Strategic Research Groups Round Up of Recent Research, Policy and Practice - May 2016

Purpose: round up of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items. 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.

Key audience: Strategic Research Group members and increasingly colleagues across policy and delivery sectors too.

Collated and 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.

Do continue to send items for the round up to
Please also contact Martin if you would like more information on the Strategic Research Groups or would like advice from them.

View this email in your browser

Natural Environment and People evidence round up – May 2016
Welcome to the latest round up of information for May. Contributions featuring members of the SRGs are highlighted in green below.

We are conscious that this is a long document as we have attempted to capture a wide range of information that may be of interest. As always we would welcome your feedback on whether this is useful as a way of sharing information or whether it duplicates something that already exists?  Any suggestions for improvements are welcome. 

If you have your own work or others that would be of interest please do send it to Martin Gilchrist, at any time for inclusion in the next round up.
Many thanks
Martin Gilchrist, Sarah Preston and Anne Hunt   

This round up has the following sections



Ecological psychology as a theoretical framework for development of sustainable behaviours towards the environment
Brymer, E. and Davids, K. Journal of Environmental Education Research, 2012
This paper proposes how the theoretical framework of ecological dynamics can provide an influential model of the learner and the learning process to pre-empt effective behaviour changes. The model stems from perspectives on behaviour change in ecological psychology and dynamical systems theory. We conclude by providing generic principles of application which might define the learning process in environmental education programmes.
The Search for Freedom in Extreme Sports: A Phenomenological Exploration
Brymer, E. & Schweitzer, R. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 2014
Participation in extreme sports is continuing to grow, yet there is still little understanding of participant motivations in such sports. Results reveal six elements of freedom: from constraints, as movement, as letting go of the need for control, as the release of fear, as being at one, and finally as choice and responsibility. The findings reveal that motivations in extreme sport do not simply mirror traditional images of risk taking and adrenaline and include an exploration of the ways in which humans seek fundamental human values.
Understanding the Psychological Health and Well-Being Benefits of Physical Activity in Nature: An Ecological Dynamics Analysis
Brymer, E., Davids, K., & Mallabon, E. Journal of Ecopsychology, 2014
There is growing evidence that contact with nature and physical activity in nature have considerable benefits for human health. In this paper, we propose a functional perspective from ecological dynamics, which emphasizes the person-environment scale of analysis for understanding the psychological benefits of physical activity in nature. From this viewpoint, psychological benefits of green exercise emerge during interactions with natural environments to enhance human health and well-being.
Physical, psychological and emotional benefits of green exercise: an ecological dynamics perspective
Y. Hsiaopu., J. A. Stone., S. Churchill, J. Wheat, K. Davids & E. Brymer. Sports Medicine, 2016
Our theoretical analysis suggests there are three distinct levels of engagement in green physical activity, with each level reported to have a positive effect on human behaviours. However, the extent to which each level of green physical activity benefits health and wellbeing is assumed to differ, requiring confirmation in future research. Here we propose an ecological dynamics rationale to explain how and why green physical activity might influence health and wellbeing of different population groups.
Adventure as a means to enhancing HEPA and psychological wellbeing
Peter Clough, Susan Houge McKenzie, Elizabeth Mallabon and Eric Brymer. Sports Medicine, (In Press)
Adventurous physical activity has traditionally been considered the pastime of a small minority of people with deviant personalities or characteristics that compel them to take great risks purely for the sake of thrills and excitement. However, recent research has demonstrated that adventurous physical activities are linked to enhanced psychological health and well-being outcomes. These benefits go beyond ‘character building’ concepts and emphasize positive frameworks that rely on the development of environmental design.

