Engaging with nature boosts children’s moods

Dr Deborah Harvey (School of Biological Sciences) and Dr Dawn Watling recently completed a pilot study funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) — as part of a Valuing Nature Placement — investigating the effect of engaging with nature on primary school children’s subjective well-being and mood.

Children from eight primary schools took part in the study, going outdoors for an hour a week to do biodiversity-themed activities such as building bug hotels and setting up infra-red trail cams cameras to see the animals that visited their school grounds at night. Preliminary findings showed that children’s mood was significantly improved by going outdoors and engaging with nature.

Deborah presented the results of the study at a Valuing Nature conference in Edinburgh in September 2017, and we are now working to extend the project to carry out a more comprehensive evaluation of a school-based nature engagement programme to improve children’s mood, well-being, attainment, and feelings of connection to nature.

Watch this space for updates or contact Deborah directly (D.Harvey@rhul.ac.uk) if you would like to get involved!