Ben Liu: Educator and Conservationist

Ben’s passion for environmental and sustainability education developed from time spent studying a Bachelor of Arts (Nature Tourism) at La Trobe University as well as experiences teaching in a range of educational settings.

Ben’s previous teaching experience has involved outdoor education leadership throughout Victoria, environmental education program development in Indonesia, teaching IB geography in Melbourne, remote education in the Northern Territory and work as an Education Officer at Melbourne Zoo.

On reflection I can see that my time at Woodleigh helped to activate and instil a set of core values which have influenced my life ever since. The outdoor education experiences that stay with a Woodleigh student for life, they directed me to further studies in outdoor and environmental studies. The staff were role models who influenced me to study education, and when I was looking to develop an education partnership whilst teaching in a remote school in the Northern Territory, it was Woodleigh that provided that partnership.

More recently, I’ve been fortunate to continue my relationship with Woodleigh in my role with Zoos Victoria. At Zoos Victoria, we work to save some of Victoria’s most endangered species; Woodleigh, through the work of Gary Simpson and the Brian Henderson Wildlife Reserve, will soon become the first school to house the ‘extinct in the wild’ Eastern Barred Bandicoot, a priority species for us at Zoos Victoria.

I recall being in a meeting, nearly 20 years ago in the old Maths Centre (now Homestead 6), where the initial vision for the wildlife reserve was outlined. Being able to now go back and see this vision come to life as the Brian Henderson Wildlife Reserve is a wonderful experience, and demonstrates that the same intrinsic values that influenced me during my time are still core to the Woodleigh experience.

Text and images taken from Woodleigh School's 40th anniversary publication 'Independent Thoughts.'

Photography by Amy Woodward.