C&NN's Research Digest
  ARCHIVE        |       OCTOBER  2017
IN THIS ISSUE:
A curated selection of newly published research
Education and Environmental Education
>Regular classes in outdoor settings may promote students' learning, health, social development and concern for environment
>Informal learning activities may promote child development and help young children learn about the natural world
>Engaging children as "agents of change" for the environment should be based on structural and relational dimensions of knowledge transmission
Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors
>Children's perceptions of nature are varied and their engagement with nature rich in opportunities for promoting overall development
>Taiwanese research is consistent with research from other countries; childhood natural experiences likely play a critical role in developing environmental activists
>Engaging children as "agents of change" for the environment should be based on structural and relational dimensions of knowledge transmission
Human-Animal Interactions
>Human-animal interaction research needs to address methodological limitations and expand the focus beyond treatment outcomes
>Pet ownership may benefit child and adolescent development
Health and Well-being Benefits of Nature
>Team of scholars develop a research agenda to further research linking contact with nature and human health
>Greenness measured at further distances was a better predictor of physical health than greenness within smaller buffers
>Benefits of nature to humans are delivered through both sensory and non-sensory pathways
>Research generally supports positive associations between urban green and blue spaces and health in children and the elderly, but results are inconclusive
>Access to nature can promote the mental well-being of children
>Gardening is beneficial for mental and physical health 
>Nature-based solutions in urban environments could become a public health tool
Urban Planning
>Environmental health research highlights the need to target green space interventions to multiple-user groups
>Assessing psychological factors affecting urban park use may be an effective approach to increasing use of existing parks
>Current neighborhood walkability research falls short in addressing diverse ages and abilities
>Nature-based solutions in urban environments could become a public health tool

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Dear friends,

Conclusions about impact cannot be drawn from one or sometimes even a few studies. We must synthesize across studies. Research summaries, systematic literature reviews (which use strict criteria for inclusion of studies and document rigor) and meta-analyses (which use statistical analyses to combine data about a common outcome across carefully chosen studies) are examples of ways to synthesize the evidence. They differ in specificity, objectivity, the degree to which they provide detail about individual studies, and their uses. However, all have value in helping us understand "what the literature says." 

This month's Digest is devoted to such syntheses. We have gathered all the summaries, systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses published in 2017 that we could locate. We hope this helps you draw conclusions that are relevant to your work.

Sincerely,
Cathy Jordan, PhD, LP
Consulting Research Director 
Children & Nature NetworK
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[ Education & Environmental Education ]
Regular EEE1classes in outdoor settings may promote students' learning, health, social development, and concern for the environment
This systematic review examined 13 published studies addressing the nature and benefits of school-based outdoor education programs (OEPs). While more studies focused on learning and social outcomes than other areas of student development, overall results indicate that regular OEPs can promote students' social, academic, physical and psychological development Becker et al. 2017. Effects of regular classes in outdoor education settings: A systematic review on students' learning, social and health dimensions .   Access study
Informal EEE2learning activities may promote child development and help young children learn about the natural world
Four instructional strategies appropriate for young children frame this review: activities in a natural outdoor setting, school gardening, play-based learning, and drawing.  These strategies - which can be implemented in different areas, including tropical and coastal areas - can make significant contributions to young children's development and to a more sustainable world . |  
Sawitri, 2017. Early childhood environmental education in tropical and coastal areas: A meta-analysis.
     Access study
Engaging EEE3children as "agents of change" for the environment should be based on structural and relational dimensions of knowledge transmission
This review focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and its call to engage children as "agents of change" in their households, schools, and communities. In addition to a discussion on how children's agency and interdependence relate to ESD, this paper also highlights the need for a socially sensitive approach to sustainability education . | 
Walker, 2017. Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance.
   
