Here’s a further selection of research and other reports related to learning and the environment collated by Natural England.

An Affective Measure of Nature Connectedness for Children and Adults: Validation, Performance and Insights.
Richardson, Hunt, Hinds, Bragg, Fido, Petronzi, Barbett, Clitherow, and White. – Journal of Nature Conservation.
To establish the reliability of the new Nature Connection Index (NCI) three factor analyses were conducted. One was based on a large Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) dataset for adults with a replication from data sets collected online, and a third used MENE data from children. To validate the NCI as a measure for nature connectedness an online comparison study included the NCI alongside other established measures. The results showed that the NCI was a reliable and valid scale that offers a short, simple alternative to other measures of nature connectedness.

Openness Is Related to Proenvironmental Behavior Both Within and Across Families
C Puech, J Dougal, C Deery, C Waddell, R Mõttus – Environment and Behavior
Environment-friendly behaviors may be desirable in helping to solve worldwide ecological issues. This has sparked interest in the associations of such behaviors with established psychological constructs such as the Five-Factor Model personality traits. Of these, Openness has been most consistently linked with proenvironmental behavior; yet, the extent of causality in this association is unclear. Using a sample of 168 individuals, including 84 sibling pairs, the present study replicated the association while controlling for factors in which families. Proenvironmental behavior was correlated with Openness and the association could be observed both between and within families, with adjustments for various demographic variables.

Human Habitat Selection: Using Tools from Wildlife Ecology to Predict Recreation in Natural Landscapes
BP Pauli et al – Natural Areas Journal
This paper presents a case study of the adoption of wildlife habitat selection methods to human land use. We use the locations of recreational shooters in Idaho and environmental features along with a species distribution model to identify features associated with shooting locations. Additionally, we derive maps of the predicted suitability of locations for recreational shooting. These results illustrate the way habitat selection methods from wildlife ecology can be translated to research on human space use and highlight the potential for adoption of such methods.

Reviewing how intergenerational learning can help conservation biology face its greatest challenge
MN Peterson, KT Stevenson, DF Lawson – Biological Conservation
Environmental problems can be resolved when the public is no longer willing to accept their risks and demands change. Notable examples include responses to the ozone hole and acid rain, but in an emerging post-truth world, politicization of conservation can result in adults ignoring risks and accepting the status quo. This problem is particularly acute for conservation biology challenges linked to climate change. We argue that child to parent intergenerational learning is an understudied but promising pathway to incite biodiversity conservation actions among children and adults. We review key practices of intergenerational learning and outline how its best practices may be integrated in conservation biology programming and research.

Grassroots to Global: Broader Impacts of Civic Ecology
Krasny (Ed.) – Book
Civic ecology practices are small-scale innovations that initially emerge outside of government bureaucracies and build on current traditions, such as, community gardening, litter cleanups, and tree planting. These practices use civic engagement as a strategic action to integrate science, policy and decision making in urban environmental stewardship. Citizen participation holds promise for changing social norms and building a culture of caring for public and degraded spaces. Civic ecology enhances an individual’s connection to the rest of nature. The book provides a wide range of practices spanning different locations.

Reconciliation, Welcoming of the Wild, and the Desire to Turn Back Time
E von Essen PhD – The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies
The theme of this special issue is People-Nature Reconciliation. Reconciliation has been defined in different ways across disciplinary contexts. In this particular context we understand reconciliation as, first, the desire to restore that which has been lost – a quality, a relationship, or a state of being. Secondly, reconciliation involves bringing back together entities that have been estranged (from its Latin roots).

Messaging matters: A systematic review of the conservation messaging literature
LR Kidd et al – Biological Conservation
Changing human behavior and attitudes are key to conserving global biodiversity. Despite evidence from other disciplines that strategic messaging can influence behavior and attitudes, it remains unclear how to best design messages to benefit biodiversity. We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the status of conservation messaging research, and to evaluate whether studies address essential elements of message design and theory from other disciplines. Results suggest that conservation scientists are not effectively drawing from the long-standing expertise of disciplines with well-established messaging techniques. Many studies do not draw on established behavior change theories or audience segmentation techniques.

The Case for Nature Connectedness as a Distinct Goal of Early Childhood Education
A Barrable – International Journal of Early Childhood
The distinct construct of nature connectedness has not been examined in detail in relation to early childhood education. This article aims to bring together environmental psychology literature and early years’ policy in an attempt to make the case for nature connectedness becoming a distinct goal in early childhood curricular frameworks.

Connecting children to nature through residential outdoor environmental education
Mullenbach et al – Environmental Education Research
This study examined whether a residential outdoor environmental education program contributed to the development of children’s connection to nature and their attitudes and involvement in spending time outdoors. Results indicated moderate success in the program’s effort to increase participants’ nature connection, but yielded mixed results on outcomes related to time spent outdoors.

A Framework for the Development of Schoolyard Pedagogy
K Feille – Research in Science Education
There is little research investigating the pedagogical development of teachers who use the schoolyard to teach. Understanding the framework of development of schoolyard pedagogy can help pre- and in-service teacher educators prepare effective elementary science teachers to take advantage of the teaching opportunities in the schoolyard. This manuscript constructs a framework of development of schoolyard pedagogy as described in the themes of experience across the professional life histories of elementary teachers who frequently use the schoolyard to teach.

Childhoodnature–An Assemblage Adventure
A Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, K Malone, EB Hacking – book
What follows in this International handbook are nine distinct sections, together with a companion authored by children and young people. It is the first handbook on childhoodnature research, theory, and practice – a new field of research and inquiry. In the handbook introduction, we initially invite readers to join us for a grandtour of the handbook and companion, followed by a rich discussion on the new concept “childhoodnature” co-created by the handbook editors.

The Dirt of Development: Nature’s Role in Social-Emotional Development and Parent-Child Connectedness
HJ Lindsey – Masters Thesis
The purpose of this study was to examine associations between nature connectedness, parentchild connectedness, and the development of prosocial behavior. Gaps in the literature were addressed by analyzing the role that parent nature connectedness has in predicting child nature connectedness. The findings of this study also suggest parent and child nature connectedness as being supportive of the parent-child relationship.

To what extent can the experience of outdoor learning contexts prevent permanent school exclusion for older learners? A visual analysis
HL Knowler, I Lazar, D Cortese, JS Dillon – Conference Paper from Edulearn 18
This paper reports on a one-year project that focused on outdoor learning experiences for learners 12 – 14 years of age in a woodland environment in the UK. We wanted to investigate the ways in which experience in the outdoor environment could potentially mitigate school factors such as practitioner values and attitudes, learner motivation and engagement that contribute to the processes of permanent school exclusion and therefore examine the claim that outdoor learning could provide an ‘alternative’ to using exclusion as a disciplinary sanction .

Residential exposure to green space and early childhood neurodevelopment
Jiaqiang Liao et al – Environment International

  • Limited studies examined the association of exposure to green space with neurodevelopment during early childhood.
  • We examined to examine the association of residential surrounding greenness with early childhood neurodevelopment basing on a prospective birth cohort.
  • Exposure to higher levels of residential surrounding greenness was associated with better development of early childhood mental development and psychomotor development.
  • Traffic-related air pollution mediated the association between residential surrounding greenness and early childhood psychomotor development.

Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change
Editors – Melissa R. Marselle, Jutta Stadler, Horst Korn, Katherine N. Irvine, Aletta Bonn. Book
This open access book identifies and discusses biodiversity’s contribution to physical, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing. Furthermore, the book identifies the implications of this relationship for nature conservation, public health, landscape architecture and urban planning – and considers the opportunities of nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation.

Integrating outdoor learning into the curriculum: an exploration in four nations
Passy et al – Curriculum Perspectives
This paper explores an increasing awareness among policy-makers that learning outside can provide beneficial experiences for pupils in compulsory education. It has arisen from the work undertaken during a three-year UK Economic and Social Research Council International Networking and Partnership Award (ES/J019445/1), in which colleagues from Australia, Denmark, England and Singapore met regularly to discuss learning outside, to theorise activity and to disseminate research undertaken in each nation.

The meaning of participation in school ground greening: A study from project to everyday setting. 
Jansson, Martensson & Gunnarsson – Landscape Research
Children’s responses to a participatory school ground greening project indicated that green design in itself is not enough to promote participatory learning activities in primary school children. The role of adults and children’s relations to the adults are crucial for obtaining desired outcomes.

School gardening as a means to influence pupils’ nutritional attitudes and behavior: A study at general and vocational high schools in Vienna.
T Rademacher, F Leisch, V Fiala, B Freyer – Journal of Sustainability Education
The impact of school gardening on nutritional attitudes and behavior regarding purchase and consumption of food is explored with pupils who participated in school gardens. The pupils who participated in school gardening are significantly better informed about sustainability than the pupils who did not. There is a significant difference between pupils who took part in school gardening and those who did not, regarding their self-assessment towards their connection to nature and sustainability. The total consumption of vegetables has increased within the families of participating pupils by 17%. School gardening seems to promote pupils’ reflection on their own diet as well as foster a favorable attitude towards a healthy and sustainable diet.

Residential greenness and mortality in oldest-old women and men in China: a longitudinal cohort study
John S Ji et al – The Lancet Planetary Health
This paper assessed exposure to greenness through satellite-derived Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values. Individuals in the highest quartile of contemporaneous NDVI values had 27% lower mortality than those in the lowest quartile for the 250 m radius, and 30% lower mortality for the 1250 m radius. The research suggests that proximity to more green space is associated with increased longevity

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