 – 1981). In 1982, the same year that AAEE adopted the Nautilus logo,  Brisbane hosted the second AAEE conference and Bob Stevenson from the Queensland Department of Education launched the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE).

In 1985 the Queensland Chapter of AAEE was formed and this helped to strengthen the position of EE across the state. From 1991 – 1992, Queensland held the National Executive Committee (in the early days national executive committees rotated as a whole around the country). The seemingly halcyon days for EE in Queensland during the 1990s saw a number of significant initiatives for both AAEE and the Queensland Chapter.

You can read more about the history of AAEE in the 35 year celebratory issue of ozEEnews, our longstanding newsletter.


The AAEE biennial conferences have always been a highlight of AAEE membership and in the 35-year-old words of AAEE founder Brian Foreman, it’s a chance to bring our AAEE family and friends together “to share their aims, methods, successes and failures.”

Over the years Queensland has hosted a number of these events:

  • 1982: The 2nd AAEE conference was convened by Jim Richmond at the campus of the Mt Gravatt CAE in Brisbane with an international keynote speaker – Professor Bill Stapp from Michigan

  • 1994: 8th AAEE Conference in Cairns (26 – 30 September) World Heritage: Visions and Values

  • 2002: 12th AAEE Conference in Brisbane (2 – 6 July) Sustaining EE: Celebrating Diversity

  • 2011:  AAEE hosted the 6th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Brisbane from 19-23 July

In 2016 the AAEE Queensland Chapter took the bold move of becoming an incorporated body in its own right. Its official name is now Australian Association for Environmental Education Queensland Branch Inc. and is governed by the Model Rules adopted on 12 February 2016.

From 21 – 25 October 2018 AAEE Queensland is hosting the 20th AAEE Biennial Conference at Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast. The theme is Creating Capacity for Change.