Participation in environmental enhancement and conservation activities for health and well-being in adults: a review of quantitative and qualitative evidence
K Husk, R Lovell, C Cooper, W Stahl-Timmins, R Garside. Cochrane Public Health Group, 2016
This is the report from a systematic review examining if taking part in activities that enhance the natural environment can improve people’s physical and mental health. Participants were adult volunteers or were referred by a healthcare professional. The majority of quantitative studies reported no effect on health and well-being. In the qualitative studies people reported feeling better, they liked the opportunity for increased social contact, and also valued a sense of achievement, being in nature and provision of a daily structure.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Smart Tracker for People with Dementia
J Ng, H Kong. Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference, 2016
Wandering is a prevalent behavior for people with Dementia (PwD). Existing tracker designs disempower PwD as objects to be monitored by the caregivers. Inspired by human-centered multimedia computing (HCMC) that advocates the adaptation of machine with the user, we design a smart GPS tracker that will analyze human activity, adapt to individual wandering patterns, and subsequently employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate safe and independent outdoor walking.
Bleeding at the roots: Postsecondary student mental health and nature affiliation
E Windhorst, A Williams. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe Canadien, 2016
Over the past decade the mental health status of post-secondary students in North America has been receiving increasing attention. In response, many post-secondary institutions have developed formal strategies aimed at addressing the issue.. While those who develop these strategies recognize that many environmental factors shape student mental health, they pay little attention to the role that ‘nature’ might play in the system, despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating an intimate connection between mental health and nature affiliation.
Does perceived restorativeness mediate the effects of perceived biodiversity and perceived naturalness on emotional well-being following group walks in nature?
MR Marselle, KN Irvine, A Lorenzo-Arribas, SL Warber. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2016
Natural environments are associated with positive health and well-being. However, little is known about the influence of environmental qualities on well-being and the mechanisms underlying this association.  In this study perceived restorativeness mediated the effects of perceived bird biodiversity, perceived naturalness, and perceived walk intensity on positive affect, happiness and negative affect. The effect of walk duration on happiness was also mediated by perceived restorativeness. Perceived walk intensity had a direct effect on positive affect and happiness.
Orange Is the New Green: Exploring the Restorative Capacity of Seasonal Foliage in Schoolyard Trees
E Paddle, J Gilliland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2016
In this quasi-experimental study, a proposed schoolyard greening project was used to visualize alternative planting designs and seasonal tree foliage; these design alternatives were subsequently used as visual stimuli in a survey administered to children who will use the schoolyard to assess the perceived restorative capacity of different design features. The findings indicate that seasonal changes in tree foliage enhance the perceived restorative quality of schoolyard environments. Specifically, fall foliage colour, when compared to green foliage, is rated as being perceived to be equally restorative for children.
The extended Inclusion of Nature in Self scale
C Martin, S Czellar. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2016
By relying on various theoretical paradigms, extant research has developed several measurement tools for the assessment of individual environmental identity. One of the most important such tools is the Inclusion of Nature in Self measure (INS; Schultz, 2001). In Study 1, we explore the relevance of spatial metaphors in the assessment of self-nature connection. Based on the insights from this study, we develop an extended version of the INS and investigate its dimensionality, reliability, and validity across 5 studies.
Research Project on the role of outdoor residential experiences on educaational attainment
Carol Fuller. University of Reading, 2016
This research explored the role of outdoor residential experiences on the educational attainment and confidence of a group of under achieving students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. In the context of disadvantage, the results for GCSE educational gains in terms of overall attainment (attainment 8) as well as attainment in GCSE English and Maths show that the attainment results were much better for the research group and that the difference in attainment between the two groups is statistically significant.
Falling into LINE: school strategies for overcoming challenges associated with learning in natural environments (LINE)
A Edwards-Jones, S Waite, R Passy. Education 3-13, 2016
As the benefits of outdoor learning have become of increasing interest to the education sector, so the importance of understanding and overcoming challenges associated with this pedagogy has gained greater significance. This research paper examines qualitative data obtained from case study visits to schools. The results from teaching staff interviews and focus groups show that schools face many and varied challenges to embedding outdoor learning, and a raft of strategies are presented for tackling these challenges and integrating learning in the natural environment into much of the current curriculum.
Plant blindness and the implications for plant conservation
M Balding, K Williams. Conservation Biology, 2016
Plant conservation initiatives lag behind efforts to promote animal species, receiving considerably less funding. This essay explores one potential reason for that bias: a tendency among humans to neither notice nor value plants in the environment. We assess evidence for ‘plant-blindness’ and conclude that both perceptual and cultural factors shape the ways that people understand and value plants.
Education for Sustainable Happiness and Well-Being -
Catherine O'Brien. Book, 2016
A new concept, sustainable happiness, was developed by O’Brien (2005) to merge principles from sustainability and findings from happiness studies. It is defined as “happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global well-being without exploiting other people, the environment or future generations.” Sustainable happiness can be incorporated into any area of the curriculum as well as school policies and practice
The Relationships between Children's Perceptions of the Natural Environment and Solving Environmental Problems
Sarah O'Malley. Development Education and Climate Change, 2015
This article adds to the discussion around understanding how children interpret the natural environment through an in-depth examination of the dynamic relationships between environmental education, development education and education for sustainable development. How and to what extent children interpret or relate to those issues is crucial to the overall environmental sustainability process.

