This post sets out further links to the most recent 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.
Significant Life Experiences and Animal-Themed Education
S Caplow, J Thomsen – Chapter in Animals in Environmental Education
This research explores how Significant Life Experiences (SLE) influences animal-themed educators in their choice to work in this field. It found that animal-themed educators share some unifying experiences with more general environmentalist populations, but that animal-related experiences may indeed represent a somewhat unique pathway to these positions. The work contributes to a greater understanding of environmental educators’ decisions and how SLEs influence their roles and identities as educators.
The Children and Nature Connection: Why It Matters
J Braus, S Milligan-Toffler – Ecopsychology
An increasing body of empirical research is showing that young people—starting from our earliest learners—who have regular experiences with nature, children who bond with nature, develop critical and creative thinking skills that will help them succeed in life. We’re also learning that immersing children in nature to play and learn can result in reduced stress, improved brain development and restoration, increased social and emotional skills development, and civic engagement.
Growing a growth mindset through the use of the outdoors
M Way, K Boland – Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Years
A recent reconceptualisation of the outdoor space at an early learning centre included the adoption of a growth mindset approach. This approach involved a focus on reorienting challenges into learning opportunities as a framework for practice. The embedding of this approach has seen a visible shift in the way educators and children use the redesigned space, with the children having a strong sense of ownership responsibility and connection to the land.
Experiencing the outdoors: Embodied encounters in the Outward Bound Trust
JH Dunne – The Geographical Journal
This paper explores young people’s experiences of outdoor education through bodily encounters with nature and place, and interactions with material objects. It draws on literature from recent outdoor education research which questions: first, the apparent lack of attention to place‐based and embodied ways of knowing in outdoor education; and second an uncritical adoption of technology and materiality in outdoor education practices. The article then engages with geographical work on the body and space, and, using original research conducted with the Outward Bound Trust, considers how embodied experiences in place are foregrounded in young people’s accounts of outdoor education. Finally the discussion draws attention to some of the structural constraints and power relations that restrict young peoples’ bodies in outdoor educational spaces.
Lasting Lessons in Outdoor Learning: A Facilitation Model Emerging from 30 Years of Reflective Practice
T Gray, F Pigott – Ecopsychology
There is a lack of longitudinal research to outline the impact of Outdoor Learning in the school curriculum. In the late 1970s, a bespoke Wilderness Studies class was introduced in an Australian school for adolescents which extended over two full academic years. Three decades later, these students were contacted to assess the residual impact of this pioneering teaching method. Utilizing social media research techniques, the study unveils their salient memories to enable a better understanding of the enduring impact of nature immersion. Invariably, respondents argued the outdoor experiences eclipsed their indoor classroom counterpart and left an indelible impression on their formative years of education. Surprisingly, a large number had occupations involving outdoor leadership or environmental stewardship.
Gaston et al – People and Nature, A Journal of Relational Thinking
The vital importance of nature to people, and of people to the future of that nature, is self‐evident. The understanding of those linkages is, nonetheless, being critically transformed and enriched by research that transcends the barriers between ecology and other traditional disciplines. Such studies are not new, but the dramatic growth in their number and influence is, and reflects the growing need for such work in rapidly changing times and circumstances. People and Nature is founded upon a recognition of these developments, and of the need of authors and readers for a journal that is focussed on them.
The Connecting with Nature to Care for Ourselves and the Earth
The global movement #Nature for All
The report illuminates the diverse values of experiences and connections with nature and their relationship to positive behaviors towards the Earth. The information shared in this overview has a vital role to play in informing local, regional, and global policy and action on conservation, sustainable development, and related issues. The report includes a summary of the literature in the field, case study summaries, and ten main recommendations for practice in the field and ways to overcome barriers.
Outdoor time, screen time, and connection to nature: Troubling trends among rural youth?
Larson et al – Environment and Behaviour
Time outdoors and screen time influence rural youths’ connectedness to nature – time outdoors in a positive way; screen time in a negative way. As youth enter their teenage years, their screen time tends to increase and connectedness to nature decrease.
Characteristics associated with high and low levels of ecological literacy in a western society
Pitman, Daniels & Sutton – International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology
Adults in Western countries with high levels of ecological literacy report nature as being very important in both their childhood and current households. They also consider time outdoors as extremely important to their enjoyment of life.
Childhoodnature Pedagogies and Place: An Overview and Analysis
RB Stevenson, G Mannion, N Evans – Research Handbook on Childhoodnature
This chapter explores childhoodnature from a pedagogical perspective of place, beginning with an overview of the conceptual foundations of and distinctions between place-based education and place-responsive and place-conscious pedagogy. We then examine recently emergent post-human and new materialist ontologies and pedagogies for their contributions to new understandings of and approaches to childhoodnature connections.
Relational values about nature in protected area research
A De Vos, CB Joana, R Dirk – Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Protected areas are increasingly expected to justify their existence in terms of their importance to society. However, this importance, and the complex ways in which people relate to protected areas, cannot be captured by instrumental and intrinsic value framings alone. Rather, our understanding of the role of protected areas in society needs to take account of people’s relational values about nature. Here we review the literature on values associated with human-nature connection and related concepts to highlight which approaches are currently being used to understand expressions of relational values in empirical protected area research. Our results highlights seven ‘application domains’ for relational values research, highlighting expressions of relational values, and the stakeholder focus of each. Place-focused and psychological theories were most common across these domains.
The Seven Pathways to Nature Connectedness: A Focus Group Exploration
R Lumber, M Richardson, D Sheffield – European Journal of Ecopsychology
Three focus groups were conducted using the Biophilia hypothesis as a framework to explore how connectedness to nature can be achieved from the perspective of individuals who engage with nature through the Biophilic values. Seven themes emerged from the thematic analysis: investigating nature through scientific enquiry, engaging the senses, creating idyllic nature, noting nature through artistry, nature conservation, growing food and engaging with wild nature. Nature connectedness may result from specific interactions with nature with the seven pathways having implications for both the formation and maintenance of nature connectedness.