9aa8c423This is the first part of a late 2016 round up from Natural England of research on the benefits to be had from being in the natural environment …

30 Minutes in Nature a Day Can Increase Mood, Well-Being, Meaning in Life and Mindfulness: Effects of a Pilot Programme
GA Hamann, I Ivtzan – Social Inquiry into Well-Being, 2016
the study examined the effects of Rewild Your Life (RYL), an online intervention programme that challenges users to spend 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days. Participants who completed RYL (n=35) showed significant increases in mood, well-being, mindfulness and meaning compared to the control group (n=27). The effect was stronger when participants spent at least 30 minutes in nature, and meaning and mindfulness were affected only in “wilderness” but not urban “greenspace”.

MPAs, aquatic conservation and connecting people to nature
R Nicoll et al Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 2016
This paper identifies seven lessons to support marine protected area (MPA) managers and ocean conservation professionals to implement programmes that “Inspire a New Generation” (ING) to learn about, value and conserve aquatic environments.

Urban residents’ perceptions of neighbourhood nature: Does the extinction of experience matter?
Masashi Soga, Kevin J. Gaston et al. Biological Conservation 2016
Research has suggested that such loss daily interactions with nature decreases people’s appreciation of the natural world, but this remains quantitatively unexplored. The results of this study showed that students valued neighbourhood natural environments, birds and butterflies for many different reasons, such as relaxation, beauty, an indicator of seasonality, and opportunities for education.

Towards a Convergence Between Science and Environmental Education: The selected works of Justin Dillon
J Dillon – 2016. Book
Internationally recognized for his research on environmental education, science engagement, learning outside the classroom, and teacher identity and development, in this volume Justin Dillon brings together a thoughtfully crafted selection of his writing representing key aspects of his life and work leading to his current thinking on the need for a convergence of science and environmental education.

Why loose parts? Their relationship with sustainable practice, children’s agency, creative thinking and learning outcomes
M Sear – Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years 2016
Play environments need to promote and support imaginative play in a way that isn’t directive but allows children to develop their own ideas and explore their world. It underpins the belief in the competency, skill and creativity of children. Loose parts play provides children the opportunities to problem solve, make mistakes, build connections and create within a secure environment.

Norwegian early childhood teachers’ stated use of subject-related activities with children, and their focus on science, technology, environmental issues and sustainability
BM Sageidet – Nordic Studies in Science Education, 2016
This study examined the focus and priority given to activities related to science, technology, environmental issues and sustainability, in comparison to other subjects. Most teachers involved have a personal interest in science-related subjects. Their activities with the children mainly consist of nature and outdoor-related subjects, but also social competences, language and PE.

Social and Cultural Factors Framing the Teaching and Learning of Primary Science in Australia, Germany and Taiwan
MW Hackling, HLS Chen, G Romain – Chapter in book. Quality Teaching in Primary Science Education, 2017
This Chapter provides a framework to consider the broader social and cultural factors that shape the ways in which the teaching and learning of science are transacted in different countries.

Creative approaches to learning about the physical world
S Pike – Chapter in Teaching Geography Creatively, 2016
Within this chapter ideas are suggested which show how children’s conceptual understanding of the physical world can be developed , specifically  – through enquire, collaborative learning and using the school grounds and locality to enhance learning in physical geography

Farm visits: interdisciplinary outdoor learning for primary school pupils and Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence
LMI Mattu. PhD thesis- 2016
The ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ guidelines in Scotland advocate the use of outdoor environments, but little research has been conducted, and little guidance is available, on how teachers can and do use outdoor learning in relation to the guidelines, particularly beyond ‘adventure’ activities. This research explored the use of educational farm visits, as an example of outdoor learning, in the context of Curriculum for Excellence. There was a tendency for farm visits to be associated with food and farming topics at Primary 2-3 (age 6-7), rather than used more widely.

A theory of engagement for fostering collective action in Youth Leading Environmental Change
G Hickman, M Riemer – Ecopsychology, 2016
Young peoople play an important role in creating a much-needed major cultural shift toward sustainability and environmental justice. Such social change is significantly advanced when youth engage in collective environmental actions, beyond greening their own personal practice. This article describes  a theory of engagement that was developed, applied, and tested in six countries.

School-based environmental education in the context of a research and development project on integrated water resources management: experiences from Mongolia
D Karthe, T Reeh, M Walther, S Niemann, A Siegmund – Environmental Earth Sciences 2016
In this paper, a school network that was set up in the context of a research and development project on water resources management in northern Mongolia is analysed. A training program targeting both teachers and high school students focused on hands-on learning in the field and laboratory. Both students and teachers were interviewed in order to assess the intervention’s outcome.

Using Outdoor Adventure Education to Develop Students’ Groupwork Skills A Quantitative Exploration of Reaction and Learning
SJ Cooley, VE Burns, J Cumming – Journal of Experiential Education, 2016
This study investigates the initial development of groupwork skills through outdoor adventure education (OAE) and the factors that predict the extent of this development. Learning and intention to transfer learning were both positively predicted by students’ perceived use of groupwork skills before OAE, course satisfaction, enjoyment, attitude toward and groupwork self-efficacy.

Exploring the Impact of an Outdoor Orientation Program on Adaptation to College
R Ribbe, R Cyrus, E Langan – Journal of Experiential Education, 2016
Outdoor orientation programming as a means for orientating students to college has experienced significant growth and expanded use over the past decade.. Results indicate significant differences between Outdoor Orientation Program and non-Outdoor Orientation Program students in overall adaptation to college, social adaptation, and attachment to institution, but found few differences between various types of Outdoor Orientation Program options.

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To be continued.