Connecting children to nature through residential outdoor environmental education

Lauren E. Mullenbach, Rob G. Andrejewski, Andrew J. Mowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Connecting to nature and spending time outdoors as children have been indicated as predictors of environmentally responsible behavior. This study examined whether a residential outdoor environmental education (ROEE) program contributed to the development of children’s connection to nature and their attitudes and involvement in spending time outdoors. Fifth-grade students (n = 163) in Pennsylvania enrolled in a multi-day ROEE program completed pretest-posttest surveys, compared with a control group (n = 72) not enrolled. Program evaluation critically examined the program’s encouragement of spending time outdoors by establishing connections to nature. Results indicated moderate success in the program’s effort to increase participants’ nature connection, but yielded mixed results on outcomes related to time spent outdoors. These findings offer encouragement of ROEE programs’ ability to foster connection to nature in participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-374
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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