C&NN's Research Digest
  ARCHIVE                                                                                                         FEBRUARY 2017
IN THIS ISSUE:
A curated selection of newly published research
Biophilia
>Residential gardens or yards are children's main source of biodiversity in urban neighborhoods
>Indigenous education promotes biophilia and environmental awareness
Education
>
>Teacher's authentic caring plays role in students' environmental learning 
>Engaging children as agents of change requires attention to factors influencing transmission of environmental knowledge
Environmental Action
>Predictors of pro-environmental behavior in adults overlap but aren't the same as predictors of youth environmental action
>Older adolescents engage less in pro-environmental behaviors, consider such behavior less obligatory than younger adolescents
Gardens and Gardening
>Home gardening promotes physical health, mental health and social connections of adolescents
Mental Health
>Home gardening promotes physical health, mental health and social connections of adolescents
>Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy offers range of positive outcomes for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety
Physical Health
>Nature imagery enhances labor experience, with benefits for mother & baby
>Parks, other neighborhood amenities play role in the physical activity levels of children with special health care needs
>More time outdoors can help prevent development of myopia
>Pets can reduce chances of elevated blood pressure and hypertension in children
Research Tools
>Young children's perceptions of their neighborhood call attention to lack of child-friendly spaces and resources in their urban environment
>New assessment tools focusing on children's environmental stewardship show potential for program evaluation
Spirituality
>Socio-demographic factors influence adolescents' perceptions of spirituality, including œconnectedness to nature domain
Urban Environments
>Parks, other neighborhood amenities play a role in the physical activity levels of children with special health care needs
>Young children's perceptions of their neighborhood call attention to the lack of child-friendly spaces and resources in their urban environment


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Dear friends,

I hope you'll attend the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference and Summit in Vancouver, BC, April 18-21. The conference will feature sessions and workshops for leaders and advocates working to advance the evidence base for children and nature -- and activate research around the world.

Special thanks to those who completed our recent Research Library and Digest survey. Your input will help us improve this free service. Congratulations to Amy Powers with PEER Associates in Vermont, who won a $50 REI Gift Card in our drawing of all survey respondents!

Sincerely,
Cathy Jordan, PhD, LP
Consulting Research Director 
Children & Nature Network
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  [ Biophilia ]
Residential gardens or b1yards are children's main source of contact with biodiversity in urban neighborhoods
A comparison of New Zealand children's play area preferences to biodiversity scores suggested that children preferred areas close to home (mainly their garden or yard) and that children with access to more biodiverse gardens or yards had stronger preferences for those areas. |  Hand et al. 2017. The importance of urban gardens in supporting children's biophilia Access study
Indigenous education b2promotes biophilia and environmental awareness
Indigenous children from Brazil shared their feelings and knowledge about nature through drawings and interviews. Results indicated that daily life in natural environments as experienced by these children through both their culture and their school fosters closeness to nature, a concern for other living things and an understanding that human activities can have negative environmental impacts. |  Profice, Santos, & dos Anjos, 2016. Children and nature in Tukum Village: Indigenous education and biophilia.   Access study
  [ Education ]
Indigenous education ed1promotes biophilia and environmental awareness
Indigenous children from Brazil shared their feelings and knowledge about nature through drawings and interviews. Results indicated that daily life in natural environments as experienced by these children through both their culture and their school fosters closeness to nature, a concern for other living things and an understanding that human activities can have negative environmental impacts. |  Profice, Santos, & dos Anjos, 2016. Children and nature in Tukum Village: Indigenous education and biophilia.   Access study
Teacher's authentic ed2caring plays a critical role in students' environmental learning experiences
A park restoration project served as a context for students caring for the natural environment and for their teacher caring for his students. The caring role of the environmental science teacher was critical to the academic and personal benefits resulting from this environmental learning experience. The project was also linked to caring for the community, consistent with social and environmental justice goals. |  Schindel & Tolbert, 2017. Critical caring for people and place.   Access study
Engaging children ed3as "agents of change" requires attention to various factors influencing the transmission of environmental knowledge
