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Research project

The Wonder of Nature: Blending knowledge-based and emotional approaches to engage visitors with National Trust outdoor sites

Project overview

The purpose of the Wonder of Nature project was to help visitors to National Trust sites connect and engage with the outdoor environment and become more ‘nature literate’. We define nature literacy as the ability to engage with nature, both emotionally (i.e. supporting mental and physical wellbeing), and cognitively (i.e. supporting knowledge and learning). The project is built on the evidence-based premise that both emotional and cognitive aspects are of equal importance and interest to people. The approach therefore involves enhancing visitors’ mental and physical health and wellbeing, while at the same time creating a self-sustaining learning community which shares information and contributes to the knowledge base at the site.

The research drew heavily on self-determination theory and created a thriving community of practice. The ultimate purpose was for visitors to become more engaged with nature, whether it’s at a personal level such as putting up nest boxes or buying insect-friendly plants at home, or at a community level such as joining nature surveys, finding a solution to a specific problem related to the site, or becoming an outdoor guide.

Staff

Lead researcher

Professor Marcus Grace BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCE, CSciTeach, FRSB

Professor of Science Education

Research interests

  • The science and values underpinning education for biodiversity, sustainable development and citizenship
  • Adolescent decision-making, and teaching and learning about socio-scientific issues

Connect with Marcus

Other researchers

Doctor Carys Hughes

Senior Teaching Fellow

Research interests

  • The science and values underpinning education for biodiversity
  • Teaching and learning about socio-scientific issues

Connect with Carys

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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