Research, sustainability and learning
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Research, sustainability and learning
Bridging the gap between science and the practice of learning for nature, the environment and sustainability
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Making Connections at Grantown Grammar School

Making Connections at Grantown Grammar School | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

This is the story of a fascinating secondary school project that was launched in 2007. "Making Connections" is an interdisciplinary programme encompassing themes of global citizenship, sustainability, international education and enterprise linked to practical outdoor learning experiences within the Cairngorms National Park.

 

The initial focus was on developing global citizens, sustainable development education, enterprise and the four capacities (Curriculum for Excellence). It has been improved and extended each following year. It can no doubt inspire other schools considering whole school approaches to outdoor learning!

 

Download the report:

http://cairngorms.co.uk/uploads/documents/Learn/JMA_grantowngrammar_130130_v1.pdf

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EVIDENCE of NATURAL CHANGE Case studies from the Scottish education sector

EVIDENCE of NATURAL CHANGE Case studies from the Scottish education sector | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

By Margaret Kerr & David Key

June 2013

 

The Natural Change (NC) Project works with people who hold  positions of influence in society, offering them potentially  life-changing experiences of wild places. It then goes on to support the growth of these personal experiences into leadership and social action for an ecologically sustainable future.

 

This report presents six case studies of participants from the education sector. The studies demonstrate that there is a strong link between taking part in the Natural Change Project and taking action to help create a more sustainable society.

 

The data show that participants have engaged in

several specific types of social action as a result of

their Natural Change experiences.

1. Influencing policy

2. Creating professional networks

3. Community development

4. Organisational development?

5. Conducting research

6. Extending skills

 

You can download the report at: http://www.naturalchangefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Evidence-of-Natural-Change-Case-Studies.pdf

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Connecting to nature at the zoo implications for responding to climate change

Societal response to climate change has been inadequate. A perception that the issue is both physically and temporally remote may reduce concern; concern may also be affected by the political polarization surrounding the issue in the USA. A feeling of connection to nature or to animals may increase personal relevance, and a supportive social context may counteract political tensions. Zoos may provide opportunities for both sense of connection and social support. We surveyed over 7000 zoo and aquarium visitors to examine the ways in which a feeling of personal connection among zoo visitors may encourage concern about climate change. Results show that feeling connected to animals at the zoo is significantly associated with cognitive and emotional responses to climate change, as well as with other social groupings and social responses. Overall, the zoo seems to present a supportive social context for considering the topic.

 

Susan Clayton , Jerry Luebke , Carol Saunders , Jennifer Matiasek & Alejandro Grajal , Environmental Education Research (2013): Connecting to nature at the zoo: implications for responding to climate change, Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2013.816267


To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.816267

 

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Exploring the Relationship between Digital Nature Photography and Children’s Connectedness to Nature

Exploring the Relationship between Digital Nature Photography and Children’s Connectedness to Nature | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

MSc Thesis by Seth F. Spencer

University of Minnesota Duluth| 2012

 

Digital photography can be an enjoyable and exciting activity for children. It may also increase connectedness to nature levels. Questionnaires were sent to four different Duluth, MN area 4th grade classrooms. The questionnaire was comprised of the Connectedness to Nature Index (Cheng & Monroe, 2010) and one open-ended question. The questionnaire was given as a pretest and a posttest, after two of the schools participated in a program using digital cameras. Eight-five percent (n=99) responded to the questionnaire.

 

Findings of the study revealed that the respondents generally had a strong connectedness to nature before and after their use of digital cameras. While quantitative data showed no significant change between pretest and posttest connectedness to nature levels, qualitative and anecdotal data suggested that the use of digital cameras can influence connectedness to nature levels in children. The results may be used to emphasize the importance of finding new and creative ways to connect today’s children with a sense of connectedness to nature

 

Download the thesis report: http://hdl.handle.net/10792/325 or

http://d-commons.d.umn.edu:8180/jspui/handle/10792/325

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Linda Wilson's comment, August 20, 2012 1:35 PM
Interesting study. I tried to download the pdf but Internet Explorer says it can't download it. Is there another way? Perhaps contact information for Mr. Spencer?
Rebekah Tauritz's comment, August 20, 2012 1:43 PM
Hi lwilson, I don't know why IE can't download the file. I use Firefox, but I thought IE is used more commonly. I added a second link, does this work for you? Or perhaps you can use Firefox..?

Rebekah
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Nature and Sustainability: An Educational Study with Foucault and Rousseau

Nature and Sustainability: An Educational Study with Foucault and  Rousseau | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

This new book by EdD Lili-Ann Wolff gives a historical and philosophical view of education that deals with nature and sustainability and highlights the ethical dilemmas that arise if we expect education to be the main promoter of sustainability. The discussion makes a loop starting from contemporary educational problems and the quest for sustainability and continues to the era of Enlightenment. There it brings forward the thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and finally it returns to the present time.

 

This study also employs Michel Foucault’s historical research methods, and even brings him in as a speaker with his own voice. Rousseau's writings offer excellent examples of the role of both ethics and education in dealing with sustainability. And Foucault sets the stage for understanding such fundamental ethical and educational issues as matters of power that act in complex networks on both individual and social levels.

 

The conclusion of the discussion between the three voices: the author, Rousseau, and Foucault, is that the sustainability enigma calls for an education that makes a profound difference, in order to be able to bring about mindfully responsible actions. The education has, therefore, to face three basic challenges: firstly, the promotion of self-transformation through self-understanding and self-training; secondly, the development of social relations and collective responsibility; thirdly, the promotion of understanding of the natural world and life on a global scale.

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Intergenerational Place-based Education: Where schools, communities, & nature meet

Intergenerational Place-based Education: Where schools, communities, & nature meet | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

The report is an exploration of the synergies (existing and possible) between intergenerational practice, formal school-linked provisions, and the field of place-focused approaches to education. The focus was to consider intergenerational educational programmes that were connected to schools and at the same time, were concerned with making community-wide connections to some local, outdoor and natural places through outdoor experiences of different kinds. Thus, the key aim of the research was to consider what were the opportunities and issues for intergenerational place-based education, what its effects might be, and what the consequences for other schools might look like.

 

by G. Mannion, C. Adey, & J. Lynch

University of Stirling for Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice, 2010

 

Read more: http://www.scotcip.org.uk/files/documents/IG_Place-based_Education.pdf

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Rewilding the World

On October 8th 2014 acclaimed writer, George Monbiot and the inspiring conservationist Alan Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life presented their ideas on the concept of 'rewilding' to a sold out lecture room at the University of Edinburgh. In itself it was encouraging to see that their were so many people interested in what these men had to share, that there weren't even enough seats available.

 

Monbiot and Featherstone, who come from very different backgrounds, set out to to describe their perspectives on the social, ecological and developmental benefits of rewilding, including the return of 'keystone species' to degraded habitats across the globe. They also explained how their own experience and connection to the natural world had inspired them to pursue their mission to connect people to nature and to their cause to improve the quality of the natural world left around us.

 

If you follow this link you will be able to watch Monbiot's and Featherstone's lecture:

http://www.sustainability.ed.ac.uk/events/series/visions/rewilding

 

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Review of the research evidence in relation to the role of trees and woods in formal education and learning

Review of the research evidence in relation to the role of trees and woods in formal education and learning | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

By Rebecca Lovell, Liz O’Brien, Roz Owen

The Research Agency of the Forestry Commission, 2010

 

This review explored research relating to education and learning outdoors and particularly that which take s place in, or focuses on, tree, woods and forests. A desk-based review was undertaken supplemented by a small number of interviews.  

 

Tree, wood and forest (TWF) education and learning (E&L) is any activity which takes place in, or focuses on, the specific environment or context of TWF and which provides opportunities for the participant to engage with or learn about those environments. Many outdoor and TWF focused activities which are not explicitly designed to have E&L objectives may have relevant learning outcomes. For instance programmes or activities which aim to increase levels of activity in woodland settings may result in greater engagement with and knowledge of TWF.

 

The Forestry Commission in England, Scotland and Wales, is one of a number of organisations, which delivers a wide range of E&L opportunities and activities in woods and forests for all ages. The Forestry Commission in each country delivers E&L through the following mechanisms:

Direct formal provision of E&L: curriculum and non curriculum based, forest apprenticeships and work placements.Facilitation: partnerships such as the Forest Education Initiative, grants and funding such as the Forest School Woodland Improvement Grant, teacher/educator support and trainingResource provision: physical resources and educational materialsInterpretation: led visits and self use interpretationPlay: provision of play activities and opportunitiesCampaigns and events: through national media or schoolsProjects/programmes where E&L is often an outcome but not a specific focus of the project e.g. health projects, volunteering, ‘friends of’ groups.

