Strategic Research Groups Round Up of Recent Research, Policy and Practice - January 2017

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.

Please 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.

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Natural Environment and People evidence round up  - January 2017
Welcome to the latest round up of information for December. 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

Research / reports
Conferences  / seminars
Resources (inc blogs)
Funding opportunities and calls for expressions of interest
Media articles

Research / reports

Shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems
Authors include Liz O’Brien and Dave Edwards. Ecosystem Services Special Journal Issue
Shared values held in common by communities, groups, cultures and societies are not always accounted for in conventional assessments and in decision-making. Research conducted as part of the National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on has now been written up in a special issue of the journal Ecosystem Services. The UK NEA Follow-on report and a handbook for decision makers is also available
Experts' versus laypersons' perception of urban cultural ecosystem services
M Riechers, EM Noack, T Tscharntke - Urban Ecosystems, 2016
Urban cultural ecosystem services are understood differently by experts and laypersons. Yet, differences can lead to management problems for urban green spaces. We use expert and problem-centered interviews to assess differences in cultural ecosystem service perceptions for experts and laypersons in Berlin. Our results show that the experts’ perceptions of nature appear to be more practical, management-centered, whereas laypersons appear to prioritize enjoyment of nature.
Factors contributing to lifelong science learning: Amateur astronomers and birders
MG Jones et al - Journal of Research in Science Teaching
This research examined lifelong science learning reported by amateur astronomers and birders to gain insight into how and why they pursue their hobby. Results showed that most of the participants’ lifelong science interests began in childhood and were influenced by events, resources, and family members. Members of both hobby groups reported that, as a result of their informal science interests, they were more knowledgeable about science, more knowledgeable about how science is done, possessed better observation skills, possessed more environmental awareness, and had opportunities to socialize and network with others with similar interests.
Exploring the Influence of Nature Relatedness and Perceived Science Knowledge on Proenvironmental Behavior
A Obery, A Bangert - Education Sciences, 2017
This study investigated the factors influencing proenvironmental behavior of individuals residing in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Quantitative findings show a renewed positive connection between science education, nature relatedness, and proenvironmental behaviors. Qualitative findings suggest positive relationships between how publicly people are willing to share their passion for the outdoors and their willingness to engage in proenvironmental behaviors.
Instructor and adult learner perceptions of the use of Internet‐enabled devices in residential outdoor education programs
DU Bolliger, CE Shepherd - British Journal of Educational Technology, 2016
This study focuses on adults' perceptions of Internet-enabled devices in relation to desired outdoor learning experiences. Researchers examined the perspectives of naturalists who taught outdoor education programs and park visitors who participated in these programs and found that participants enjoyed instructional Internet use to reduce physical dependence on heavy resources, support learning, engage younger learners and communicate with others.
School Gardens–Cultivating Children's Well-being and Social Skills: Effects of The Danish School Garden Program Gardens for Bellies
K Wistoft, PM Dyg - Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 2016
This article examines the effect of a Danish school gardens program on pupils’ wellbeing and social relations. Findings include that the school garden program promotes pupils' desire to learn and social relations. Successful experiences, the open space in the gardens and a different way of learning and working together, promote pupils' wellbeing. The recognition by teachers, garden educators and classmates also enhances pupils' wellbeing positively.
How can we best use our school garden space?: Exploring the concepts of area and perimeter in an authentic learning context
S Selmer, K Valentine, M Luna, S Rummel, J Rye - Australian Primary Mathematics …, 2016
Using Garden Based Learning as an integrated mathematics and science unit, this article describes the mathematical journey of students as they work through the process of designing their own garden beds.
Developing noncognitive factors through outdoor adventure education: Experiences that complement classroom learning
DJ Richmond – Dissertation 2016
Outdoor adventure education (OAE) is one type of OST experience that is linked to the positive development of key noncognitive factors necessary for college readiness like self-efficacy, self-confidence, social belonging, perseverance, and the ability to perform under difficult circumstances. The research examined two distinct college preparatory environments that use OAE to complement their curriculum and programming.
Growing a growth mindset through the use of outdoor spaces
M Way, K Boland, A McFadden - Every Child, 2016
The natural outdoor environment has always been valued at our centre as a place for children to wonder, explore and discover through multi-sensory learning experiences. However, we noticed that children were increasingly spending more time inside on structured activities and less time designing their own play within our outdoor spaces

Some Threats to the Ethical Delivery of Outdoor Management Development
W Krouwel - Business Ethics and Leadership from an Eastern European, Transdisciplinary Context
Outdoor Management Development (OMD) has been a feature of British management learning since the mid-1970s. It has been adopted across the globe since then. Early proponents emphasised the imaginative use of the outdoors as a means to challenge entrenched managerial attitudes, enabling managers to become more than they were, and to steer businesses through an unforeseeable future
The role of cultural heritage in attracting skilled individuals
M Backman, P Nilsson - Journal of Cultural Economics, 2016
This paper examines the role played by built heritages and cultural environments, in explaining the growth of human capital in Sweden. Our findings indicate that the local supply of built heritages and cultural environments explain a significant part of human capital growth in Sweden. Results suggest that these types of cultural heritages are important place-based resources with a potential to contribute to improved regional attractiveness and growth.
Student Outcomes of Eco-Restoration Service-Learning Experiences in Urban Woodlands
E Knackmuhs, J Farmer, HL Reynolds - Journal of Experiential Education, 2016
Service learning with ecological restoration projects can positively affect participants’ attitudes, behaviors, and learning, but little is known about the longevity of these effects. Analysis of student interviews demonstrated that service-learning experiences improved learning outcomes and encouraged and reinforced pro-environmental attitudes up to 14 months later.
'OOSH in the bush': evaluating the impact of wild play upon children
S Crosby, T Gray - Proceedings of the 19th National Outdoor Education Conference. 2016
Australia has one of the lowest rates of children playing outdoors.  With a crowded school curriculum and societal barriers (parental fear, lack of provision, time poor) the ability for Australian children to be able to get out and play is diminishing. ‘OOSH in the Bush’ is an Australian pilot program delivered at Centennial Parklands and the Australian Botanic gardens in Sydney, from their ‘Bush classrooms’. Aiming to get children Out of Hours School Care (OOSH), children from ten OOSH provisions attended ten hours of nature play programming delivered by the park’s Education Ranger team.
The effectiveness of an outdoor adventure programme for young children with autism spectrum disorder: a controlled study
DA Zachor et al - Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2016
Outdoor adventure programmes aim to improve interpersonal relationships using adventurous activities. The current study examined the effectiveness of an outdoor adventure programme in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Outcomes after the intervention revealed significant improvement in social-communication and different directions in the two groups in the social cognition, social motivation, and autistic mannerisms subdomains of the Social Responsiveness
The impact of neighborhood social capital on life satisfaction and self-rated health: a possible pathway for health promotion?
Ruca Maass, Christian A. Kloeckner, Bengt Lindstrøm, Monica Lillefjell. Health & Place
Neighborhood social capital has repeatedly been linked to favorable health-outcomes and life satisfaction. However, it has been questioned whether its impact on health has been over-rated. The authors aim to investigate relationships between neighborhood social capital and self-rated health (SRH) and life satisfaction (LS) respectively, both directly and indirectly mediated via Sense of Coherence and self-esteem.
Residential neighbourhood greenspace is associated with reduced risk of incident diabetes in older people: a prospective cohort study
Alice Dalton et al – BMC Public Health
Three cross sectional studies suggest that neighbourhood greenspace may protect against incident diabetes. This study uses data from a longitudinal study with a large sample size to investigate the association between greenspace and the occurrence of incident diabetes over time
Neighbourhood greenspace is associated with a slower decline in physical activity in older adults: A prospective cohort study
Alice Dalton et al – SSM – Population Health
Linear regression modelling was used with Activity Data from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Norfolk, UK, cohort to examine the association between exposure to greenspace in the home neighbourhood and change in overall, recreational and outdoor physical activity. The study found people living in greener neighbourhoods experienced less of a decline in physical activity than those living in less green areas.
Promoting physical activity interventions in communities with poor health and socio-economic profiles: A process evaluation of the implementation of a new walking group scheme
Sarah Hanson, Jane Cross, Andy Jones. Social Science and Medicine
This study examined the process of implementing a new volunteer led walking group scheme in a deprived community in England with poor physical activity, health and socio-economic indicators. The findings firstly suggest the necessity of identifying and mobilising community based assets at the ‘grass roots’ in deprived communities during the preparatory stage to access those in greatest need and to plan and build capacity. Secondly, the findings highlight the key role that health professionals have in referring those in poorest health and the inactive into walking interventions.
Walking groups in socioeconomically deprived communities: A qualitative study using photo elicitation
Sarah Hanson, Cornelia Guell, Andy Jones. Health & Place
This study worked with a new walking group in a community in England with poor health and socio-economic indicators to understand non-participation and barriers to involvement. We found that prior to joining there were low expectations of any health benefit and walking groups were not viewed as ‘proper’ activity. The group format and social expectations presented a barrier to joining. The shared sense of achieving health goals with others sustained the group rather than socialising, per se. Promoting walking groups as a social activity for this group of people may well have been counter-productive.
Good practice in social prescribing for mental health: the role of nature-based interventions
Bragg, R. and Leck, C. Natural England Commissioned Report NECR 228
With prescriptions at record levels and a huge demand for other therapies, health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options. These nature-based interventions could be part of a new solution for mental health care, however increasing the awareness of, and access to, these interventions is challenging. This new research builds on the findings from earlier Natural England reports and explores the options for improving the commissioning of, and referral to, these services as well as scaling-up the provision of nature-based interventions.
When pediatric primary care providers prescribe nature engagement at a state park, do children "fill" the prescription? 
Coffey & Lindsey. Ecopsychology
The use of a written nature prescription (Park Rx) written by a child's primary care provider (PCP), physician, or nurse practitioner, was used to encourage children to participate in free, unstructured play in nature. The prescribing and redemption patterns for the Park Rxs were studied over the 15-week summer season in a rural state in the Northeast. Eleven PCP offices in six counties participated in the pilot study and wrote a combined 1,935 park prescriptions with a patient redemption rate of 13% in the face of some of the wettest summer months on record for the state. PCPs reported that participation in the project influenced them to discuss the value of nature and write the Park Rx.
Outdoor Behavioral Health Care: A Longitudinal Assessment of Young Adult Outcomes
SD Roberts, D Stroud, MJ Hoag, KE Massey - Journal of Counseling & Development, 2017
This article details a 3-year outdoor behavioral health care outcome study. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze data from 186 young adults in a wilderness therapy program. Results indicated that clinically and statistically significant change occurred in treatment. Rates of change varied, and posttreatment scores remained stable, thus demonstrating that in-treatment gains were maintained.
Parks and green areas are associated with decreased risk for hyperlipidemia
Kim et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
This study aimed to investigate the association between parks and green areas and hyperlipidemia in adults. Compared with participants living in the highest quartile of parks and green areas, those living in the lowest quartile of green and park area were at an increased risk of physician-diagnosed hyperlipidemia and hyperlipidemia currently under treatment. Participants in the lowest quartile of parks and green areas were likely not to engage in any moderate physical activity.
Results from the first year of the Mersey Forest Nature4Health programme show that participants have seen a marked improvement in both their mental wellbeing and their daily levels of physical activity.
Mental Health Benefits of Waterways
Centre for Sustainable Healthcare has published the report from a research study commissioned by the Canal & River Trust, on the mental health benefits of access to the waterway environment. This report reviews the evidence base for a broad spectrum of interventions utilising the canal and river network, across a range of mental health conditions.
Adolescent self-assessment of an outdoor behavioral health program: Longitudinal outcomes and trajectories of change
Katie Massey Combs et al. Journal of family and childhood studies
This study sought to explore the trajectory of change throughout treatment, and investigate outcomes up to 18 months post-discharge. Results supported that adolescents make significant changes during outdoor behavioral healthcare. Gender and the presence of a mood or anxiety disorder predicted greater rates of change during treatment. Analysis of post-discharge data at six and 18 months post-discharge suggested that clients maintain treatment effects and that gender persists in influencing outcomes.
Long-Term Green Space Exposure and Cognition Across the Life Course: a Systematic Review
de Keijzer et al. Current Environmental Health Reports
We aimed to systematically review the available observational evidence on the association between long-term exposure to green space and cognition over the life course. The review identified 13 studies meeting the selection criteria. Considering the limited number of available studies, most of poor or fair quality, the existing evidence on the association between green spaces and cognition can be considered as inadequate; however, it is suggestive for beneficial associations between such an exposure and cognitive development in childhood and cognitive function in adulthood
Pilgrimage as a way to deal with vulnerable youths. What can we learn from Oikoten?
Y Houtteman - Part I: Organizing Foster Care in Different European Countries.
Oikoten is a Flemish organisation offering long distance walks and working projects within guest families as an alternative to closed young offenders’ institutions. This article discusses the ways in which Oikoten provides support to vulnerable youths who are hoping to find new direction in their lives.
Why Take Young Children Outside? A Critical Consideration of the Professed Aims for Outdoor Learning in the Early Years by Teachers from England and Wales
H Bilton, J Waters - Social Sciences, 2016
This comparative study between Wales and England was undertaken to better understand what influences or drives the professed aims for outdoor provision of early years teachers. The findings suggest Welsh teachers aim and plan to use their outdoor spaces explicitly for curriculum-related learning more so than their English counterparts who appear not to identify such specific curriculum-related learning outcomes but to emphasise personal/social/dispositional aspects of development for young children when outside. The values underpinning the academic discourse related to provision for outdoor activity is much less prominent in the responses to the surveys from English and Welsh teachers
Swimming as an accretive practice in healthy blue space
R Foley - Emotion, Space and Society, 2017
This paper is an empirical study of outdoor swimming in Ireland with a specific focus on health and wellbeing. A key aim is to uncover evidence on how specific blue places and practices enable health. The idea of a continuum is utilised to link theory and practice and connect rather than divide affect, feeling and emotion. Both personal and shared histories are used to identify the importance of both swimming practices and places to show how therapeutic accretions emerge to build healthy resilience. Additional insights suggest aspects of embodied health that are enhanced by outdoor swimming, especially in relation to bodies perceived to be inactive due to age, illness or disability.
Transformation of Experience: Toward a New Relationship with Nature
S Clayton, et al - Conservation Letters, 2016
Despite decades of awareness about the biodiversity crisis, it remains a problem. Besides preservation and restoration strategies, one approach has focused on increasing public concern about biodiversity issues by emphasizing opportunities for people to experience natural environments. Because Experiences of Nature (EoN)are embedded in social and cultural contexts, transformative or new EoN are emerging in combination with societal changes in work, home, and technology. Policies that acknowledge and accept a diversity of culturally-situated EoN, including negative EoN, could help people reconnect with the complexity and dynamics of biodiversity.
A Review of the Underlying Constructs of Connectedness to Nature among Children
ND Mustapa, NZ Maliki, NF Aziz, A Hamzah - 1st International Conference on Humanities, Social Sciences and Environment 2016
Acknowledging the importance of connectedness to nature during childhood, environmental psychologists have introduced various concepts of connectedness to nature, and various instruments have been employed to measure the concept. However, the underlying constructs to measure connectedness to nature among children seem unclear. Based on a systematic review, this paper aims to delineate the constructs of connectedness to nature.
The importance of urban gardens in supporting children's biophilia
KL Hand et al - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  2016
Nature exposure is an important determinant of human mental and physical well-being, but rapid urbanization means that accessing natural areas is increasingly challenging. We tested biophilia in children by quantitatively evaluating the availability and use of biodiverse spaces, and found no evidence of preference for biodiverse or wild areas, even where children had access to highly biodiverse areas. Because of constrained movements, children’s exposure to nature occurred mostly in private gardens, which are disappearing with densification and ongoing loss of private greenspace
Children and Nature in Tukum Village: Indigenous Education and Biophilia
C Profice, GM Santos, NA dos Anjos – Journal of Child and Adolescent Behaviour 2016
The objective of this study is to access indigenous children's environmental perception in its cognitive and affective aspects. The role of indigenous school practices in the improvement of biophilia and environmental awareness are highlighted. The results demonstrate that daily life in natural environments promoted both by culture and by indigenous school promote biophilia and, consequently, environmental awareness among children.
Children in nature: sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity
Thomas Beery & Kari Anne Jørgensen. Environmental Education Research
This article considers the potential for childhood nature experience to be an important part of biodiversity understanding. Findings from two studies are integrated and presented as windows into childhood nature experience to illuminate important aspects of sensory rich learning. Analysis supports the idea that the experience of biodiversity, actual childhood interaction with variation and diversity with living and nonliving items from nature allows children important learning opportunities, inclusive of biodiversity understanding.
Three good things in nature: noticing nearby nature brings sustained increases in connection with nature
Richardson & Sheffield. Bilingual Journal of Environmental Psychology
Connecting people more fully with nature is emerging as a societal issue owing to the state of nature, links to pro-environmental behaviour and benefits to wellbeing. Simple, low-cost interventions that deliver sustained increases in nature connectedness would be valuable. The intervention group showed sustained and significant increases in nature connectedness compared to the control group. Increases in nature connectedness were associated with psychological health improvement in the intervention group. Noting the good things in nature each day can deliver sustained increases in people’s connection with nature.
Global Explorers Journaling and Reflection Initiative
J Bennion, M Duerden, A Whitehouse - Journal of Youth Development, 2016
Research suggests that journaling will increase reflection and improve program outcomes. This study tested whether teaching journaling techniques to youth program facilitators would have a positive impact on participant outcomes. Results based on participant self-assessment were significant in testing whether reflective thinking is positively associated with outcome measures, but the intervention group did not show increases in reflective thinking.
Families, Relationships and the Environment: Climate Change, Sustainability and Biodiversity’
Journal edition - edited by Lynn Jamieson.  Including papers on:
  • Families, relationships and 'environment': (Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss Jamieson, Lynn
  • You got to have fish: Families, environmental decline and cultural reproduction  Willette, Mirranda; Norgaard, Kari; Reed, Ron; Tribe, Karuk
  • Family nature clubs: An intergenerational opportunity to foster love of the natural world  D'amore, Chiara
  • From intergenerational transmission to intra-active ethical-generational becoming: Children, parents, crabs and rockpooling. Martens, Lydia
  • Places of prosumption: Community gardens putting the 'we' into neighbourhoods Shaw, Deirdre; Crossan, John; Cumbers, Andrew; McMaster, Robert; Trebeck, Katherine; Black, Iain
What kind of landscape management can counteract the extinction of experience?
Colléony et al. Landscape and urban planning
Landscape management could play a prominent role in providing opportunities and motivation for people to be in nature. Based on complementary questionnaire surveys obtained from 4639 French adults, we studied the habits of nature uses, in relation to personal previous experiences and nature connectedness. The study explored the type and frequency of natural areas people visit most often, where they grew up, and the extent to which they feel interdependent with the natural environment. The study assessed the extent to which respondents mentioned a personal place (e.g., my garden), a specific non-personal place (e.g. a particular forest) or remained general (e.g. forests). Connectedness with nature was negatively related to mentions of place specificity, but positively related to frequency of visits of natural areas
Variation in experiences of nature across gradients of tree cover in compact and sprawling cities
Shanahan et al. Landscape and Urban Planning  
Lower levels of neighbourhood tree cover were associated with a reduced frequency of visits to private and public green spaces, and a similar pattern was found for the duration of time spent in private and public green spaces for Brisbane. Residents of urban areas showed similar levels of nature relatedness, and there was a weak but positive association between tree cover and Nature Relatedness.
Mending the Human-Nature Relationship Through Therapy
AC Naoufal – Thesis 2016
This thesis discusses the relevance of using nature as part of therapy and reveals the positive impact of incorporating nature into counselling practices. A discussion on the literature emphasizes the importance of counsellors and psychotherapists maintaining openness in developing strategies to incorporate nature into their work with clients inspired by the philosophy of echopsychology. This thesis emphasizes the importance of incorporating nature into counseling and psychotherapy, providing examples of interventions that are inspired by the intuitive knowledge that nature heals while backing it up with the research aimed at proving this.
People, places and health agencies: Lessons from Big Local residents. Commissioned by Local Trust, the research looks at the role communities play in supporting and influencing health and wellbeing in their area. Exploring the experiences of seven Big Local areas* in England, we asked questions such as: Do Big Local areas and health agencies have common priorities? And how can they develop workable relationships? The research provides useful insights for community groups, community infrastructure organisations and health agencies about how they can work together to contribute to local health and wellbeing.

Conferences / seminars

NICE’s Public health advisory committee is holding a public meeting on Physical activity and the environment. 1st Feb 2017.
Putting the forestry into forest education: FEN conference 23rd March 2017
The Forest Education Network (FEN) invites everyone with an interest in forest education to this special CPD event at FSC Bishops Wood Centre on Thursday 23rd March 2017. The day will feature workshop sessions led by national forestry experts to help you manage and utilise the woodland spaces you use for teaching and learning more effectively. The workshops will include: Tree health led by the Forestry Commission; Woodland management introduction led by the Sylva Foundation, the Royal Forestry Society and Bishops Wood; Woodland species identification and understanding the Eco system led by the Field Studies Council; Tree planting and woodland creation led by the Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission.
Booking is now open for the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference. If you are planning on attending and would be interested in presenting on one the associated SRG projects such as the Natural Connections Demonstration Project or the MENE Children’s Indicator Project, please let Martin know. We would of course help prepare abstracts and presentations.

Resources (including blogs)

Evaluating the outdoor learning experience – a toolkit for practitioners
This toolkit will help you, as an outdoor education or interpretation practitioner, to evaluate the outdoor learning experiences you offer. Whether you work for a botanical garden, national or city park, nature reserve, wetland, or arboretum, this resource will enable you to explore the impact of your outdoor learning programmes and interpretation efforts. It is based upon research undertaken by Ria Dunkley and Thomas Smith at the Sustainable Places Research Institute and the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University.
TeachOut magazine is for educators interested in taking children’s learning outdoors. Every issue is brimming with seasonal activity ideas linked with National Curriculum guidelines, all tried and tested in and out of schools. Each issue follows a theme around which a combination of one-off activities and longer programmes of work offer opportunities to develop a range of skills for children across subject areas and from EYFS to KS3.
Creating age-friendly cities
This POST (The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology) note examines how housing, outdoor spaces and transport can be made more age-friendly. It also highlights challenges for designing and delivering age-friendly cities.
Recommendations for the evaluation of physical activity programmes
This new resource covers how to plan, deliver and evaluate evidence-based physical activity programmes. It highlights recommendations for commissioners, providers and practitioners involved in the evaluation of physical activity programmes. These recommendations are the product of five regional Physical Activity Evaluation and Scale-Up Fora that brought together over 300 stakeholders across England in February and March 2016.
Recommendations include:
  • Integrate evaluation into programme planning and delivery from the start
  • Select and measure relevant outcomes
  • Evaluate cost effectiveness or return on investment
The Green Exercise Partnership (GEP) in Scotland has released a suite of films (1-6 minutes) to show how improved green space around healthcare facilities benefit patients, staff, visitors and the local community.  
3 Good Things in Nature – A simple way to improve connection with nature
Miles Richardson - Blog
A strong connection with nature lies at the heart of a healthy life and a healthy planet – but how do we increase people’s nature connection? The good news is that a forthcoming paper shows how simply noting ‘3 good things in nature’ each day for a week leads to longer term increases in nature connection.
Sport England investment guide for tackling inactivity


PhD studentship on Behavioural Spillover and Sustainable Tourism
Cardiff University are advertising a funded PhD studentship on cross-context behavioural spillover and sustainable tourism. The studentship is an ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship, co-supervised by Cardiff University’s School of Psychology and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. The project aims to explore adoption of sustainable behaviours (e.g., responsible dog management, recycling) in the national park and at home and to develop an intervention to encourage these behaviours. The project will apply a mixed-methods design, using, e.g., interviews and field experiments. Deadline for applications is midday 1st February, 2017.

Funding opportunities / Calls for expressions of interest

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) are seeking expressions of interest from Local Authorities to participate in a national project
The TCPA’s ‘Reuniting health with planning’ work over the last four years has helped local authorities get the right policies in place to create healthy places. Through this, we have learned that local authorities want to gain a better understanding of the development industry. The TCPA is seeking interest from Local Authorities and their Developer partners to participate in a national project - Developers and Well-being to make a small financial contribution (£2.5K+VAT) to work with the TCPA as part of a national project'; and put forward a local development example in collaboration with a local Developer as part of a workshop series and site visits with the TCPA. Being involved in the project will provide you with opportunities to share and learn from other places, and receive specific support from the TCPA and stakeholders. For further information and questions, please get in touch with Michael Chang, TCPA Project and Policy Manager at Please get in touch with Michael Chang by the 27 January. 
DCLG Estate regeneration national strategy
On 8th December, the Government announced a Fund designed to accelerate and improve estate regeneration schemes. Estate regeneration can transform neighbourhoods and people’s lives through the delivery of high quality, well designed housing and improved public space. Estate regeneration can offer new opportunities for residents by connecting schemes with wider redevelopment initiatives and has the potential to deliver thousands of additional homes over the next 10 to 15 years.
The national strategy accompanies £140 million of loan funding, £30 million of enabling grant and £2 million of capacity building funding being made available to support estate regeneration. This financial support from government is directly targeted at de-risking the early stages of regeneration schemes and providing support to areas for such activities as community engagement, feasibility studies, scoping of proposals and masterplanning. There is also support available for preconstruction activities such demolition and moving residents. More information is in the funding prospectus.
Sport England has £130 million available over 4 years, for approximately 10 ‘local’ areas in total. They are looking at ‘Making sport and physical activity an attractive, easy choice for people by tapping into expert local knowledge and take account of people’s needs’. They are looking for to fund 10 pilots across England to test bold new approaches to sport and physical activity that are designed to attract people who don’t already take part.  Other Sport England funds include the
  • Active Ageing Fund and has launched a nationwide hunt for ideas that will help inactive older people to get active.
  • New volunteering strategy funding.  £3 million for projects that create volunteering opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic people, women and disabled people, reaching into communities where there is higher unemployment and crime, lower education and poorer health. £3m in projects which benefit 10 to 20-year-olds and their communities.
  • Community Asset Fund to test a new way of making sporting spaces work better for local communities. This £7.5 million investment is available for a wide range of organisations such as sports clubs, community groups and public bodies to apply for

Media articles

Farmers Weekly article on Hosting school visits – insight and tips from three farms
BBC article about nature connection
Article in the Scotsman about outdoor learning
Daily Telegraph article on the health benefits of walking
Horticulture week article on  gardening in prison and the benefits of contact with greenspaces for mental health
BBC article on Warwickshire Wildlife Trust nature schools
Outdoor Classrooms Day are seeking lead NGO partners to reach out to schools through their established networks. The campaign builds on the highly successful 2016 Outdoor Classrooms Day when children in over 3,600 schools across 52 countries spent at least one lesson playing and learning outdoors.
Exciting news for the National Association for Environmental Education as Justin Dillon takes on the role of President

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