This review of the literature focuses on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and its call to engage children as "agents of change." Findings from the literature, along with the author's own research, indicate that there are both structural and relational factors affecting children's ability to bring about change. | Walker, 2017. Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance.   Access study
 [ Environmental Action ]
Predictors of pro-environmental ea1behavior in adults overlap with, but aren't the same as, predictors of environmental action in youth
In an educational program promoting action competence in high school youth, pre-program level of environmental attitudes was the only significant predictor of environmental action. These findings indicate differences in predictors of environmental action in adults as compared to youth. |  Ernst, Blood, & Beery, 2017. Environmental action and student environmental leaders: Exploring the influence of environmental attitudes, locus of control, and sense of personal responsibility.  Access study
Older adolescents engage ea2less in pro-environmental behaviors and consider such behavior less obligatory than younger adolescents
In this study of age-related differences in pro-environmental behavior as it relates to moral judgments and emotions in young, middle and older Canadian adolescents, the moralization of the natural environment characteristic of children also applied to adolescents. However, with adolescents, this moralization did not apply uniformly across the age span and depended on type of pro-environmental behavior. Older adolescents were less likely to engage in pro-environmental actions and less likely to consider them morally obligatory. |  Krettenauer, 2017. Pro-environmental behavior and adolescent moral development.   Access study
Engaging children asea3 "agents of change" requires attention to various factors influencing the transmission of environmental knowledge
This review of the literature focuses on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and its call to engage children as "agents of change." Findings from the literature, along with the author's own research, indicate that ther e are both structural and relational factors affecting children's ability to bring about change. |
Walker, 2017. Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance.   Access study
New assessment tools ea4focusing on children's environmental stewardship show potential for program evaluation
Two nature-related assessment tools appropriate for use with children were developed: one focusing on interest and cognitive engagement with stewardship issues; the other focusing on stewardship behaviors. Both scales were found to be valid and reliable for assessing distinct categories of children's environmental stewardship. |  Vezeau et al. 2017. Development and validation of two scales to measure elaboration and behaviors associated with stewardship in children Access study
 [ Gardens & Gardening ]
Teachers make meaning g1of their school garden programs
In a comparative case study, educators from Havana and Philadelphia shared perceived opportunities and challenges relating to their school garden programs. Havana educators focused on group collaboration and work-study education, while Philadelphia educators focused on child-centered engagement and science education. | Bucher, 2017. Opening garden gates: Teachers make meaning of school gardens in Havana and Philadelphia. Access study
Residential gardens or yards g2are children's main source of contact with biodiversity in urban neighborhoods
A comparison of New Zealand children's play area preferences to biodiversity scores suggested that children preferred areas close to home (mainly their garden or yard) and that children with access to more biodiverse gardens or yards had stronger preferences for those areas. |  Hand et al. 2017. The importance of urban gardens in supporting children's biophilia.  Access study
Home gardening promotes the g3physical health, mental health and social connections of adolescents
Teens participating in gardening at home reported healthier dietary habits, higher levels of physical activity, and better mental health and well-being than those who did not participate in home gardening. They also reported stronger family and neighborhood connections. |  van Lier, et al. 2017. Home gardening and the health and well-being of adolescents.   Access study
 [ Mental Health ]
Home gardening promotes m1the physical health, mental health and social connections of adolescents
Teens participating in gardening at home reported healthier dietary habits, higher levels of physical activity, and better mental health and well-being than those who did not participate in home gardening. They also reported stronger family and neighborhood connections. |  van Lier, et al. 2017. Home gardening and the health and well-being of adolescents.   Access study
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy m2offers a range of positive outcomes for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) facilitators identified a range of positive outcomes of EAP for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety, including increased confidence, self-esteem, assertiveness, and resourcefulness.  They also saw improvements in emotional regulation and self-control, as well as decreases in undesirable behaviors. | W ilson et al. 2017. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for adolescents experiencing depression and/or anxiety: A therapist's perspective.    Access Study
 [ Physical Health ]
Nature imagery enhances the p1labor experience, with benefits for both mother and baby
An experimental study compared the delivery experience of two groups of mothers in a family birth center: one group exposed to nature images on TV; the other without nature images.  Women who viewed nature images reported higher satisfaction with the birth experience and had lower heart rates, and their babies had higher Apgar scores, than women in the control group. | Aburas et al. (2017). The influence of nature stimulus in enhancing the birth experience. Access study
Parks and other neighborhood p2amenities play a role in the physical activity levels of children with special health care needs
According to a survey of 20,000 parents, young children with special health care needs (SHCN) were more active in neighborhoods with recreation centers, while adolescents with SHCN were more active in neighborhoods where parks were readily available.  These findings could be useful in urban planning initiatives designed to address the physical activity levels and obesity status of children and teens, especially those with SHCN. | An, Yang, & Li, 2016. Residential neighborhood amenities and physical activity among U.S. children with special health care needs. Access study
More time outdoors can p3help prevent the development of myopia
This study investigated possible connections between myopia (near sightedness) and lifetime ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and vitamin D. Data from over 3000 participants, aged 65 and older, indicated that participants who were exposed to the most sunlight -- particularly between the ages of 14 and 19 -- were about 25% less likely to have myopia by middle age. |  Williams et al, 2017.  Association between myopia, ultraviolet B radiation exposure, serum vitamin D concentrations, and genetic polymorphisms in vitamin D metabolic pathways in a multicountry European study.  Access study
Pets can reduce the chances of p4elevated blood pressure and hypertension in children
This study examined the association between pet ownership and blood pressure (BP) in nearly 10,000 children. Results demonstrated that 13.8% of participants had hypertension. Children with dogs in the home were significantly less likely to have elevated blood pressure and hypertension than children without pets. | Xu et al. 2017. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to pet ownership, blood pressure, and hypertension in children: The Seven Northeastern Cities study. Access study
 [ Research Tools ]
Young children's perceptions r1of their neighborhood call attention to the lack of child-friendly spaces and resources in their urban environment
Individual interviews incorporating children's drawings and focus groups integrating a story and a puppet allowed preschool children to contribute directly to an understanding of how they experience their urban environment. Outcomes, based on the children's perceptions, included an initiative to promote the playground as a safe and pleasant place for community gatherings. | Katz, McLeigh, & El, 2017. Preschoolers' perceptions of neighborhood environment, safety, and help-seeking. Access study
New assessment tools r2focusing on children's environmental stewardship show potential for program evaluation
Two nature-related assessment tools appropriate for use with children were developed: one focusing on interest and cognitive engagement with stewardship issues; the other focusing on stewardship behaviors.  Both scales were found to be valid and reliable for assessing distinct categories of children's environmental stewardship. | Vezeau et al. 2017. Development and validation of two scales to measure elaboration and behaviors associated with stewardship in children. Access study
 [ Spirituality ]
Socio-demographic factors s1influence adolescents' perceptions of spirituality, including the "connectedness to nature" domain
Examination of the spiritual health profiles of over 20,000 young people in Canada, including "connectedness to nature," indicated strong socio-demographic inequalities in the spiritual health measures by age, gender, relative material wealth, immigration status, and province/territory.  The perceived importance of spiritual health declined with age, with the most striking declines in connections with nature and connections with the transcendent. |  Michaelson et al. 2016. Inequalities in the spiritual health of young Canadians: A national, cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 16.  Access study
 [ Urban Environments  ]
Parks and other neighborhood ue1amenities play a role in the physical activity levels of children with special health care needs
According to a survey of 20,000 parents, young children with special health care needs (SHCN) were more active in neighborhoods with recreation centers, while adolescents with SHCN were more active in neighborhoods where parks were readily available.  These findings could be useful in urban planning initiatives designed to address the physical activity levels and obesity status of children and teens, especially those with SHCN. | An, Yang, & Li, 2016. Residential neighborhood amenities and physical activity among U.S. children with special health care needs. Access study
Young children's perceptions ue2of their neighborhood call attention to the lack of child-friendly spaces and resources in their urban environment
Individual interviews incorporating children's drawings and focus groups integrating a story and a puppet allowed preschool children to contribute directly to an understanding of how they experience their urban environment. Outcomes, based on the children's perceptions, included an initiative to promote the playground as a safe and pleasant place for community gatherings. | Katz, McLeigh, & El, 2017. Preschoolers' perceptions of neighborhood environment, safety, and help-seeking. Access study
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