Calgary and Area

EEResearch is a searchable database of research about environmental literacy, the benefits of connecting to nature, fostering environmental behaviors, and more.

Environmental Outdoor Education and Exposure to Nature: The Positive Effects on Student Wellness and Academic Achievement is an annotated bibliography by Bill Bagshaw. It provides an extensive list of research on the effects of outdoor education on mental well-being, abilities and physical wellness.

Connecting Canadians with Nature: An Investment in the Well-Being of Our Citizens from the Canadian Parks Council is a report that provides an overview of the benefits of connecting with nature.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ to describe the negative effects of children not spending time in nature. He brings forward the growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

Closing the Achievement Gap prepared by the State Education and Environment Roundtable (Lieberman, Gerald A. & Hoody, Linda L, 1998) presents the results of a nationwide study using the Environment as an Integrating Context for learning (EIC). The report notes, “Using the environment as an integrating context is interdisciplinary, collaborative, student-centered, hands-on and engages students in learning”. Their research shows that student learning shows improvement in reading, writing, math, science and social studies; exhibit increased pride in their accomplishments; greater engagement and enthusiasm for learning; better ability to apply science to real-world situations; better application of systems thinking; increased ability to think creatively; and more advanced skills in applying civic processes to real-life situations.

Benefits of Environmental Education by National Environmental Education Week lists several benefits on the importance of environmental education with numerous research studies to support each one

Back to School: Back Outside from the National Wildlife Federation documents how outdoor time boosts academic performance.

Intergenerational Place-based Education by Mannion and Lynch (2010) found that environmental or place-based education that incorporates children and adults learning together improves intergenerational relations and individual, community, and ecological well being. Their research encourages schools to include intergenerational learning, contextualize curricula in the environment and embrace outdoor learning.

Grounds for Action by Bell, Anne C and Dyment, Janet (2006) found that children who experience school grounds with diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative.

Nature Play and Learning Places offers a set of guidelines for those that create, manage or promote development of nature spaces in the everyday environment of children, youth and families, especially in urban/suburban communities.