Keynotes 2020

Griffin Longley
Griffin Longley, Western Australia, AU
Nature Play Australia & Nature Play WA

Griffin is a former columnist, award winning journalist, and a Churchill Fellow. Griffin founded Nature Play WA in partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation in 2010 and it has now spread to South Australia, Queensland and the ACT. It has an international reputation for innovative programmes that increase awareness of the benefits of unstructured play outdoors. The organisation’s flagship programme, the Passport to an Amazing Childhood, has been turned into a mobile phone app in partnership with Islandwood, America's leading environmental education centre.

Keynote Presentation: Evolution of the Nature Play Movement, and why it’s critical in 2020
Nature Play Australia founder Griffin Longley will share insights from a decade building the Nature Play movement in Australia. What is nature play, why is it so fundamental to a full childhood, and what is it about modern life that makes it’s nurturing so important? Hear how Nature Play progressed from a one-man outfit to covering four states and working internationally, including a nine-month project in Seattle building the Nature Passport app with funding from Disney, and recent work to help extend Western Australia’s new children’s hospital’s clinical practice into nature.

Brando Yelavich
Brando Yelavich, Coromandel, NZ
Wildboy Adventures

At 26 years old I started making my mark on the world as an explorer. When I was 19, I became the first person to circumnavigate the coastline of New Zealand on foot. This 600-day, 8700km expedition changed every aspect of my life. Before, I was an ordinary person doing less than ordinary things. I woke up one day after a big night with my mates and it was like a switch had been flicked in my head. I wanted to do extraordinary things in my life. So I did. I have since become a bestselling author, motivational, inspiring speaker and a full time explorer. My expeditions have taken me across the Greenland Icecap, on a 70-day kayak circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, into the Nepalese Himalayas on an aid expedition and a 33-day trip around New Zealand’s most wild island - Stewart Island - and across Australia. My purpose is what makes me stand out. I do what I do to help others see their worth and realise they are capable of amazing things. I want to lower depression rates by being a powerful voice. I am relatable because I'm an ordinary person who’s doing extraordinary things, driven by passion and love, not ego or money. I make my own luck.

Keynote Presentation: Curiosity from the Soul
Brando talks about life-changing expeditions and a workshop about the importance of nature and how you can use it to be the best version of yourself.

Ruud Kleinpaste
Ruud Kleinpaste, Christchurch Bay NZ
Environmental educator aka "The Bugman"

Born in Indonesia, raised and educated in the Netherlands, Ruud migrated to New Zealand in 1978 with an MSc (Hons) in silvicuture, animal ecology and conservation from Wageningen University. Entomology was always an important hobby that later became part of his media persona: The Bugman. He mucked around on radio for more than 30 years and TV (Maggie’s Garden Show, What Now? to Buggin’ with Ruud on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel) and wrote stories for many different magazines, thus becoming the Marketing Manager for Bugs…
Environmental Education is now an increasingly important facet of his activities: "If we are serious about our Operating Space (the Planet) then we need to ensure that the younger generation are trained to become Science and Nature-literate".
Ruud is championing Biodiversity, biosecurity and environmental education projects from Fiordland to Hawkes Bay (Cape to City) and Bay of Islands, engaging whole communities in citizen science.
Try stopping him!

Keynote Presentation: Nature-Time Teaching
In this keynote Ruud explores nature-literacy, what it is, what it means and what it looks like across the developing years of childhood and all its influences. Weaving stories from each era, Ruud will inspire and encourage us at every level of education with examples how we can affect change and grow a greater narrative of nature literacy in New Zealand.

Genevieve Simperingham,
Genevieve Simperingham, Whangarei, NZ
Peaceful Parent Institute

Genevieve offers seminars and eCourses for parents and educators, professional development for teachers, as well as one-on-one counselling and coaching. Being one of 9 siblings, Genevieve, grew up on a beautiful 180 acre farm in rural Ireland. Despite living in a very dysfunctional family, she found peace, excitement and healing in the natural world, and this has hugely influenced her work. Genevieve has facilitated hundreds of workshops and residential retreats over the last 26 years. A big focus of the retreats has been immersion in nature, mindfulness, eating wholesome plant-based food and generally regaining balance. Genevieve has a Diploma in Psychosynthesis Counselling and is a Certified Aware Parenting instructor. She’s a feature writer for The Natural Parent Magazine (NZ and Australia) and has a busy following of 92,000 on her Facebook page and blog.

Keynote Presentation: Building Resilience Through Positive Play
Resilience is more important than ever in our changing world. How do we help children at their various stages of development navigate this uncertain landscape? How can we help ourselves? Certain kinds of play can relieve children of physical, mental and emotional tension. And all these benefits tend to be magnified when children play in natural environments. Genevieve draws from a wealth of stories and experience to bring the benefits of play alive in all its various forms.