Outdoor Education, Life Long Learning and Skills Development in Woodlands and Green Spaces: The Potential Links to Health and Well-Being

  • Liz O’BrienEmail author
  • Ambra Burls
  • Peter Bentsen
  • Inger Hilmo
  • Kari Holter
  • Dorothee Haberling
  • Janez Pirnat
  • Mikk Sarv
  • Kristel Vilbaste
  • John McLoughlin


Formal and informal education and learning in woodlands and green spaces can play an important role in contributing to people’s health and well-being. Two mechanisms are outlined which might explain this: (1) through general exposure to nature when undertaking educational activities outdoors; (2) through active ‘hands on’ intensive and/or extensive contact with nature gained through learning outdoors. Outdoor learning, what it is and what it involves is described as well as three learning theories particularly relevant to outdoor learning. The links between outdoor learning and health focusing on the two mechanisms outlined above are explored in detail. Conclusions highlight potential ways in which to encourage the use of woodlands and green spaces to deliver learning, and health and well-being outcomes.


Young People Green Space Preschool Teacher Attention Deficit Disorder Urban Green Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liz O’Brien
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ambra Burls
    • 2
  • Peter Bentsen
    • 3
  • Inger Hilmo
    • 4
  • Kari Holter
    • 4
  • Dorothee Haberling
    • 5
  • Janez Pirnat
    • 6
  • Mikk Sarv
    • 7
  • Kristel Vilbaste
    • 8
  • John McLoughlin
    • 9
  1. 1.Forest Research, Social and Economic Research GroupFarnhamEngland
  2. 2.UK UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) Urban ForumLondonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and PlanningUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksbergDenmark
  4. 4.Oslo University CollegeOsloNorway
  5. 5.Nature School, City Council of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department of ForestryUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  7. 7.Estonian Society of School ForestsVilusiEstonia
  8. 8.Institute of Educational SciencesTallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  9. 9.Tree Council of IrelandDublinIreland

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