The role of natural environments in developing a sense of belonging: A comparative study of immigrants in the US, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany
K Peters, M Stodolska, A Horolets. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 2016
This paper examines the role of natural environments in the development of a sense of belonging among immigrants in host countries. The findings explore recreation in natural environments in relation to the three cornerstones of belonging: history, place, and people.
Investigating the sets of values that community members hold toward local nature centers
MHEM Browning et al. Environmental Education, 2016
While nature center’s missions often point to connecting people to nature in various ways, their potential to provide a broader array of services to their communities remains largely unexplored. Exploratory factor analysis identified four underlying values: environmental connection, leisure provision, community resilience, and civic engagement. The identification of these value sets provides food for thought regarding not only the services they provide, but also how they communicate their roles to various constituencies in their communities.
Evaluating environmental education, citizen science, and stewardship through naturalist programs
AM Merenlender, AW Crall, S Drill, M Prysby, H Ballard. Conservation Biology, 2016
We examined data from two regional naturalist programs to understand participant motivations, barriers, and perspectives as well as the actions they take to advance science, stewardship, and community engagement. Motivations of participants focused on learning about the local environment and plants and animals, connecting with nature, becoming certified, and spending time with people who have similar interests. We examined barriers to participation by younger and underrepresented groups and found that the primary barrier was lack of time due to the need to work and focus on career advancement.
Exploring the Impacts of Teton Science Schools' Field Education Programs on Visiting Teachers' Beliefs and Practices about Place-Based Education
J Thomsen, Masters thesis, 2016
This study was conducted to investigate the impacts on teachers’ beliefs and practices about place-based education. The data suggest that participants demonstrated increased use of several place-based education practices with increasing visits to Teton Science Schools. A greater appreciation and understanding of place-based education was also emphasized by participants as an outcome of their visit.
Designing Children's Digital-Physical Play in Natural Outdoors Settings
J Back et al. Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference, 2016
Children's outdoor play is fluent and fluctuating, shaped by environmental features and conditions. The article reports on a project where interaction designers and landscape architects work together to develop solutions for integrating interactive play in outdoor environments. We highlight in particular how the interactive technology contributed to the versatility of play activities, but also how the nature setting and the availability of natural materials contributed to the play activities around the interactive artefacts.
Amphitheater High School's Outdoor Classroom: A Study in the Application of Design
A Rioux. Thesis, 2016
There has been a nationwide movement which has promoted urban agriculture.. The surge in popularity of community gardens that create a sense of ownership within a community, community connections are made. The popularity of these gardens extends to schools, and a whole branch of pedagogy which emphasizes place based learning. The benefits to these schools is tremendous. The intent of this study is to explore the value created for these spaces by a formalized design process
University Outdoor Orientation Programs and Their Distance to Public Land
Koch, Brian. Poster. Celebrating Scholarship & Creativity Day, 2016
Many universities encourage students to get outside as much as possible. Getting outside has shown to be beneficial for student’s physical and mental health as well as allowing students to participate outdoors to better understand the natural world. This project documents the locations of 4-year universities and their proximity to U.S. public and federal lands. It documents the universities that provide these programs, and shows their distances to lands in which the programs can utilize for outdoor recreation.
The Garden Project: Reclaiming the Garden as an Intimate Connection to Place
M Hendry. Thesis, 2016
The garden is a relationship. It brings humanity into tension with nature, creating an assemblage of shared moments over time. The Garden Project is exploring the potential of the garden in the modern profession of landscape architecture. The findings of the study culminate in a manifesto, calling the profession of landscape architecture to reclaim the garden as a valuable tool for forging a personal connection to place.
Direct Experience With Nature and the Development of Biological Knowledge
SE Longbottom, V Slaughter. Early Education and Development, 2016
An emerging consensus is that casual, direct contact with nature influences the development of children’s biological knowledge. Here we review the existing literature on this topic. Although the research is limited, the evidence suggests that these factors positively influence children’s understanding of specific biological phenomena  and reasoning patterns. This review highlights the importance of direct exposure to the natural world for children’s conceptual development in the domain of biology
From Excuses to Encouragements: Confronting and Overcoming the Barriers to Early Childhood Outdoor Learning in Canadian Schools
H Coe. Journal of Childhood Studies, 2016
Drawing on outdoor education literature, this paper aims to address issues related to outdoor learning, and to confront some of the potential barriers and concerns that educators, administrators, parents, and researchers may have with regards to outdoor learning. A conceptual shift from a culture of excuses to a model of encouragement is presented, suggesting that educators should view outdoor learning as a pedagogical and problem-solving exercise
Experiencing nature in animal-based tourism
G Bertella. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 2016
This study concerns animal-based outdoor tourist activities. It adopts an experiential approach and uses the concept of friluftsliv (outdoor life) to thematise the specific experiencescape and develop a conceptual model. The findings indicate that the presence of animals contributes to profiling nature reinforcing one or more dimensions of friluftsliv.
Understanding Female Secondary School Students' Experiences of Outdoor Education in Aotearoa New Zealand
SRC Watson. Thesis, 2016
Despite ongoing developments to outdoor philosophy and practice, outdoor education continues to be a highly gendered space. More specifically, the notion that the outdoors is a masculine environment, has meant many girls and women have struggled to find acceptance and validity in their outdoor experiences. A feminist phenomenological methodology was applied to this study, which enabled a critical and reflective analysis of the girls’ experiences to occur. Suggestions to theory and practice are made.
Software application that determines the optimal times for outdoor activities based on outdoor conditions
F Krafft. US Patent 20,160,117,372, 2016
A software application for mobile devices can provide access to data representing various outdoor conditions, such as pollution, pollen, weather, sun. etc., and can suggest to the user optimal times in which to engage in the activity and avoid one or more of the undesirable conditions.

