Here’s a further set of evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas:

The Potential Role of Public Aquaria in Human Health and Wellbeing
DL Cracknell, S Pahl, MP White, MH Depledge – Chapter in Tourism, Health, Wellbeing and Protected Areas
For some visitors museum-type settings offer an alternative, restorative experience to natural environments

Pedagogical frameworks in outdoor and environmental education
GJ Thomas – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
This paper found that there is considerable variation in how pedagogical frameworks are being used and developed by outdoor and environmental education centres in Queensland, Australia. Particularly in the degree to which they: were research-validated; described the school’s values and beliefs about teaching and learning; outlined processes for professional learning and instructional leadership; informed pedagogical strategies; and responded to the local context by allowing for communication within and beyond the centre about pedagogical practices.

Ecology and Environmental Education
M Bonnett – Chapter in International Handbook of Philosophy of Education
This chapter analyses the evolving motivations that have led to changes in their character and conceptualization – for example, from ‘nature study’ to ‘education for sustainable development’. The discussion is illustrated by reference to some of the key ideas that currently feature in the literature of philosophy of environmental education, such as sustainability, ‘place’, anthropocentrism, eco-centrism, eco-justice, instrumentalism, post-humanism, post-ecologism and scientism. The significance of the issues that arise for education and the character of philosophy of education more broadly are discussed, including contemporary claims that philosophy of education itself needs to be ‘ecologized’.

A Comparison of English and Turkish Early Years/Kindergarten Teachers’ Understandings of and Practices in Outdoor Activities
M Mart – PhD Thesis. University of Plymouth
This thesis presents a comparison of English and Turkish Early Years/Kindergarten teachers’ understandings and practices of outdoor activities. Comparative research provides a wider understanding of the two different cultures’ current circumstances in outdoor activities. Such research provides in-depth understanding of educational aspects in different cultures, and produces enhancement opportunities for educational pedagogies

Effect of nature-activities education program on the multiple intelligence level of children in the age group of 8 to 12 years
M Ceylan – Educational Research and Reviews
Participants were selected from children who had never taken part in a nature activity before.
Changes detected in each of the multiple intelligence fields were explored and interpreted. Linguistic intelligence, visual intelligence, mathematical intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, social intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, naturalistic intelligence and musical intelligence post-test scores of all participants are significantly higher than their pre-test scores.

Urban Agriculture as a Tool for Horticultural Education and Youth Development
MA Rogers – Chapter in Urban Horticulture
A comprehensive review of the literature shows that youth gardens can reduce stress, improve attitudes toward school, facilitate collaboration and teamwork and intercultural awareness, improve peer relations and prosocial behavior, and improve self-efficacy and self-esteem. Literature reviews report a need for more rigorous quantitative evaluation of garden-based programs connecting activities to positive outcomes that can be used to maximize benefits and inform policy. School gardens tend to be concentrated in high-resource schools and more needs to be done fore underserved schools.

Nurture thru nature: Creating natural science identities in populations of disadvantaged children through community education partnership.
Camasso & Jagannathan – The Journal of Environmental Education
An experimental study focusing on a community education partnership found that a nature-based intervention was effective in improving the academic performance of students from disadvantaged neighborhoods. The intervention program emphasized active learning and ecological sustainability. Improved academic scores were primarily in the areas of language arts and science.

Place-based outdoor learning: More than a drag and drop approach.
Lloyd, Truong & Gray – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
This case study of a place-based outdoor learning (PBOL) program illustrates ways in which PBOL differs from Forest School (FS) learning. While both approaches provide meaningful learning opportunities for children in an outdoor environment, PBOL emphasizes the social, cultural, economic, political and natural contexts of the local environment. This emphasis contributes to the success of PBOL.

Children’s interest in school garden projects, environmental motivation and intention to act: A case study from a primary school of Cyprus
Christodoulou & Korfiatis Applied Environmental Education and Communication
This case study of 17 students from an urban primary school in Cyprus focused on environmental motivation (i.e., the condition where a person has or acquires intrinsic and extrinsic incentives to engage in pro-environmental behaviors). Findings indicated that interest and motivation are inextricably connected, and that interest is associated with the satisfaction of basic psychological needs.

Science in the Learning Gardens (SciLG): A study of students’ motivation, achievement, and science identity in low-income middle schools
Williams et al – International Journal of STEM Education
Data from 113 students and 3 teachers from low-income and racially diverse schools showed that students’ experiences in garden activities may transfer back into the science classroom and foster students’ interest in pursuing science long-term. These results indicate that the school garden movement may help close the achievement gap between more-privileged and less-privileged students.

The Ramblers and the Town & Country Planning Association have released a new report on Walking in Urban Parks and Green Spaces.
We know that walking in urban parks and green spaces is great for our physical and mental health and our new report explores the ways we can make it easier for people of all ages and backgrounds to take a walk in the park. In the face of local authority budget cuts affecting the money available to maintain urban green spaces, our report looks at how investment can be focused to encourage everyone to use their local parks. It also highlights some wonderful urban green spaces that have been created by local authorities with innovative partnerships and creative funding sources

  • One third of 16-24 year olds (33%) said they would be discouraged from using local green spaces because of safety concerns
  • 67% of people said they would walk more if their parks were better maintained
  • 35% of people over 75 said they would walk more often if there were more benches in their park.