Back To School: Back Outside
By Mary Burnette
This article was put out by the National Wildlife Federation (US) in support of their “Be Out There” initiative, which is an attempt to get children to be more active outdoors. This particular article was in essence a summary of a full report (report was written by Kevin Coyle) of the research that NWF had done concerning the benefits (specifically, the benefits for students) of being outdoors and outdoor education. Their research displays many advantages of spending time outdoors, such as improved student classroom behaviour, heightened student motivation, higher grades (not only in an outdoor education class, but in classes like math and science), and many more advantages. There is much stress on the fact that spending time with nature is very important.
For those of us in the Outdoor Ed class, much of this information is not very surprising – but it is an important message to communicate to those who do not spend enough time outside (which is an increasingly large amount of the population). People need to understand that they do not need to go outside just to become physically fitter, as this does not, unfortunately, serve as the best motivation for many people. Perhaps if people understood the intellectual/psychological benefits (spending a lot of time outdoors reduces some of the symptoms of ADHD – who knew?), then they would be more likely to actually get out there.
Burnette, Mary. "Back to School: Back Outside." National Wildlife Federation. N.p., 1 Sept. 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.