Creating a Learning Continuum: A Critical Look at the Intersection of Prior Knowledge, Outdoor Education, and Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas and Practices
TL Schlobohm. Thesis, 2016
Outdoor School is a cherished educational tradition in the Portland, OR region. This program’s success is attributed to its presumed ability to positively impact affective and cognitive student outcomes. Results of this study were intended to inform outdoor education program development, add to the existing body of research, and inform future research projects
Whose Mountaineering? Which Rationality?
S Serafimova. Balkan Journal of Philosophy, 2016
The article discusses the genealogy of 20th-century Norwegian ecophilosophies as deriving from a specific philosophy of climbing, one which is irreducible to philosophy of alpinism so far as it is based on the principle of cooperation and on the intrinsic value of interacting with the mountain rather than on competition, which makes the mountain an arena for sport activities. In this context, the expression to think like a mountain will be analyzed as something more than an impressive metaphor, and examined as a new way of thinking that avoids the extremes of both radical anthropocentrism and biocentrism.

Natural Environments and Childhood Experiences Promoting Physical Activity, Examining the Mediational Effects of Feelings about Nature and Social Networks
G Calogiuri. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2016
The importance of natural environments (NEs) for physical activity (PA) has been studied extensively. However, there is scant evidence to explain the motivational processes underlying the NE-PA relation. This study Logistic showed that, unlike the self-reported proximity to NEs, higher ratings of perceived supportiveness of NEs for PA predicted participation in NE-based PA for at least 60 min/week or 150 min/week, before and after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. Reporting frequent experiences in nature during childhood was also an important predictor of higher levels of NE-based PA.

Action for sustainability through community gardening: the role of adult learning
T Looy. Thesis, 2016
As community gardens (CGs) become increasingly popular, it is timely to investigate whether they further sustainability goals. Through interviews with gardeners, data shows that key benefits of gardening included building community, environmental protection, improved health, and resisting the industrialization of food. CG membership also facilitated learning in all three domains of Transformative Learning: communicative, instrumental, and transformation. The primary source of learning was interaction with other gardeners. CG involvement may contribute to sustainability by providing an environment which allows people to connect with nature, learn from others, and choose pro-environmental behaviours

Nature Walks as a Tool for Stimulating Learning Outside of the Classroom
PC Owen. The Journal for Research and Practice in College Teaching, 2016
A pilot study on college students taking an introductory biology course, exploring the impact of instructing students about fungi and plant biology on a nature walk compared to teaching the same material in a classroom setting.  Despite associated challenges of an outdoor environment, nature walk-based instruction was as effective as classroom-based instruction in terms of content mastered by the students. Additionally, the students receiving nature walk-based instruction reported more positive attitudes toward the material.
Primary school teachers and outdoor education: Varying levels of teacher leadership in informal networks of peers
T Hovardas. The Journal of Environmental Education, 2016
The study concentrated on an area in Greece with a multiplicity of sites for outdoor education. Informal networks of teachers were detected through a snowball technique and data were collected by means of a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Participants were classified in three clusters, namely, “strugglers,” “domesticators,” and “succeeders”. Leadership covariated with ability to overcome obstacles, master “affordances” of destinations, and focus on on-site instruction.
Learning Achievement and Motivation in an Out-of-School Setting—Visiting Amphibians and Reptiles in a Zoo Is More Effective than a Lesson at School
S Wünschmann, P Wüst-Ackermann, C Randler. Research in Science Education, 2016
In this study, we compared an out-of-school setting in a reptile and amphibian zoo with a sequence of classroom teaching and a control group without teaching on the topic. We conclude that the two interventions appeared highly superior to the control group and that the out-of-school setting in the Reptilium was more effective than the school-only program. There were gender-by-treatment interaction effects for knowledge in the posttest and follow-up, for perceived competence and for pressure/tension.
Developing Ill-Structured Problem-Solving Skills Through Wilderness Education
RH Collins, J Sibthorp, J Gookin. Journal of Experiential Education, 2016
In a society that is becoming more dynamic, complex, and diverse, the ability to solve ill-structured problems (ISPs) has become an increasingly critical skill. Wilderness education is one environment that provides students opportunities to engage with the critical elements that aid in the development of these cognitive skills. Results of this study suggested that students who were engaged in a wilderness education setting showed significant gains in their ISP skills when compared with their peers.
Education in Times of Environmental Crises: Teaching Children to Be Agents of Change
Ken Winograd. Book, 2016
The central theme and core objective of this comprehensive resource for elementary teachers on climate change and children’s emotions and resiliency is supporting children’s understanding of and respect for the interconnectedness all life: human, animal, plant, and clean air, water, and soil. The pedagogies described invite student engagement and action in the public sphere. Children are represented as ‘agents of change’ engaged in social and environmental issues and problems through their actions both local and global
Connection with nature is an oxymoron: A political ecology of “nature-deficit disorder”
R Fletcher. The Journal of Environmental Education, 2016
It has become commonplace to argue that greater “connection with nature” is needed to mobilize support for both biodiversity conservation and environmentalism generally, and hence to call for more effective environmental education to achieve this. I employ a political ecology lens to problematize this increasingly conventional wisdom by highlighting the ways in which a sense of separation from “nature” is in fact paradoxically reinforced by the very environmental education and related practices employed to overcome it. In response, I call for greater interrogation of the concept of “nature” as well as the political-economic structures driving environmental degradation.
Learning at eco-attractions: Exploring the bifurcation of nature and culture through experiential environmental education
RA Dunkley. The Journal of Environmental Education, 2016
This article explores informal environmental education (EE) experiences at eco-attractions. The study illustrates that experiential learning at eco-attractions provided unique opportunities to explore nature-culture connections.
Learning Through Nature: A Study of a Next Generation Science Standards Based Teacher Workshop that Blends Outdoor Learning Experiences with Formal Science
A Fanning. Thesis, 2016
Few teacher professional development programs focus on improving teachers' self-efficacy and pedagogical content knowledge that is needed to enhance their science curriculum with outdoor lessons. This study examined an exception, which provided teachers the opportunity to experience nature-based science lessons. The results showed that participants’ self-efficacy was positively affected. The results give insight into how participants thought about student misconceptions and how the instructional strategies presented in the workshops equipped them to address science content in an outdoor setting.

Enhancing quality of life through the lens of green spaces: A systematic review approach
CA Mensah, L Andres, U Perera, A Roji. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2016
Improving citizens’ quality of life is a stated priority of many governments in both the global north and south. However, efforts to achieve this often focus on socio-economic measures, with limited attention to the contributions of environmental variables such as green spaces.. Green spaces were found to provide various social, economic, and environmental benefits, which in turn improve physical, psychological, emotional, social, and material wellbeing of individuals and thus enhance quality of life.


Out of school activities during primary school and KS2 attainment
Jenny Chanfreau, Emily Tanner, Meg Callanan, Karen Laing, Amy Skipp and Liz Tod
A new working paper from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies investigates whether taking part in out-of-school activities during primary school is linked with end-of-primary-school achievement and social, emotional, and behavioural outcomes.Results showed that sports clubs and “other” (unspecified) club participation was positively associated with achievement outcomes at age 11, when controlling for prior achievement. Participating in organised sports or physical activity was also positively linked to social, emotional, and behavioural outcomes.
Gardens and Health
Report for the National Gardens Scheme
This report was commissioned by the National Gardens Scheme in 2015. Its intention is to contribute to the understanding, assessment and development of the links between gardens, gardening and health. It sets out the evidence base on how gardens and gardening relate to health across the life-course. It highlights how, at different points in the health and social care system, gardens and gardening can make a strong contribution to keeping us well and independent.


An extract from a special report on Outdoor Learning published by Children and Young People Now Magazine
Summary of evidence around outdoor learning with full references by Jim Burt, Natural England’s Principal Adviser for Outdoor Learning and Outdoors for All.

London Social Prescribing map update
LVSC (London Voluntary Service Council) is mapping social prescribing activities in London. The map will be updated every quarter over the coming year. The map includes links to social prescribing activities in London. Each link takes you to a uniquely created page with information about and contact details of each social prescriber.

UK Government public health resources and tools for teachers

Which Tool to use?
A guide for evaluating health and wellbeing outcomes for community growing programmes produced by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens

A blog post on the impact of the outdoor environment
on children’s learning in Bangladesh and Scotland
New PHE briefing for local authorities - Working together to promote active travel
This briefing aims to help transport planners, those working in the built environment, and public health professionals to deliver healthier places by highlighting the link between active travel, road transport and health. It demonstrates how we can build active travel into everyday life for a range of benefits for health, wellbeing, the environment and the economy.
Adult obesity data slide set 
PHE's Risk Factors Intelligence: Obesity team have updated their adult obesity data slide set. These PowerPoint slides incorporate the latest Health Survey for England data, presenting key information on adult obesity in clear, easy to understand charts and graphics. The slides and accompanying notes can be downloaded and used freely with acknowledgement to Public Health England.  
New vision for trees in and around urban areas 
The Urban Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee Network has set out its thinking on the benefits of a resilient urban forest. In this easy to read document. It includes a summary of the evidence and case studies that illustrate the variety of benefits of trees in and around towns and cities.


Nature Connections conference 2016 – last chance to book
Wednesday 15 June. University of Derby
The RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, National Trust and Historic England, led by the University of Derby and Natural England will be supporting NC2016, bringing together key players from research and provider communities with an interest in this area. The day will provide a forum for sharing and learning from the latest research and practice in nature connection, including latest findings from the pilot for a new national scale for nature connection.
School Farms Growing futures in land-based education conference 16/17 September
16th and 17th September 2016
An awards ceremony celebrating the best in school farming, plus support from a leading farming broadcaster are just two of the highlights of the inaugural School Farms Network Education Alliance Conference. The two-day conference will seek to highlight the value of land-based education on day one; and offer a practitioner-focused sharing day on day two. All school farmers, teachers, education specialists and other educators are invited to attend.

