Nature Education

The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” Richard Louv – The Nature Principle

Engaging the community in nature

Whether from a community group, volunteers or professionals, environmental educators engage the community in nature, about nature and for nature. We understand the power of living in nature—not with it, but in it. We know that people who care for the local environment are deeply connected to their place and nature.  Read on for suggestions and examples, useful resources, and ways to get involved...

How do we do it? 

Our skills and knowledge are about:

  • immersing people in nature, and encouraging a sense of freedom and play  
  • connecting people with their local environment, and empowering them to get involved e.g. as citizen scientists 
  • facilitating groups in an outdoors environment
  • recognising local Indigenous culture – past, present and future
  • using technology for education. 

Want to increase your skills? 

AAEE NSW is running a community nature education project (Nature Connect) that aims to help NSW environmental educators share and improve their skills and knowledge about connecting the community to place and nature. This project is supported by the NSW Government through an Environmental Trust ‘Lead Environmental Community Groups’ (LECG) grant.  

Ways to get involved

  • In the Hunter Valley region? Email project@aaeensw.org.au to find out about professional development events 
  • Share what you’re doing in nature education - Email project@aaeensw.org.au 
  • Join AAEE NSW and connect with your local network of environmental educators
  • ‘Like’ our Facebook page and join in the discussion online 

Links for environmental educators 

Examples of projects and activities

Great books/ articles/ videos

Check out these short, clever and funny YouTube clips: Nature Pt 1 and Nature Pt 2

Identifying plants and animals - a dwindling skillset?

Richard Louv:

The Nature Principle (a powerful call to action— about adults and nature)

Last Child in the Woods (Lov’s first book, which coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’) 

David Sobel: 

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education

- YouTube lecture - Place-based education

Jon Young - Coytote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature

John Fien - Learning to Care: Education and Compassion

Daniella Tilbury & David Wortman - Engaging People in Sustainability

Nikki Harre - Psychology for a Better World

See also:

Healthy Parks, Healthy People  

Needing trees – the nature of happiness Planet Ark research 

Nature Educators Network Australia 

Nature Play 

Branding Biodiversity – the new nature message

IUCN’S Love not Loss education campaign

Know any other great resources? Let us know! Email project@aaeensw.org.au