You can read all the latest Natural England newsletter here.  Environmental education highlights include:

The state of school residentials in England: 2017
A new study examining ‘the state of school residentials in England: 2017’ has been released by Learning Away.  The study assesses the quantity and quality of residentials currently delivered in schools and is based on analysis of data from tens of thousands of schools and educational establishments over the last five years. It found that far too many children are missing out on these powerful learning and life experiences, with only one in five children experiencing a residential every year.

Introduction: Lessons from the Outdoor Classroom
K Cole, C Bennington – Editorial from Southeastern Naturalist
The collection of articles in this issues represents a range of institutions with missions to educate and the outcomes include an array of engagements from class assignments, field experiments, curricular plans and service-learning programs to conservation and restoration projects.

Natural history collections: teaching about biodiversity across time, space, and digital platforms
AK Monfils et al – Southeastern Naturalist
This paper discusses how collections, specimens and the data associated with them, can be critical components linking nature and scientific enquiry. The emergence of online databases enables scientists and the public to utilise the specimens and associated data to address global, regional and local issues related to biodiversity in a way that was unachievable a decade ago

Time spent outdoors during preschool: Links with children’s cognitive and behavioral development
Ulset et al.  – Journal of Environmental Psychology
This study examined the concurrent and long-term relations between the amount of time children attending daycare spend outdoors and their cognitive and behavioral development during preschool and first grade. Results indicate that outdoor time in preschool may support children’s development of attention skills and protect against inattention-hyperactivity symptoms.

Why forest gardening for children? Swedish forest garden educators’ ideas, purposes, and experiences
E Almers, P Askerlund, S Kjellström – The Journal of Environmental Education
Forest gardens combine qualities of a forest, e.g., multi-layered polyculture vegetation, with those of a school garden, such as accessibility and food production. The study explores both the perceived qualities of forest gardens in comparison to other outdoor settings and forest garden educators’ ideas, purposes, and experiences of activities in a three-year forest gardening project with primary school children.

Outdoor Learning Experiences Connecting Children to Nature
JH Sisson, M Lash – YC Young Children, 2017
In this article describes three exemplary early childhood programs—located in South Australia and
Ohio—that support outdoor learning environments for reaching global goals related to outdoor nature play. While these programs do not collaborate, some similarities in their practices highlight their understanding of the importance of outdoor learning experiences.

Outdoor School for All: Reconnecting Children to Nature
D Sobel – chapter in EarthEd
One of the salient problems facing us today is children’s alienation from the natural world. They are too creeped out to touch earthworms, they don’t know where their food comes from, and they are afraid to walk in the forest alone. We, and our children, are easily seduced by the panoply of digital treats. It is so much easier to be a couch potato than to plant potatoes. The result is that twenty-first-century children spend eight hours a day interacting with digital media, and only thirty minutes a day outside.

Nature-based environmental education of children: Environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature, together, are related to ecological behaviour
S Otto, P Pensini – Global Environmental Change
This paper evaluates the effect of participation in nature-based environmental education and saw increased participation in nature-based environmental education was related to greater ecological behaviour, mediated by increases in environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature. While both factors were similarly predicted by participation in nature-based environmental education, connectedness to nature explained 69% and environmental knowledge 2% of the variance in ecological behaviour.

Nature as children’s space: A systematic review
Adams and Savahl – Journal of Environmental Education
The aim of this article was to systematically review and synthesize the findings of children’s understandings and engagement with nature as a space. The review underscores four thematic domains derived utilizing thematic analysis. It is ostensible from the results that children’s perceptions of and engagement in nature as a space and place are multifarious, benefiting children’s well-being in myriad ways.

A dose of nature and shopping: The restorative potential of biophilic lifestyle center designs
MS Rosenbaum, GC Ramirez, JR Camino – Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
This study contributes to the biophilia design paradigm in marketing by empirically demonstrating the restorative potential of lifestyle centers (such as manicured gardens, plants, fountains, and walkways typified by trendy retail, dining, and entertainment spots). Given the restorative potential of lifestyle centers, this study shows not only the importance of their expansion but also their transformative role in enhancing both individual and societal well-being

An Analysis on the Effectiveness of the Lifelong Learning Through Nature Programme
Mifsud & Chisholm. Chapter in book Handbook of Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development 
Outdoor education is an essential element of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) which is key to address the current situation for a sustainable future. This paper directly illustrates how university research in teamwork with non-governmental organisations can impact the local community and the study will be useful to anyone interested in carrying out effective programmes and research into the links between ESD and outdoor education.’

A scientific evaluation of the health and wellbeing impacts of Wildlife Trusts volunteering programmes
Rogerson, Barton, Bragg, Pretty
The Wildlife Trusts have been working with the University of Essex for the last three years looking at the way that people’s lives are enhanced through contact with nature. This is the third and final report which found that the mental wellbeing of participants improved to a statistically significant effect, over the 12-week period.

City Children’s Nature Knowledge and Contact: It Is Not Just About Biodiversity Provision
C Freeman, A Stein, K Hand, Y van Heezik – Environment and Behavior
This study used a child-centric approach to assess neighborhood nature knowledge in 187 children aged 9 to 11 years, from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups in three New Zealand cities. Generalized linear modeling identified ethnicity as having the strongest association with nature knowledge. Within each ethnic group, social factors were most important (independence, social connections, deprivation) except for Pākehā/NZ European children, where local biodiversity was most important

Engagement with climate change and the environment: A review of the role of relationships to place
E Nicolosi, JB Corbett – Local Environment
This paper sets out to assess the current state of knowledge and provide a framework for analysing dimensions of relations to place and their links with environmental engagement. We systematically analysed the characteristics of 66 studies identified for: focus of research, location, methods, and findings. The answer to the guiding research question – whether place attachment was an effective way to communicate with people about climate change and get them actively engaged with it – was yes (74.2%).

The “Residential” Effect Fallacy in Neighborhood and Health Studies: Formal Definition, Empirical Identification, and Correction
Basile et al – Epidemiology
Because of confounding from the urban/rural and socioeconomic organizations of territories and resulting correlation between residential and nonresidential exposures, classically estimated residential neighborhood–outcome associations capture nonresidential environment effects, overestimating residential intervention effects. Our study diagnosed and corrected this “residential” effect fallacy bias applicable to a large fraction of neighborhood and health studies.

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