Here’s a round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items issued by the partnership of Natural England, The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and Historic England on behalf of and for the Strategic Research Groups.  This supports the Strategic Research Groups 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.

Using Images to Capture Faculty’s Beliefs about Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings
M Blom, M D’Amico – Journal of Studies in Education, 2016
Findings are presented from a qualitative research study that used photo-elicitation methods to explore faculty members’ beliefs about play and learning for children in Early Childhood Education and Care environments when teaching preservice early childhood educators in recognized post-secondary Early Childhood Education programs in Canada. Participants believe that play is a vehicle for learning, advocate for children’s free play in Early Childhood Education and Care settings as well as express concerns about the decline of play in children’s lives.

Mutual Impacts of Geocaching and Natural Environment
J Schneider et al – Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis. 2016
The rising popularity of geocaching is linked to increased risk of negative impacts on natural environment. Based on that, this paper intends to present possible approach of how to evaluate these impacts in the Landscape protected area Moravian Karst (Czech Republic) and in the Vrátna Dolina valley (National Park Malá Fatra, Slovak Republic).

Using Mobile Technology to Engage Children With Nature
MR Crawford, MD Holder, BP O’Connor – Environment and Behavior, 2016
The efficacy of a mobile application to increase connectedness to nature and impart flora/fauna/ecological knowledge was assessed in 747 children in three separate and distinctive parks: a wetland, a prairie grassland, and an indoor tropical garden. Results showed that the mobile application was just as effective at connecting children to nature as more traditional ways of non-formal environmental education, but the mobile application offered additional benefits such as higher ratings of fun.

Recreational Use of the Countryside: No Evidence that High Nature Value Enhances a Key Ecosystem Service
Karen Hornigold , Iain Lake , Paul Dolman. Plos ONE
This is the first study to model outdoor recreation at a national scale, examining habitat preferences with statutory designation (Site of Special Scientific Interest) as an indicator of nature conservation importance. Models were based on MENE data. Recreationists preferred areas of coast, freshwater, broadleaved woodland and higher densities of footpaths and avoided arable, coniferous woodland and lowland heath. Although conservation designation offers similar or greater public access than undesignated areas of the same habitat, statutory designation decreased the probability of visitation to coastal and freshwater sites and gave no effect for broadleaved woodland.

What kind of landscape management can counteract the extinction of experience?
A Colléony, AC Prévot, M Saint Jalme, S Clayton – Landscape and Urban Planning, 2017
Landscape management could play a prominent role in providing opportunities and motivation for people to be in nature. It is important, therefore, to understand which kinds of nature people mostly prefer and use. People cited a wide range of natural areas and five types predominated, consistently for all samples surveyed. Interestingly, connectedness with nature was negatively related to mentions of place specificity, but positively related to frequency of visits of natural areas.

Greener on the Other Side Cultivating Community and Improvement Through Sustainability Practices
WL Sterrett, L Kensler, T McKey – Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 2016
Sustainability practices that lead to greener schools are often overlooked in leadership preparation programs and in school improvement efforts. An urban middle school principal recognizes the potential to build community, foster a healthy learning environment, and redefine her school through focusing on sustainability practices in a collaborative manner.

Learning for Life and Educational Services
M Everard – 2016 chapter in The Wetland Book
From the fringes of oceans and major rivers and lakes to the smallest of urban pools, wetlands offer a wide range of educational opportunities. These span multiple forms of learning, ranging from formal educational centers at or relating to wetlands through to informal learning opportunities afforded by proximity to wetlands.


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