About tonialeannegray

Professor Tonia Gray is a Senior Researcher at Western Sydney University’s Centre for Educational Research. Her research at Western is centered upon gender equity in outdoor learning environments, wellbeing associated with human-nature relationships and experiential learning in a variety of educational settings. With a wealth of experience in curriculum design, implementation and evaluation spanning over three decades, she is also involved in curriculum development with the Board of Studies. She is honoured to be the custodian of a 10 hectare farm called "Dadirri", a term that Aboriginal elder Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann refers to as: To know me is to breathe with me. To breathe with me is to listen deeply. To listen deeply is to connect. It is the sound of deep calling to deep. Dadirri is the deep inner spring inside us. We call on it and it calls on us. In January 2019, Professor Tonia Gray, was one of 75 female leaders across the world that embarked on a 21-day expedition which journeyed to Antarctica. Traveling alongside female astronomers, engineers, physicists, science communicators, Antarctic specialists, doctors and social scientists from more than 28 countries, the experience was life changing and transformational. During 2018, Professor Gray participated in a yearlong Homeward Bound leadership development course which covers ways of improving the gender balance in organisations, and transitioning to a more sustainable and equitable society and economy. Whilst in Antarctica, she learned about the impact of climate change, changes in eco-systems and issues surrounding

A Golden Oldie – just made into a PDF

Ryan, D. & Gray, T. (1993) Integrating Outdoor Education into the School Curriculum – A Case Study. International Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation: Vol XXIX, No 2, pp: 6 – 13

This is one of the first refereed papers I co-wrote with Des Ryan — just made it into a PDF.  A little nostalgic reading the impact of Outdoor Education/Wilderness Studies on adolescents.

Latest from ‘Around UWS.’

A short piece I wrote that’s appeared on the UWS site, ‘Around UWS.’

According to acclaimed Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, we are biologically drawn to nature. Globally, nature is recognised as therapeutic or cathartic and journalist and author Richard Louv posits that when in contact with the natural world we are “self-medicating with an inexpensive and unusually convenient drug substitute. Let’s call it vitamin N – for nature”.

Read the rest here.

We Just Won An Exciting Research Tender at Centennial Park’s Bush School

Kids in Bush School

Kids in OOSH Bush School

Prof Karen Malone, Dr Carol Birrell, Dr Ian Boyle and myself are pleased to announce we will be researching this amazing outdoor learning site



What is Bush School?

Bush School is a hands on experiential learning program based on regular visits to the same local bush and woodland for an extended period (usually 10 weeks). Sessions can last for half a day (3 hours) or a full day (5 hours).

There is no equipment, no toys, no resources – it is based around what the children find in the bush classroom.

Bush School is based on research and concepts from international best practice in nature education as well as current education models such as Forest Schools and Nature Kindergartens. Although the program has been developed and informed by international best practice it is a uniquely Australian concept in that it is based on the heritage and ecology of our unique Australian landscape

What do you do in a Bush School lesson?

  • Physical activity including climbing, digging, construction, moving through and negotiating uneven ground
  • Imaginative play
  • Loose part play (sticks, earth, stones, plant material)
  • Flora and Fauna identification/ classification and interaction
  • Activity that includes elements of risk and challenge
  • Outdoor learning all year round, all weather every season