[ Environmental Attitudes & Behaviors ]
Children's EA1perceptions of nature are varied and their engagement with nature rich in opportunities for promoting overall development
Researchers identified four major themes in a review focusing on children's perceptions of nature: outdoor activity spaces; active care for nature; experiences in and effects of natural spaces; and children's perceptions of natural spaces and places. While children's perceptions of nature varied, the review found consistent support for the benefits of nature for children. |  Adams & Savahl, 2017. Nature as children's space: A systematic review .   Access study
Taiwanese EA2research is consistent with research from other countries; childhood natural experiences likely play a critical role in developing environmental activists
Researchers used the results of "significant life experiences" (SLE) studies conducted in Taiwan to develop an "environmental action model" illustrating ways in which SLE contribute to environmental action. Joyful experiences with nature during childhood is included in the model as a fundamental factor that likely promotes future environmental activism . | 
Hsu, 2017. Significant life experiences affect environmental action: A critical review of Taiwanese research.
Engaging EA3children as "agents of change" for the environment should be based on structural and relational dimensions of knowledge transmission
This review focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and its call to engage children as "agents of change" in their households, schools, and communities. In addition to a discussion on how children's agency and interdependence relate to ESD, this paper also highlights the need for a socially sensitive approach to sustainability education . |  Walker, 2017. Tomorrow's leaders and today's agents of change? Children, sustainability education and environmental governance.    Access study
[ Human-Animal Interaction ]
Human-animalH1 interaction research needs to address methodological limitations and expand the focus beyond treatment outcomes
Research suggests that human-animal interactions may decrease distress but it is not clear whether animals account for the treatment effects. This paper reviews the evidence, presents a discussion of the primary limitations and interpretive challenges of the research literature, and offers recommendations for future research | 
Crossman, 2017. Effects of interactions with animals on human psychological distress.  
Pet ownership H2may benefit child and adolescent developmentn
This review examined research on the impact of pets on childhood and adolescent development.  Most studies focused on emotional health and provided strong evidence of pets having positive impacts on self-esteem and loneliness, especially for children under 6 and over 10 years old.  Pet ownership was also associated with cognitive, behavioral, educational and social development. | 
Purewal et al. 2017. Companion animals and child/adolescent development: A systematic review of the evidence
[ Health & Well-being Benefits of Nature  ]
Team of scholars HW1develop a research agenda to further research linking contact with nature and human health
A multidisciplinary team, after reviewing what is already known about the health benefits of contact with nature, identified seven principal domains of research and developed a research agenda to address unanswered questions.  Implementing this agenda is needed to guide interventions across a wide range of settings, populations, spatial scales and forms of nature. | 
Frumkin et al. 2017.  Nature contact and human health: A research agenda. 
Greenness HW2measured at further distances was a better predictor of physical health than greenness within smaller buffers
Findings of this review indicate that the likelihood of greenness predicting physical health increases as the size of the buffer (up to 2000 meters) increases. This doesn't mean, however, that nearby greenspace is less predictive of health than distant greenspace, as a larger buffer includes smaller buffers around a home. | 
Browning & Lee, 2017. Within what distance does "greenness" best predict physical health? A systematic review of articles with GIS Buffer Analyses across the lifespan.  
Benefits of HW3nature to humans are delivered through both sensory and non-sensory pathways
This review examined the evidence of nature benefits delivered through our lesser-studied sensory pathways (sound, smell, taste, and touch) and three non-sensory pathways (phytoncides, negative air ions and microbes).  Authors also identified important gaps in our understanding of how nature experiences beneļ¬t human health and well-being and offer suggestions for further investigations. | 
Franco, Shanahan & Fuller, 2017. A review of the benefits of nature experiences: More than meets the eye.  
Research generally HW4supports positive associations between urban green and blue spaces and health in children and the elderly, but results are inconclusive
This review focused on the human health benefits of nature-based initiatives addressing urbanization-induced challenges.  While findings generally support positive associations between such initiatives and health in children and the elderly, results are inconclusive due to the possible influence of socioeconomic factors and how green space is measured. | 
Kabisch, van den Bosch & Lafortezza, 2017. The health benefits of nature-based solutions to urbanization challenges for children and the elderly--A systematic review. 
    Access study
Access to HW5nature can promote the mental well-being of children
The findings of this review indicate that access to natural environments can enhance children's confidence, social interactions, cognitive development, academic achievement, and emotional well-being.  Specific recommendations for pediatric nursing professionals include writing prescriptions for outdoor play and advocating for natural playspaces in the community. | 
McCormick, 2017. Does access to green space impact the mental well-being of children: A systematic review.  
Gardening HW6is beneficial for mental and physical health
This meta-analysis examined the results of 76 comparisons between control and treatment groups of people engaged in gardening.  Robust evidence showing that gardening can improve public health supports public investments in gardening opportunities for a broad range of people, including children. | 
Soga, Gaston & Yamaurac, 2017. Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis. 
    Access study
Nature-based HW7solutions in urban environments could become a public health tool
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are actions inspired by nature to address a range of environmental challenges.  This review sought to determine if the NBS concept could be used for urban planning in promoting human health and preventing disease.  Findings provide strong evidence that this could be so. | 
van den Bosch & Sang, 2017. Urban natural environments as nature-based solutions for improved public health -- A systematic review of reviews. 
[ Urban Planning  ]
Environmental u1health research highlights the need to target green space interventions to multiple-user groups
This review of the literature presents evidence linking human health, well-being and green space using a life-course approach.  Research findings were then used to develop a framework for planning and designing green spaces in urban environments that meet the varying needs of people across all life-course stages. 
Douglas, Lennon, & Scott, 2017. Green space benefits for health and well-being: A life-course approach to urban planning, design and management. 
Assessing u2psychological factors affecting urban park use may be an effective approach to increasing use of existing parks
This review of the literature focused on psychological factors affecting urban park use and methods for measuring them.  Quality of facilities and activities was significantly associated with park use in many of the studies.   The report includes a conceptual framework that planners might use for more accurately assessing the psychological factors influencing people's use of parks.
Park, 2017. Psychological park accessibility: A systematic literature review of perceptual components affecting park use.
Current neighborhood u3walkability research falls short in addressing diverse ages and abilities
A review of ninety-six journal articles focusing on neighborhood walkability indicates a lack of research on walkability-related influences other than distance.   Findings highlight the need for an integrated research approach inclusive of people with a range of abilities, ages, and impairments.  Such research can inform policy relating to walkable neighborhoods that are socially and spatially just for everyones.  
Stafford & Baldwin, 2017. Planning walkable neighborhoods: Are we overlooking diversity in abilities and ages?  
Nature-based u4solutions in urban environments could become a public health tool
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are actions inspired by nature to address a range of environmental challenges.  This review sought to determine if the NBS concept could be used for urban planning in promoting human health and preventing disease.  Findings provide strong evidence that this could be so.  
van den Bosch & Sang, 2017. Urban natural environments as nature-based solutions for improved public health -- A systematic review of reviews. 
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