Natural England has published its latest round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Groups 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.  You can read it here.

The following caught our eye:

Are Some Natural Environments More Psychologically Beneficial Than Others? The Importance of Type and Quality on Connectedness to Nature and Psychological Restoration
Kayleigh J. Wyles, Mathew P. White, Caroline Hattam, Sabine Pahl, Haney King, and Melanie Austen – Environment and Behaviour
This study used data from a large survey in England, which asked participants to recall a recent visit to nature. After controlling for covariates, respondents recalled greater connectedness to nature and restoration following visits to rural and coastal locations compared with urban green space, and to sites of higher environmental quality (operationalized by protected/designated area status, for example, nature reserves). A series of structural equation analyses provided evidence for a bidirectional association between connectedness and restoration.

Landscapes and human health
Sullivan and Chang – Editorial for special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
As urbanization increases around the world and fewer and fewer people have easy access to completely natural places, there is a growing need to understand how the landscapes we design and inhabit impact our health and wellbeing. This special issue of IJERPH, “Landscapes and Human Health” addresses some of this need and there are 19 articles in this issue: 15 reporting empirical work, 3 systematic reviews of the literature, and 1 describing a compelling new theory.

“I can climb the tree!” Exploring Young Children’s Play and Physical Activity in a Forest School Program
D Harwood et al– The international Journal of Holistic Early Learning and Development
Qualitative and quantitative measures of 3- and 4-year-old children’s play and physical activities in a forest program in Ontario, Canada were conducted over a school year. The study demonstrated that levels of physically active play in the forest were twice that of a ‘typical’ day in a childcare center and specific characteristics of the forest area afforded unique opportunities for more vigorous types of play.

Effects of Regular Classes in Outdoor Education Settings: A Systematic Review on Students’ Learning, Social and Health Dimensions
Becker et al – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
This systematic review examined 13 published studies addressing the nature and benefits of school-based outdoor education programs (OEPs). While more studies focused on learning and social outcomes than other areas of student development, overall results indicate that regular OEPs can promote students’ social, academic, physical and psychological development.

Significant life experiences affect environmental action: A critical review of Taiwanese research
Hsu – Japanese Journal of Environmental Education
Researchers used the results of “significant life experiences” (SLE) studies conducted in Taiwan to develop an “environmental action model” illustrating ways in which SLE contribute to environmental action. Joyful experiences with nature during childhood is included in the model as a fundamental factor that likely promotes future environmental activism. |

Nature Teaches: Young Children’s Experiences Learning Science Outdoors
JMS DeSouza – Chapter in Science Education Research and Practice in Asia-Pacific and Beyond
The purpose of the study is to explore how young children learn science-related concepts when interacting with nature in an outdoor classroom and to examine how preservice education majors’ perceptions of teaching inquiry are developed when they plan and teach young children in an outdoor field-based setting.

… but there are many more.