This is a round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items from the UK and abroad. It supports the Strategic Research Network for People and Nature to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.  If you have your own work or know of other papers that would be of interest or would like more information on the Strategic Research Network please contact Martin Gilchrist
Where Are We Going? International Views on Purposes, Practices and Barriers in School-Based Outdoor Learning
S Waite – Education Sciences
Through understanding how different purposes are being approached internationally, we can learn how outdoor learning might best be supported to achieve particular outcomes. Eighty expert commentators on outdoor learning from 19 countries/areas responded to a short online survey about motivations for and practices in school-based outdoor learning, based on their experience working in this field. The three most frequently reported forms of outdoor learning practiced in schools were field studies, early years outdoor activities, and outdoor and adventure education. Among identified purposes for outdoor learning provision within schooling, supporting environmental awareness and action and pupil health and well-being were the most common.
Where do the children play? An objective analysis of children’s use of green space
N Freeman et al – Health Promotion International
This study aimed to objectively assess children’s use of green space in both public and private settings during their summer leisure time, using wearable cameras. Images from cameras worn by 74 children were analysed for green space use over 4 days. Children spent an average of ∼1/10 h of leisure time in green space in the summer months, were physically active 68%, and with others 85%, of the time. Wearable cameras provide an effective method for objective assessment of green space use.
Character Through Outdoor Adventure Education? The (Delimiting) Hope of Modern Virtue Ethics
P Stonehouse – Journal of Experiential Education
This article searches the OAE literature for substantiating evidence (rational and empirical). Then, in light of this search, a virtue ethical account of character, including its development, and relevance to OAE, is outlined. Evidence for character development through OAE is nearly non-existent, and semantic, philosophical, and empirical critiques loom large. If OAE wishes to continue its moral mission, then an account of character—promisingly provided in virtue ethical theory(s)—that can withstand these critiques is needed.
Effects of Nature Exposure on Cognitive-Perceptual-Motor Performance
S Soendergaard – PhD. Florida State University
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a nature-based intervention on cognitive-perceptual-motor performance more relevant to athletic performance, in an experimental study. Results from a series of mixed ANOVAs showed no significant differences in actual performance improvements between the two groups (urban and nature exposure), and no differences in self-reported mental effort and fatigue, although the nature group indicated feeling more mentally restored and rejuvenated following the intervention.

A South African exploration into outdoor adventure education and adolescent psychosocial development
J Blaine, J Akhurst – Journal of Psychology in Africa
This study explored the psychosocial outcomes of an outdoor adventure program for adolescents. Applying a pre- and post-test quasi-experimental design, the adolescents completed self-report measures (including the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire, Emotional Literacy Questionnaire, and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale) at three points in time: pre- and post-Journey, and four months later. Results following ANOVA analysis indicated increases in the adolescents’ self-reports of life effectiveness and resilience (but not of emotional literacy) on completion of the programme. Findings suggest that a strength-based OAE would enhance psychosocial outcomes of adolescent school learners.
Teaching traditional indoor school lessons in nature: The effects on student learning and behaviour
MF Norwood, A Lakhani, E Kendall – Landscape and Urban Planning
This study investigates the effect that lessons in nature have on disadvantaged young people’s behaviour and learning compared to lessons in a standard classroom over one school term. A quasi-experimental study was conducted in a socioeconomically disadvantaged city in Australia. Although engagement in the group with lessons in nature was better, this did not translate to better grades; reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. Outdoor classrooms may promote less disengagement and misbehaviour in class, and this could be significant for those affected disproportionately by it.
Joint Recommendations on Reporting Empirical Research in Outdoor, Experiential, Environmental, and Adventure Education Journals
J Seaman, U Dettweiler, B Humberstone, B Martin, H Prince, J Quay
This essay interprets recent statements by major educational and psychological associations and applies their guidelines for research reporting to the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership (JOREL), the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education (JOEE), the Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning (JAEOL), and the Journal of Experiential Education (JEE). The associations’ recommendations for reporting qualitative and quantitative research should be considered as guidance for submitting future empirical manuscripts to these journals.
Unravelling threshold concepts in outdoor education
C Schnitzler, H Engstu, M Wassner – chapter in Threshold Concepts in Physical Education: A Design Thinking Approach
This book uses a design thinking approach to examine transformative learning and liminality in physical education. Covering theory and practice, it introduces the important idea of ‘threshold concepts’ for physical education, helping physical educators to introduce those concepts into curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.
The impact of school gardens on youth social and emotional learning: a scoping review
AM Lohr et al – Journal of Adventure Eduction and Outdoor Learning
In this scoping review, we synthesized evidence describing the impact of school gardens on youth Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). While the included qualitative studies demonstrated that school garden programming can positively influence SEL, the included quantitative studies had few statistically significant results. Thus, at this time we can only say that qualitative research from five studies suggests that school garden programs have the potential to successfully enhance experiences that promote SEL.
The relationship between green space and prosocial behaviour among children and adolescents: A systematic review.
Putra et al – Frontiers in Psychology
A systematic search of the academic literature found 15 studies addressing a possible link between exposure to urban green space and prosocial behaviors in children and youth. Overall findings suggest a positive association. Potential pathways linking green space to prosocial behavior are presented, along with a discussion about magnitude, moderators, and mediators of the association.

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