Here’s a selection of research and other reports related to learning and the environment collated by Natural England.

A coordinated research agenda for nature-based learning
Jordan & Chawla – Frontiers in Psychology
Nature-based learning as an avenue for enhancing children’s educational and developmental outcomes is receiving wide-spread attention. After an extensive review of the literature and input from researchers, practitioners, and funders, the Nature-Based Learning Collaborative Research Network developed recommendations for research questions and methodological improvements to increase the relevance and rigor of research in this field.

Danish Outdoor Nature Pedagogy
N McLeod – chapter in Empowering Early Childhood Educators: International Pedagogies as Provocation

Bringing Children Closer to Nature
Forest Schools Association Report
A public online survey, called Bringing Children Closer to Nature, was run in late 2018 and promoted to educational practitioners, both School and Non-school, and also to Woodland owners. The aims were to present a snapshot of the current status of Forest School practice and outdoor learning in wooded areas and forests

Complex relationships between greenness, air pollution, and mortality in a population-based Canadian cohort
Dan L. Crouse et al – Environment International

  • Exposure to air pollution had a lower impact on risk of dying in greener areas.
  • This pattern held in neighbourhoods characterised by high or low deprivation.
  • Not accounting for greenness may overstate air pollution impacts on health.
  • This study extends our understanding of how living in greener areas improves health.
  • We found no link between fine particulate matter and risk of dying among those in the greenest areas.

Cognitive complexity increases climate change belief
L Chen, K Unsworth – Journal of Environmental Psychology

  • Cognitive complexity is positively related to climate change belief.
  • Cognitive simplicity leads people to be skeptical about human-caused climate change.
  • Cognitive simplicity is a precondition when framing positive arguments is effective.
  • Cognitive complexity can help deter the damaging impact of conflicting arguments

Meta‐analysis of human connection to nature and proenvironmental behavior
J Whitburn, W Linklater, W Abrahamse – Conservation Biology
We conducted a meta‐analysis of the relationship between connection to nature and PEB. We identified studies through a systematic review of the literature and used Comprehensive Meta‐Analysis software to analyze the results and to test for moderators. A random‐effects model demonstrated a positive and significant association between connection to nature and PEB. People who are more connected to nature reported greater engagement in PEB. Standard tests indicated little effect of publication bias in the sample. The geographic location of a study, age of participants, and the percentage of females in a study were not significant moderators.

A Board Game and a Workshop for Co-creating Smart Nature Ecosystems
R Gennari et al – Methodologies and Intelligent Systems for Technology Enhanced Learning, 9th International Conference
Younger generations from urban areas spend an increasing amount of time indoors with technology, e.g., with mobiles. GEKI is an exploratory project that investigates how to co-create with younger generations smart nature ecosystems and get them to spend time outdoors. This paper presents the design of a novel board game and a workshop with it for co-creating such an ecosystem with children.

Outcome expectancy: A key factor to understanding childhood exposure to nature and children’s pro-environmental behaviors
Collado & Evans – Journal of Environmental Psychology
In the context of the expected positive link between nature contact and pro-environmental behaviors, outcome expectancy (a belief about the likelihood of a behavior leading to a specific outcome) had an unexpectedly negative moderating effect: for children with low outcome expectancy, nature connection had a stronger association with environmental behavior than for children with high outcome expectancy

Beyond nature: The roles of visual appeal and individual differences in perceived restorative potential
E Twedt, RM Rainey, DR Proffitt – Journal of Environmental Psychology

  • A multi-level model to predict perceived restorative potential of places is proposed.
  • Places varied continuously on dimensions of naturalness and visual appeal.
  • Naturalness, visual appeal, and presence of people related to perceived restorative potential.
  • Perceived restorative potential judgments were generally consistent, despite trait-level and socio-demographic variability.
  • Need-for-restoration moderated preferences for built, mixed built-natural, and natural environments.