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From Gemma

It was with some regret that I decided to end my time working at POET in September.


I had been with the organisation since its beginnings in 2003 and am immensely proud of being instrumental in setting up and growing what POET is today.  I believe each year POET grows in reputation as a responsive organisation providing a high quality service to schools, young people and the outdoor education sector as a whole. To reflect on this and my contribution is the highlight of my career as an outdoor educator.


Working in the school space is a challenge particularly as POET’s model has always been to work alongside teachers in schools to enable them to deliver their own programmes as much as possible. POET schools in general have more challenges than most with a workforce in crisis and continually increasing demands on their time and resources. It has been rewarding to make a difference in these schools over the years but it takes a lot of energy and the gains can easily fall away. It was time for me to make way for someone with the boundless energy I used to have!


I believe I will always remain a passionate advocate of quality outdoor education, indeed I continue to work as a consultant in this sector. Just released research on Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) in New Zealand (Hill et al, 2020) confirms not only the value and importance of EOTC but highlights how well aligned POET’s model is to the findings. POET has both the perfect kind of programme and the systems and people support that are crucial. I am humbled to have been part of a great team at POET whose work has been independently validated as ‘spot on’.


Hill, A., North, C., Cosgriff, M., Irwin, D., Boyes, M. & Watson, S. (2020). Education Outside the Classroom in Aotearoa New Zealand – A Comprehensive National Study: Final Report. Christchurch, NZ: Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd.