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A 30-minute lesson can connect young people to nature, preserve for others

Medical X-Press – Jennifer Cruden

“A 30-minute educational lesson about the importance of leaving what you find during outdoor experiences helps young people feel more connected to nature and results in children being less likely to take natural items home as souvenirs, according to a study conducted at Outdoor School, a residential program run by Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. The study, conducted by Penn State researchers and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, supports the notion that young people who undergo basic education about the importance of leaving natural settings as they found them for others to enjoy and to preserve natural habitats can lead to behavior changes.” (more)

Deepening Students’ Connection to Nature

Edutopia – Sarah Keel

“Children today seem to spend less and less time outdoors, due to the pull of technology, busy family lives, and safety concerns…This disconnect has dire consequences for children in the areas of health, communication skills, and academics. And children who spend more time connecting to nature in meaningful ways are more likely to develop pro-environmental attitudes. In order to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, children need to spend time in and engage with nature.” (more)

Outdoor Learning Expert: Enhance Student Motivation

Education World – Sarah W. Caron

“In the book Moving the Classroom Outdoors, author Herbert Broda provides real-life examples of how teachers can effectively incorporate outdoor learning into their lessons. Moving the Classroom Outdoors retails for around $23 and is available on the Stenhouse Publishers Web site. Broda teaches education at Ashland University in Ohio. Though he’s a professor now, he began his teaching career in grade schools” (more)

Improving children’s access to nature starts with addressing inequality

The Guardian – Anna Leach

“With children now better at identifying Pokémon characters than common species of British plants and wildlife, there are concerns that we are increasingly losing touch with nature. In January, the UK government announced it would set £10m aside for outdoor learning – part of a 25-year environment plan that includes a pledge to “encourage children to be close to nature, in and out of school, with particular focus on disadvantaged areas”. Worries about children becoming disconnected from nature are not new. A 2016 study by Natural England found that more than one in nine children had not set foot in a park, forest or other natural environment over the previous year.” (more)

Outdoor instruction makes students more open to learning

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“‘There is still a conceptual gap between teaching science and environmental education,” says Dr. Ulrich Dettweiler, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Stavanger in Norway, formerly employed at TUM. To close this gap and to get pupils excited about the natural sciences is a goal of the “researcher weeks” at the Berchtesgadener Land student research center. Between 2014 and 2016, approximately 300 students participated in the program which is based on the curriculum for science subjects in secondary level I. Students are prepared for the one-week stay in the classroom. This is then continued on site during the research week, culminating in a two-day research expedition with experiments.” (more)

Students more engaged and attentive following outdoor lesson in nature

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A study recently published in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology has found that 9-10 year-old children are significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork following an outdoor lesson in nature. Strikingly, this “nature effect” allowed teachers to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long during a subsequent indoor lesson. The results suggest that outdoor lessons may be an inexpensive and convenient way to improve student engagement – a major factor in academic achievement.”(more)