According to researchers from the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus in Canada, schools and early childhood classroom activities should connect positive experiences in nature with mindful learning and reflection that will help empower students to take a personal role in protecting the environment.
‘Environmental awareness programs like Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, or the Duke of Edinburgh awards may help develop children's environmental awareness and action, aligning with environmental priorities.’
The findings, published in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education, show that 87 percent of study respondents who played outside in their childhood expressed a continued love for nature as young adults. "Developing positive experiences in the nature at a young age can influence our attitude and behaviour towards nature as adults," said lead researcher Catherine Broom.
"It is important to study these childhood experiences in order to develop environmental awareness and action in the next generation," he added. The study interviewed 50 university students aged between 18 to 25. The results suggest that 100 percent of females stated they loved or somewhat loved nature and 87 percent of males responded likewise. According to researchers, environmental awareness programs like Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, or the Duke of Edinburgh awards may help develop children's environmental awareness and action, aligning with environmental priorities.
"Our findings imply that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, such as outdoor school programs, may help to develop care for the environment in adults," Broom said. "However, these may not be sufficient unless programs are building knowledge and self-awareness of environmental stewardship." "Students need to learn and have a conscious understanding that the decisions we make each day can influence our environment, such as where we buy our food and how we use the Earth's natural resources," the researchers explained.