There is a great deal of literature that supports the value of environmental education and emphasizes the benefits of experiencing the natural environment. According to Health, Well-Being and Open Space (UK) a Literature Review about the benefits of being outdoors, by Nina Morris, OPENspace Research Centre, 2003, research about outdoor learning indicates:
- Exposure and access to green spaces can have a wide range of social, economic, environmental and health benefits
- Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity to increase quality of life and heighten social interaction.
And Boutis & Krisko (2010) found that outdoor learning and environmental education increase:
- Longer attention spans
- More creativity
- Higher levels of self-confidence
- Higher standardized test scores
- Greater academic success
- Significant improvements in cognitive development, self-discipline, imaginative and creative expression, language skills, and social interactions.
Additionally, Changing Minds: The Lasting Impact of School Trips (UK) by Alan Peacock, Honorary Research Fellow, The Innovation Centre, University of Exeter, February 2006, researched whether school children's learning about their local environment would influence the way that they treat it. They found: "not only was this the case, but high quality, out-of-classroom learning also influenced how children behave and the lifestyle choices they make. It shows the potential for school trips not just to change individual lives, but the lives of whole communities." Peacock found that:
- School trips are vital for children to connect with nature
- School trips influence lives
- Community spirit is developed from school trips
- School trips help bond families
- School trips improve children's learning
The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority believes that changes to environmental attitudes are made at a young age. Young children are impressionable, and outdoor learning can create a lasting influence. Without outdoor learning, a connection between everyday life and children can easily be lost. Environmental education can take many forms, but experiencing a natural area, like a local Conservation Area can leave a student with a view of another world. Join the LRCA for invaluable Living Classroom experiences!