Connecting Children to Nature: Executive Summary of Findings from a Survey of Environmental Educators


In our efforts to translate research on how education can help improve human health and well-being, enhance social-emotional learning, and facilitate the development of an environmental ethic into practical applications for practitioners, NAAEE has partnered with the Children and Nature Network, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to launch the Science of Nature-Based Learning Collaborative Research Network. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Network is a new collaboration with the goal of accelerating the pace of research to understand if, and how, nature exposure influences children’s learning, cognitive development, and academic performance.

Specifically, the Network seeks to synthesize the existing research and conduct exploratory studies on what approaches to nature-based learning work, for whom, how, and under what circumstances. To begin this process, NAAEE worked with C&NN to distribute a survey among its networks to help us understand how environmental educators are connecting children to nature, and how new research in the field can support what you do. A group of NAAEE researchers created, pilot tested, and distributed an online survey with both open-ended and multiple choice questions through, eePRO (NAAEE’s online platform for EE professional development), mailings to NAAEE’s members and subscribers, and social media. The survey remained open for 3 weeks and two reminder mailings were sent during that timeframe. A total of 167 respondents completed the survey.

You can download an executive summary of the survey results on this page, or read the full summary and findings by clicking this news post: