Our Team

We offer a range of programs for children and families under our forest schooling pedagogy including

0-5yr playgroups
3-6yr Nature Play (drop off)
Bush School 5-14yrs
After school programs
Holiday programs
Family camps
Adult nature immersion

This allows them to develop their interests and abilities through practical hands on experiences.

KATRINA VENABLES | Co-Founder & Director of Bush Magic Adventures

 

  • Bachelor of Outdoor Education (Parks, Recreation and Heritage Management)
  • Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Canoeing, climbing, bushwalking, ropes, archery)
  • Cert 4 Training and Assessor
  • Graduate Diploma Vocational Education and Training
  • Current WWCC
  • Level 3 Forest School Leader
  • First Aid in an Education Setting, CPR, Anaphylaxis, Asthma

 

Raised in Wollongong, my childhood memories were of hiking Mt Keira, exploring tracks and trails with my dog, building swings and cubbies with my siblings and SOOO much beach time.

 

From 2000, I did a Cadetship with Wollongong Council in Park Management, then adventured as an Eco-guide up in Uluru, and then landed back in the Gong, working solidly for 18yrs with NSW Department of Sport and Recreation, delivering school camp Programs.

 

I stumbled into the world of Nature Play after having my 3 girls between 2012-2014, where I realised the growth, wonder and sheer happiness when children are simply free to play in a natural environment.

 

My passion is in providing the space for little people to feel confident and free to adventure in nature without any structure. This is where the magic lays, and I feel so lucky to provide a service like Bush Magic which offers that space and strong supporting Educators to allow a child to grow and blossom in free nature play.

Simone Potter | Cofounder and director – Bush Magic Adventures

 

  • BSc (Psychology and Human Movement science)
  • Grad Dip Ed -Primary (honours)
  • Certificate in Personal and Political tools for social change
  • 2008 John Hatton Award for Community Democracy
  • Specialised trainings and courses in mindfulness meditation
  • Accredited Kids Yoga teacher and former owner of Yoga Bears Kids Yoga
  • Registered counsellor
  • Current WWCC
  • FIrst Aid Certificate and current CPR training

I have called Wollongong home most of my life and I love this place for all its natural beauty, community and opportunities. As a child I played in a similar way to the kids at Bush Magic and I believe that my own childhood has contributed to my resilience, attitude to life and that there’s noone better to run a forest school than someone who was raised with nature and free play as a core part of their existence.

After I finished my first uni degree I worked with people with disabilities and children in foster care. I then completed my teaching qualification and taught in local schools as well as schools in China and the UK. I was lucky to travel the world whilst teaching and combined my working holidays with lots of hiking, camping and time in nature, trekking in the Himalayas and walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. I have visited and worked in schools all over the world and this opened my eyes to the different ways school is conducted and resourced. I quickly realised that children will learn what they need to know no matter what if they are given the freedom and support to do so, but that working as a teacher in the education system was not for me and that I am much more suited to working wholistically and with wellbeing as my focus with children and families.

I then worked in numerous roles such as community development, family support, parenting support and school counselling. I have loved all of these roles but I really feel that they have all led me here and that I’m using all my skills, creativity and experience now to benefit families and children through Bush Magic.

The idea for Bush Magic came out of my concern that sending my son to big school would squash all his amazing creativity and narrow his horizons. It wasn’t until 12 years later that I felt the time was right, that I had the right skills and I was connected with Katrina who had a similar vision that the idea became reality.

Julia Mottram | Nature Play group and after school Nature play coordinator

 

  • Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)
  • Diploma of Education
  • Current WCCC
  • First Aid in an Education Setting, CPR, Anaphylaxis, Asthma

 

Being a classroom teacher for 15 years, in various schools around the Illawarra, I’ve seen a shift in the education system- more pressures on teachers and kids, greater use of technology, more
regulations and sadly less play. Slowing down, breathing in the fresh air, taking time to notice our natural surroundings and being present in this day and age is central to our wellbeing.

 

I strongly believe that kids learn through organic play, kids being kids outdoors, social interaction and guiding the next generation to love and care for our precious environment. Bush Magic is all this and more.

 

My passions are spending time with my family at the beach and discovering new swimming spots, cooking healthy treats for my family, craft and sustainable living. At Bush Magic I love using what nature provides us and trying to minimize our footprint on our beautiful Earth.

Jeremy Wheatley | Mt Keira Site Manager for Bush Magic Adventures

 

  • Master of Teaching (Primary) from the University of Wollongong
  • Bachelor of Creative Arts (Music, Creative Writing) from the University of Wollongong
  • Registered casual teacher
  • Current WWCC
  • First Aid certified

 

I grew up in Cowra, a small town in central west NSW, and from an early age I developed an indelible connection with nature. My parents immersed me early, and since then I have had countless formative experiences in the outdoors. As an adult I have worked in Canada, as a camp counsellor and outdoor educator, and I have travelled northern Europe as an ecotourist, but the wilderness of my home country has always held a special place in my heart.

 

I began my studies in Newcastle, with a year of communications and journalism, before relocating to Wollongong to study music and writing instead. I later returned to the University of Wollongong to obtain my master’s degree in teaching. I worked as a teacher for a time before a friend recommended that I apply at Bush Magic Adventures. The rest is history!

 

I love my job. As a part of my role, I get to provide people with the outdoor adventures I dreamed of as a child. I get to vicariously relive the wonder, the joy, and the magic that is so intrinsically linked with good experiences in nature.

 

I am privileged to use my education and experience to facilitate a program that, in my personal and professional opinions, creates an inclusive space for every type of learner (both neurotypical and neurodiverse) to flourish and reconnect with their community and their land while also learning about themselves and the world they live in.

Ashlee Jameson | 3-6yr Bush Play Coordinator

 

  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.
  • Bachelor of communication studies.
  • Current WWCC
  • First Aid in an Education Setting, CPR, Anaphylaxis, Asthma

 

Mother Gerra , Mount Keira, was the backdrop for my childhood. Barefoot in the bush was my playground. Wild and free echoed always, and still does.

 

A child at heart & a passion for teaching lead me to study early childhood education. Indoors never sat right. The outdoors called & I listened.

 

Connection to space & spirit runs deep in me. Children face many extra pressures these days. Outdoor play, exploration & imaginative play takes away the heavy. The forest canopy, the rambling creek, the sights, smells & sounds fill with light. Our children deserve this. It builds happy, secure, healthy, wise & curious minds.

 

Bush beyond has always felt like home & bush magic adventures is simply an extension of home. For not only me, but all the children who grow here.

Our Team of Facilitators

Bush Magic’s Educators are all passionate about working in nature with children.
Every staff member is screened for WWCC and has a current first aid certificate at the very minimum. Some have degrees (and some masters qualifications) in relevant areas. Our staff are trained and supervised by our Senior team in Forest Schooling Pedagogy and outdoor education before working with your children