Sustainable Outdoor Education: Organisations Connecting Children and Young People with Nature through the Arts
1.1. Outdoor Education and Mental Wellbeing
1.2. Arts and Creative Practice for Connection with Nature
2.1. Research Design
2.3. Data Analysis
3. Findings and Discussion
3.1. Organisations and Practitioners Delivering Arts-in-Nature Practice
3.2. Impacts of Arts-in-Nature Practice
“We can shine a spotlight on the district’s outstanding natural environment for all to enjoy. It makes cultural activities accessible and a ‘way of life’, where everyone can enjoy culture in the outdoors, benefiting health and wellbeing.”
3.3. Working with Volunteers, Teachers, and Schools
3.3.1. Schools Understanding the Value of Arts-in-Nature Practice
“The main barrier is narrow focus in schools on academic achievement (and on literacy and numeracy in particular in primary schools) leaves little room for the things like this that really matter.”
“When working in schools we will discuss requirements and what outcomes they want also and see how we fit in with their curriculum delivery. They sometimes will like the project idea and then base their terms learning around the project.”
“Schools are busy places with lots of pressures on them. However, they need to understand that our natural environment can support and enhance their work rather than being a hindrance.”
3.3.2. Engaging and Collaborating with Teachers
3.3.3. Resources and Training
3.4. Reach and Sustainability
3.4.1. Arts-in-Nature and Scarcity of Funding
“Funding is a broad barrier that affects our ability to be more ambitious, secure more suitable premises, market our services more, employ further facilitators and generally think bigger.”
“We struggle to generate the funds needed. The cost of artists is high and we work in an area of high deprivation and so many families cannot afford to give a donation.”
“Socio-economic deprivation is our region is extreme and worsening. Children live in poverty and this impacts families’ ability to engage.”
“Funding is the main barrier for me as a freelance practitioner. Often, people who aren’t freelance don’t realise that they’re not just paying for the hour they visibly see you working but it’s all the time behind the scenes (e.g., meetings, admin, applying for bids, session prep etc.) which makes that visible hour happen and therefore needs to be covered.”
3.4.2. Using Artists and Volunteers
“The artists we use have special qualities which make them ideal to run workshops as well as being a talented artist. These artists are fewer around as you would imagine. They have to be interested in nature and marine species too.”
“Volunteers are key to our organisation. From the volunteer trustees to the parent helpers that help with refreshments and cleaning—then everything in-between. Volunteers are offered the same training and support as paid staff, attend our team activities and are made to feel like part of the organisation.”
3.4.3. Striving for Sustainability
“We have seen teachers embedding approaches they developed through our programmes, whole school ethos being shaped by programmes we have collaborated on and artists strengthening and honing their offer.”
“I worked with a school for 2 years to support them to embed outdoor learning and this has continued. Much of this happened as the work focused as much on a programme of staff CPD as work with the children. The school also ensured that outdoor space (a wood on the school site) was well resourced … which meant that resources were always accessible and easy to get for school staff.”
“Embedding teacher CPD into programmes that is supported by school leadership making a commitment to embed the work into the school timetable beyond the project. Potential involvement of families as advocates and leaders of activity.”
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Walshe, N.; Bungay, H.; Dadswell, A. Sustainable Outdoor Education: Organisations Connecting Children and Young People with Nature through the Arts. Sustainability 2023, 15, 3941. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15053941
Walshe N, Bungay H, Dadswell A. Sustainable Outdoor Education: Organisations Connecting Children and Young People with Nature through the Arts. Sustainability. 2023; 15(5):3941. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15053941Chicago/Turabian Style
Walshe, Nicola, Hilary Bungay, and Anna Dadswell. 2023. "Sustainable Outdoor Education: Organisations Connecting Children and Young People with Nature through the Arts" Sustainability 15, no. 5: 3941. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15053941