 

The focus of the research identified for this review has primarily been on more formal provision of outdoor E&L and on children and young people. Less is known about E&L associated specifically with trees and woods; what there is has predominantly focused on Forest School. Much of the research has explored personal, social and emotional development rather than specific educational outcomes.

 

Evidence from this review suggests that outdoor learning may result in:

improved personal and interpersonal skills including communication and teamworkthe accumulation of social capital, in particular fostering pride, belonging and involvement in the community more positive attitudes regarding the natural environmentthe acquisition of academic skills and knowledge.

 

To read more click here:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Education_and_learning_research_review_2010.pdf/$FILE/Education_and_learning_research_review_2010.pdf

 

 

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PLOS ONE: Environmental, Institutional, and Demographic Predictors of Environmental Literacy among Middle School Children

PLOS ONE: Environmental, Institutional, and Demographic Predictors of Environmental Literacy among Middle School Children | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

Building environmental literacy (EL) in children and adolescents is critical to meeting current and emerging environmental challenges worldwide. Although environmental education (EE) efforts have begun to address this need, empirical research holistically evaluating drivers of EL is critical.

 

This study begins to fill this gap with an examination of school-wide EE programs among middle schools in North Carolina, including the use of published EE curricula and time outdoors while controlling for teacher education level and experience, student attributes (age, gender, and ethnicity), and school attributes (socio-economic status, student-teacher ratio, and locale). Our sample included an EE group selected from schools with registered school-wide EE programs, and a control group randomly selected from NC middle schools that were not registered as EE schools.

 

Students were given an EL survey at the beginning and end of the spring 2012 semester. Use of published EE curricula, time outdoors, and having teachers with advanced degrees and mid-level teaching experience (between 3 and 5 years) were positively related with EL whereas minority status (Hispanic and black) was negatively related with EL. Results suggest that school-wide EE programs were not associated with improved EL, but the use of published EE curricula paired with time outdoors represents a strategy that may improve all key components of student EL. Further, investments in teacher development and efforts to maintain enthusiasm for EE among teachers with more than 5 years of experience may help to boost student EL levels. Middle school represents a pivotal time for influencing EL, as improvement was slower among older students. Differences in EL levels based on gender suggest boys and girls may possess complementary skills sets when approaching environmental issues. Our findings suggest ethnicity related disparities in EL levels may be mitigated by time spent in nature, especially among black and Hispanic students.

 

Citation: Stevenson KT, Peterson MN, Bondell HD, Mertig AG, Moore SE (2013) Environmental, Institutional, and Demographic Predictors of Environmental Literacy among Middle School Children. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59519. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059519

 

 

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Play, naturally: A review of children´s natural play

Play, naturally: A review of children´s natural play | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

The authors provide an extensive review of the literature related to children’s natural play. They begin by examining the human relationship with the natural world and the importance of play and direct interaction with the physical environment to children. Lester and Maudsley then review the important opportunities that natural play provides, such as the creation of special places, and the numerous documented and potential benefits of children’s play in natural settings, including the development of a sense of self and independence.

 

The authors discuss evidence demonstrating a decline in children’s access and opportunities to play in natural spaces and provide a range of suggestions to support children’s opportunities to play in natural settings, such as through the design of effective playgrounds, school grounds, and environmental play projects, as well as ensuring adequate access to parks and nature reserves

 

by Stuart Lester and Martin Maudsley, Playwork Partnerships

Published 2 August 2006, Children's Play Council

 

To download the report go to: http://www.playday.org.uk/PDF/play-naturally-a-review-of-childrens-natural%20play.pdf

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Teaching in Nature

Teaching in Nature | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

In this project, teachers from primary and secondary schools across a range of subject areas used collaborative action enquiry to plan and execute pupil excursions to local outdoor natural areas. The outdoor areas visited were designated National Nature Reserves (or other local wild places such as areas of Special Scientific Interest).

 

Teachers were entirely free to try any approach they wish. Each group of teacher-researchers worked closely together, sometimes using a theme or focal topic, to visit their site to conduct planning and to design their class visits. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) staff members acted as guides and also advised on where to find local knowledge about the place. Funds were made available to cover for teachers while they engage in planning / attending workshops.

 

Staff of the University of Stirling and the teacher researchers collected a range of evidence of the activities undertaken. Some of these are on the website in the form of video, audio, pupils' work and teachers' plans and commentaries.

 

Visit the website and learn more about the project: http://teachinginnature.stir.ac.uk/

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