More from Natural England. Following last week’s post, this is a further round up by Natural England of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items from the UK and abroad, with a focus on education and learning. This 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.
Increased Exposure to Nature Reduces Elementary Students’ Anxiety
SW Rían, KM Coll – Ecopsychology
Participants were given anxiety and connection to nature assessments 1 week before and after the 6-week intervention. Results indicated that anxiety was significantly reduced among the experimental group, and that there was a significant increase in connection to nature among both groups. Based on these findings, this study presents a cost-effective intervention that reduces student anxiety and is easily incorporated into an existing guidance curriculum.
The Physical Characteristics of Children’s Preferred Natural Settings in Primary School Grounds
F Aminpour – Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Children express interest in plant species that offer affordances to their play. Children prefer the natural settings located along the edges of main play spaces. The boundaries around the natural settings influence children’s play types in them. Children are sensitive to the condition of plants and prefer them well-maintained. Children do not often experience conflict of activities in natural settings.
Greening schoolyards: An urban resilience perspective
Flax et al. – Cities
Researchers applied a nine-box resilience frame to study the multi-beneficial impacts of greening schoolyards in three large cities (Chicago, Amsterdam, and Paris). Benefits identified through this approach included (a) enhanced community engagement and social cohesion, (b) mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and (c) improved human health and well-being.
Improving Children’s Emotional Health through Installing Biowalls in Classrooms
AY Lee, HR Kim, HJ Kwon, SY Kim, SA Park – Journal of People, Plants and Environment
We assessed the children’s emotional intelligence, resilience, and eco-friendly attitudes before the installation of the biowalls and then again 3 months later.The children’s emotional intelligence, resilience, and eco-friendly attitudes had been significantly improved afterthe installation of the biowalls. The sub-categories of the children’s emotional intelligence and resilience were also significantly improved
Associations between the naturalness of window and interior classroom views, subjective well-being of primary school children and their performance in an attention and concentration test
P Lindemann-Matthies, D Benkowitz, F Hellinger – Landscape and Urban Planning
Natural window views were associated with less perceived stress and more attention. Natural views were not associated with performance in a concentration test. Children’s nature experiences were associated with less perceived stress in school. Children’s nature experiences were associated with perceived well-being in school.
The contribution transport time makes to outdoor programs: A third place?
S Beames, T Stanton, B Chan, C North – Journal of Experiential Education
During transport to and from outdoor education field trips, students experience a period of togetherness and minimal imposed structure. Transport time also appears to align with Oldenburg’s third places, where people spend time together without a particular agenda. The perspectives of 16 outdoor educators were gathered using a semi-structured interview protocol. Findings highlighted the centrality of conversation between students and between students and educators; the low profile of transport time; and a sense of excitement and fun. Students controlled the intensity of their “presence” through the use of devices (where allowed) and by selecting their sitting position in the vehicle. The findings show that transport time allowed students to have a broad variety of conversations that could be variously silly and fun, deep and introspective.
Associations between green/blue spaces and mental health across 18 countries.
MP White et al – Scientific Reports
Using data from an 18-country survey we explored associations between multiple measures of mental health and: (a) exposures to different natural settings; and (b) nature connectedness, across season and country. People who lived in greener/coastal neighbourhoods reported higher positive well-being, but this association largely disappeared when recreational visits were controlled for. Frequency of recreational visits to green, inland-blue, and coastal-blue spaces in the last 4 weeks were all positively associated with positive well-being and negatively associated with mental distress. Associations with green space visits were relatively consistent across seasons and countries but associations with blue space visits showed greater heterogeneity. Nature connectedness was also positively associated with positive well-being and negatively associated with mental distress and was, along with green space visits, associated with a lower likelihood of using medication for depression.
Physical Activity Supporting Connection to Nature, and Helping to Maintain Wellbeing during the Covid-19 Restrictions in England
O’Brien & Forster – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
This survey focused on people who were already interested or engaged with nature. We explored whether being physically activity changed or not, if being active impacted people’s wellbeing and whether those who were active benefited from connecting to nature. We found that those meeting the government recommended levels of physical activity in the previous week, of 150 min, were more likely to maintain their overall wellbeing through feeling that the things they did in their life were worthwhile and reported an increase in feelings of connection to nature. While those who did less than 30 min of physical activity in the previous week were less happy and more anxious than usual.
When it matters most: a trauma-informed, outdoor learning programme to support children’s wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond
M Mulholland, C O’Toole – Irish Educational Studies
This paper presents a unique school-based programme that harnesses the benefits of both trauma-informed practice (TIP) and outdoor environments to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing throughout the pandemic and beyond. The programme activities are aligned to the Northern Ireland curriculum. This paper makes a distinct contribution to the field; firstly by demonstrating how teachers can use their craft – teaching – as a component of TIP; and secondly by infusing trauma-informed principles within outdoor learning environments.
Understanding Black, Asian, Latinx, and White College Students’ Views of Nature: Frequent Thoughts About Wild, Remote, Rural, and Urban Landscapes
DE Taylor – American Behavioral Scientist
This study of American college students examines what students think about when they reflect on nature. The study found that respondents from all racial backgrounds reported that they thought about urban landscapes when they contemplated nature. Though the racial differences were significant, the results show that ethnic minority students do not fixate on urban landscapes; less than half of the students of color said they thought about urban landscapes regularly when they thought about nature. Instead, more than 90% of the respondents thought about the wild, wilderness, and untamed lands regularly when they cogitated nature.
Connection to nature is predicted by family values, social norms and personal experiences of nature
RRY Oh et al – Global Ecology and Conservation
We conducted a national survey in Singapore to investigate the associations of family values, social norms relating to spending time in nature, and experiences of nature, with three dimensions of connection to nature.We found that family values were significantly associated with all three dimensions of a person’s connection to nature. Biospheric and altruistic family values had a direct and positive association with NR-Perspective, while egoistic family values had a direct but negative association. The relationship between biospheric values and the three dimensions of connection to nature was also mediated through social norms of family and friends, and experiences of nature.