Sharing international experience on urban planning for promoting health and environmental sustainability
Monday 13th June 2016. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
People living in cities around the world face many similar health challenges including air, water and soil pollution, poor housing, traffic congestion and noise due to unsustainable urban development, and urban impacts on physical activity and diets. This workshop will present UK and international case studies to explore how some of these health challenges are being tackled through urban design, urban and transport planning, and how integrated solutions may have benefits for both health and environmental sustainability.
Wildlife Gardening Forum Education Conference: Wednesday 22nd June
The themes of this conference is "Educating a generation of wildlife  gardeners", with a range of speakers, including Sigrun Lobst from the Netherlands, an inspiring wild-play specialist

Communicate 2016: Swapping Spectacles
2nd & 3rd November, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol Communicate is the UK's environmental communications conference, returning to Bristol in 2016 as we walk a mile in someone else’ shoes and challenge ourselves to look at the world from another perspective. Join us in the stunning setting of Bristol Zoo Gardens for two days of inspiring content, interactive workshops and engaging discussion in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere that provides fantastic networking opportunities.
Call for involvement from schools in new Research on Forest Schools:
Mersey Forest are looking to put in a new collaborative National Institute for Health Research proposal with LJMU/TMF/ Forest School Cluster Group. Children benefit from engagement with Forest school in a number of ways but little is known about how and why this affects children’s physical activity levels, health and well-being and the effect of FS on the families of the children involved longer term. The Mersey Forest are looking for schools to volunteer to get involved – please contact
The National Housing Federation, Community Impact Awards are open for entries
This year's Community Impact Awards now has an expanded Greener Living category covering green spaces and biodiversity, in addition to energy efficiency.


Health check for Sheffield’s parks
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, University of Sheffield, Wildlife Trusts and Recovery Enterprises is part of a successful NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) bid to run a project entitled  "Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature " this will understand how parks in Sheffield affect resident's health and wellbeing. One of the key outputs is to promote urban green spaces as a way in which to improve physical and mental wellbeing.   

Do people living in environmentally-friendly households feel more content with life?
By Prof. Gopal Netuveli, International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Health and Society
We live in an age where we are reminded of our environment every day of our lives. It was not always so. Once, the concern about the environment and the appreciation of nature were considered to follow only after the satisfaction of our material needs (the so-called post-materialist thesis). Since the early 1980s there has been a surge in the use of phrases like ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ in the millions of published books searched by Google.
BBC feature on how nature is good for health and happiness
Wild Play
The evidence of the benefits of a childhood that is nature-rich and full of outside play is becoming overwhelming, and growing exponentially according to the Wild Network. They are planning to work with some big household names to do more about it.
Guardian feature - Nature is the best way to nurture pupils with special educational needs

Helen Meech, director of Rewilding Britain says “Within the century we want to see everyone living within 20 miles of an abundant, thriving living system and school children spending at least one day a month in one of these wild places”. What part could our green spaces play in this and how could they evolve to contribute? Have a read of this discussion article from the Landscape Institute

A walk makes people feel calmer and more focused
A living streets article
A quarter of Brits say a daily walk helps them to feel less stressed at work and increases productivity. Although more than a quarter of people recognise the workplace benefits of a daily walk, two thirds of those surveyed also said they don’t walk for any part of their daily commute, with almost half driving all the way. This is despite 39 per cent admitting they could walk a part of their journey and more than half confessing that they were worried about a lack of exercise in their daily routine.

A year of field work why do we need it?
Article - S Tilling - 2016
September 2015 marked the beginning of the Year of Fieldwork, an initiative launched
by the Geographical Association (GA), Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Ordnance Survey, ESRI and the Field Studies Council. In short, the Year of Fieldwork aims to promote the benefits of fieldwork and secure its future for students studying science, geography and related subjects.

Biophilia, Buildings, and Your Brain
B Browning - People and Strategy, 2016
In this article Browning cites emerging research in a variety of scientific fields to make the case for how our environment can deeply affect our well-being. Informed with the new science, Browning explains his 14 evidence- based principles of new biophilic design that make you “smarter at work.”
Ben Fogle interviews Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw.
Wilshaw explains how the best teacher he ever had was an outdoor learning specialist

Copyright © 2016 Natural England, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp