Here’s the latest round up 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 following caught our eye:

Human–nature connectedness as a ‘treatment’ for pro-environmental behavior: making the case for spatial considerations
K Klaniecki, J Leventon, DJ Abson – Sustainability Science
The degree to which an individual feels connected to the natural world can be a positive predictor of pro-environmental behavior (PEB). This has led to calls to ‘reconnect to nature’ as a ‘treatment’ for PEB. What is not clear is the relationship between where one feels connected to nature and where one acts pro-environmentally. We propose that integrating spatial scale into the conceptualization of these constructs will provide insights into how different degrees of connectedness influence pro-environmental behavior.

Discussing Nature,’Doing’Nature: For an emancipatory approach to conceptualizing young people’s access to outdoor green space
N von Benzon – Geoforum
Across the social sciences there is an extensive literature exploring the complex relationships between society and nature, increasingly concerned with, and critiquing, the notion of a unique relationship between children and green space. This paper explores the conflict between academic and societal approaches to the nature/culture divide through the perceptions and experiences of learning disabled young people, aged 11–16. The findings illustrate the importance of allowing (learning disabled) young people the opportunity for embodied engagement in ‘nature’ spaces.

The effect of an outdoor orientation program on participants’ biophilic expressions
NW Meltzer et al – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of participation in an outdoor orientation program on first-year college students’ relationships with the natural world. TA repeated measures MANOVA was conducted to assess changes in the Kellert-Shorb Biophilic Values Indicator KSBVI subscales over time. Paired-sample t-tests were run to better understand the source and direction of change on the KSBVI subscale scores. These t-tests indicated statistically significant change from the pre to post scores in eight of the nine biophilic values.

Urban Foraging: Rethinking the Human-Nature Connection in Cities
M Martin – eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics
This article examines foraging in urban areas–more specifically in Australia and tropical North Queensland–as an alternative mode of consumption for city residents.The urban foraging system, through gathering wild foods, is an attempt to reconnect with nature in the middle of the city. The author argues that taking responsibility for the food we eat via urban foraging and cooking is a way to connect to nature through food.

Emotion Map Making. Discovering Teachers’ Relationships with Nature.
M Schenetti, E Guerra – Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education
This participatory research focuses on the role of the early childhood practitioner, the emotions they feel, and the meanings they give to the outdoor spaces of the educational facility they inhabit in on a daily basis and share with the children. The results gathered by two tools, heart maps and lived-experience descriptions reveal difficulties teachers experience in connection with some spaces which are considered challenging and the necessity to support teachers in the reappropriation of those spaces with a view to identifying new perspectives for improvement.

Ecological Identity, Empathy, and Experiential Learning: A Young Child’s Explorations of a Nearby River
Humprheys et al – Australian Journal of Environmental Education
This article uses an unconventional format to explore the role of parent and nature and the development of a young child’s ecological identity. It follows journal entries from a mother observing her young son, Julian, as he explores, interacts with, and learns from the Stawamus River on the west coast of British Columbia.

Children with ADHD draw-and-tell about what makes their life really good
Barfield & Driessnack, 2018.. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing
Twenty children diagnosed with ADHD shared information during individual interviews about what made their life really good.  Seventeen of the children referenced the natural world.  The researchers conclude that while biophilia may apply to all children, the implications and/or impact of this natural affinity may be especially important for children with ADHD.

Planning ahead: the mental health value of natural environments
Craig & Prescott. The Lancet Planetary Health
The existing body of epidemiological work linking the natural environment and mental health has been very encouraging but much of the research relies heavily on cross-sectional designs. Thus, the translation and application of existing research to policy and planning decisions has been hampered by the scarcity of prospective evidence of natural environments as a causative factor in promoting mental health resilience.


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