C&NN's Research Digest
  ARCHIVE        |       NOVEMBER  2017
IN THIS ISSUE:
A curated selection of newly published research
Access to Nature
>Physical barriers may not be the principal way in which people with disabilities are limited in their access to play/nature spaces
Benefits of Green Environments
>Higher levels of tree canopy are linked to higher reading test scores
>Exposure to nature restored mothers' individual attention and contributed to mother-daughter cohesion
>Children use greater cognitive resources while indoors than outdoors in nature to achieve the same level of performance on tasks requiring attention and inhibitory control
Birth Outcomes
>Individual and neighborhood characteristics can modify the impact of green space on birth weight, and may do so differently depending on the greenness metric
Environmental Knowledge, Attitudes & Behaviors
>Parents and peers influence children's pro-environmental behaviors but to a different degree according to age and gender
>Independence and social connections influence whether or not children visit biodiverse spaces in urban environments
>Adolescents' pro-environmental behavior relates to their internalized motivation, which is promoted more by an autonomy-supporting versus controlling parenting style
>Connectedness to nature can facilitate the development of biospheric values, which can then serve as a motivating factor for pro-environmental behaviors
>While connectedness to nature and environmental knowledge, together, promote ecological behavior, connectedness to nature is the stronger motivator
Play & Playgrounds
>The affordances of natural play spaces can support the development of executive function in preschool children
>Children's outdoor play is influenced by factors beyond time and space opportunities
>The presence of commercialized private playspaces reinforces the neglect of public play spaces in Istanbul and frames "good play" as being exclusive, secure and instrumental
>Playgrounds without natural features had greater usage and higher level of physical activity than other playgrounds; naturalness, however, may promote other areas of development
Enhancing the Impact of Research
>Nature-Based Learning Research Network designers used network leadership strategies to develop a framework for enhancing the impact of research

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Dear friends,

For the past decade, leaders like you have helped build a formidable network of advocates for children and nature. Together, we've made steady progress across disciplines ranging from research and education to health care and urban planning. 

We believe we've reached an important point in the trajectory of the children and nature movement; one that calls for us to further unite our voices and talents  in order to create a world in which all children play, learn and grow  with nature in their everyday lives.

I am thrilled to introduce the Children & Nature Network's new membership model, developed  with input from a diverse group of network leaders. We believe this is an important step for the growth of our organization--and the children and nature movement  around the world.

As a member, you'll join fellow changemakers in creating a more powerful constituency for our work and help shape its future. You'll enjoy increased opportunities to engage with leaders in your field and access valuable tools and resources. You can select from a variety of membership levels, but a gift of any size makes you a member.   Join before December 31, 2017 and you'll be recognized as a Charter Member  of the Children & Nature Network.  

I hope you'll join me in becoming a member today.

Sincerely,
Cathy Jordan, PhD, LP
Consulting Research Director 
Children & Nature Network
  Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter   


Join by December 31, 2017 to become   an official charter member!


[ Access to Nature ]
Physical a1barriers may not be the principal way in which people with disabilities are limited in their access to play/nature spaces
This research focused on the outdoor play needs of families with children with disabilities and evaluated usage and experiences of these families in two newly-refurbished, accessible, natural playspaces.  Parents reported both physical and social barriers limiting their family's access, and the way they described the emotional-affective impacts of such barriers included expressions of "dread" and "resignation." 
Horton, 2017. Disabilities, urban natures and children's outdoor play.  
[ Benefits of Green Environments ]
Higher be1levels of tree canopy are linked to higher reading test scores
A study of relationships between urban nature and the academic performance of 222 urban schools in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area of Minnesota demonstrated a significant, positive relationship between tree cover and reading performance. Increasing tree cover in student environments should be considered as one strategy to support academic success . |  Hodson & Sander, 2017. Green urban landscapes and school-level academic performance .   Access study
Exposure be2to nature restored mothers' individual attention and contributed to mother-daughter cohesion
Twenty-seven mother-daughter dyads participated in this experimental study comparing the impact of a walk together in two different settings: an arboretum and a mall. Mothers' improved attentional functioning and greater dyadic cohesion after the walk in nature support the idea that shared nature-related recreation can promote family bonds . |  
Izenstark & Ebata, 2017. The effects of the natural environment on attention and family cohesion: An experimental study. 
Children be3use greater cognitive resources while indoors than outdoors in nature to achieve the same level of performance on tasks requiring attention and inhibitory control
This experimental study compared children's neural responses while performing cognitive tasks in outdoor natural settings and indoor environments. Results showed significantly less neurological activity outdoors versus indoors, suggesting that some cognitive processes may take less effort outdoors compared to indoors. Results also suggest that natural environments can be restorative with respect to executive functions . | Torquati, Schutte & Kiat, 2017. Attentional demands of executive function tasks in indoor and outdoor settings: Behavioral and neuroelectrical evidence.    Access study
[ Birth Outcomes ]
Individual boand neighborhood characteristics can modify the impact of green space on birth weight, and may do so differently depending on the greenness metric
"Metrics matter" is a conclusion drawn about a study examining relationships between greenness around mother's residential address and term birth weight.  Findings indicated that individual and neighborhood characteristics can modify the impact of green space on birth weight, and in different ways depending on the green space metric | 
Cusack et al. 2017. Associations between multiple green space measures and birth weight across two US cities. 
[ Environmental Knowledge, Attitudes & Behaviors ]
Parents ek1and peers influence children's pro-environmental behaviors but to a different degree according to age and gender
This study examined how parents and friends may shape children's environmental attitudes and behaviors. While both parents and peers influenced children's pro-environmentalism, there were age and gender differences. Girls were more sensitive to social agents than boys; younger children more influenced by their parents than older ones; and older children more strongly influenced by best friends. | 
Collado, Evans & Sorrel, 2017. The role of parents and best friends in children's pro-environmentalism: Differences according to age and gender.   
Independence ek2and social connections influence whether or not children visit biodiverse spaces in urban environments
A total of 187 children living in similarly biodiverse neighborhoods shared information about places they accessed on their own and answered knowledge-based questions relating to nature in their urban neighborhoods. Ethnicity had the strongest relationship to nature knowledge, but social connections and independence were strong predictors of whether or not children actually visited biodiverse spaces. | 
Freeman et al. 2017. City children's nature knowledge and contact: It is not just about biodiversity provision.   
Adolescents' ek3pro-environmental behavior relates to their internalized motivation, which is promoted more by an autonomy-supporting versus controlling parenting style
Questionnaire responses from over 400 parent/adolescent dyads indicate that adolescents are less intrinsically motivated to act in environmentally-responsible ways than their parents, but are more likely to do so if parents communicate their expectations about desired behaviors in a way that facilitates choice and agency.  | 
Gronhoj & Thogersen, 2017. Why young people do things for the environment: The role of parenting for adolescents' motivation to engage in pro-environment behavior. 
Connectedness ek4to nature can facilitate the development of biospheric values, which can then serve as a motivating factor for pro-environmental behaviors
Findings of three different but related studies indicate that stronger self-nature connections are related to stronger biospheric values, which tend to motivate people to engage in more environmentally-sustainable behaviors. These findings suggest that enhancing opportunities for people to connect with nature may be an effective way to promote environmentally-friendly behaviors. 
Martin & Czellar, 2017. Where do biospheric values come from? A connectedness to nature perspective.
 
While connectedness ek5to nature and environmental knowledge, together, promote ecological behavior, connectedness to nature is the stronger motivator 
This study investigated the relation of children's participation in nature-based environmental education to their ecological behavior. Connectedness to nature explained 69% of the variance in ecological behavior; environmental knowledge, only 2%. Consistent with other research, this study revealed a link, though weak, between environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature. |  
Otto & Pensini, 2017. Nature-based environmental education of children: Environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature, together, are related to ecological behavior.
[ Play & Playgrounds ]
The affordances pp1of natural play spaces can support the development of executive function in preschool children
Vignettes of preschool children playing in natural playspaces provided examples of children setting their own goals, solving problems, focusing attention, and demonstrating cognitive flexibility and self-regulation. Natural affordances of the playspace (e.g., logs and tree cookies) promoted the practice of these and other executive function skills. 
Carr et al. 2017. Nature by design: Playscape affordances support the use of executive function in preschoolers.  
Children's outdoor pp2play is influenced by factors beyond time and space opportunities
This study examined why children in a more disadvantaged community rated their opportunities to play higher than children in a less disadvantaged community.  Focus group discussions indicated that simply having more places to play isn't automatically an indicator of satisfaction.  Fear, socio-economic conditions and how play is valued also influence children's freedom and opportunities to play outdoors. 
Long, 2017. It's not just about "more": A research project exploring satisfaction with opportunities to play, for children in two Welsh neighbouring communities.
The presence of pp3commercialized private playspaces reinforces the neglect of public play spaces in Istanbul and frames "good play" as being exclusive, secure and instrumental
This research was prompted by the growing popularity of commercialized playspaces inside shopping malls in Turkey.  Data collected through observations, document analysis, and semi-structured interviews revealed that neither the privatized indoor play opportunities nor the outdoor public playspaces provide the kind of opportunities needed to adequately address children's right to play.  
Sullu, 2017. Geographies of children's play in the context of neoliberal restructuring in Istanbul. 
Playgrounds without pp4natural features had greater usage and higher level of physical activity than other playgrounds; naturalness, however, may promote other areas of development
Researchers visited ten playgrounds 18-21 times to collect information about the playground features and children's use of the playgrounds. In contrast to prior research, more children used playgrounds with more varied facilities and without naturalness than other playgrounds and children were more physically active on those playgrounds. The authors suggest that natural playgrounds may promote other benefits that were not measured in this study.  
Reimers & Knapp, 2017. Playground usage and physical activity levels of children based on playground spatial features
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[ Enhancing the Impact of Research ]
Nature-Based eirLearning Research Network designers used network leadership strategies to develop a framework for enhancing the impact of research 
This article examines the activities, achievements, challenges, and future plans of the Nature-Based Learning Research Network (NBLR).  Initial outcomes of the NBLR Network indicate that the application of network-building leadership strategies has the potential to accelerate research in areas of need and enhance the impact of research for accomplishing positive social change. | Jordan, 
Charles & Cleary, 2017. Enhancing the impact of research: Experimenting with network leadership strategies to grow a vibrant nature-based learning research network.    Access Study

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