Rachael Tharle

Expedition Fellow: PlasticSeas

Rachael Tharle has been an educator for 24 years first graduating from The University of Melbourne in 1994, with an Early Childhood Degree. Over the years other degrees have included a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University, A Postgraduate degree in Arts Education and a Master of Education both from Melbourne University. Rachael is currently studying a VCE Geography Teaching degree at Curtin University in Perth and teaching pre-service teachers at the Australian Catholic University Melbourne. All while teaching Years 5 & 6 as a Generalist Teacher and at times a Visual Arts specialist. Rachael’s interest in environmental and outdoor education began whilst she was teaching Early Childhood education and living on some of Melbourne’s major water supply reservoirs as a young newlywed.

After a short stint living away from Melbourne, Rachael moved back to the outer suburbs to prepare for the birth of her first of three children, Catherine, Mitchell, and James. Once the children were at school Rachael began a 10-year career as an Environmental Educator for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, developing many partnerships with local schools including St. Agatha’s Primary School where she has been both a parent and teacher for 15 years. During this time Rachael worked as a Curriculum advisor for not for profit organization WithOneSeed, developing Year 5 & 6 Units of work and resources, these resources can be found on their WithOnePlanet website and has since been translated into Tetun and taught by educators in Timor Leste. Rachael has also worked on numerous pilot programs through the many schools she has worked at, developing partnerships with organizations such as Cool Australia and ResourceSmart, working on curriculum development. A passion for science, environmental education, and visual arts drive Rachael’s quest for developing her own pedagogical and ontological approach to teaching and learning with the students in her care. Experiences with teaching in contemporary learning spaces bring a 21st-century approach to current daily teaching and learning, in Years 5 & 6. Recently Rachael’s outlook has changed direction slightly with a diagnosis of Osteosarcoma of her youngest child James in 2015 at the age of 12. James is currently in remission, however, the experience has been life changing for the family. Rachael now volunteers for a few of the many charity organizations and the hospital involved in James’ care. Rachael’s aim for the future generation is to be more sustainable in their lives and to problem solve, many of the environmental issues today through creativity and innovation.