Outdoor Learning Project Reveals Children More Motivated to Learn When Outside

outdoor-learningChildren from 125 schools across the South West of England are happier, healthier and more motivated to learn thanks to a new project commissioned by Natural England that has turned the outdoors into a classroom and helped schools transform ways of teaching.

The findings have been released today by the Natural Connections Demonstration project, a 4-year initiative to help school children – particularly those from disadvantaged areas – experience the benefits of the natural environment by empowering teachers to use the outdoors to support everyday learning.

The project, which is funded by Natural England, Defra and Historic England and delivered by Plymouth University, is the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a math lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field.

To read the full article, click here.

Window Views to Green Landscapes Help High Schoolers Recover from Attention Fatigue and Stress

In a recent study, students that were in classrooms with views to green space were better able to pay attention and recover from stressful events than students in classrooms that had views of buildings or other man-made structures, or no windows at all

Ninety-four high school students from five high schools participated in this study. Student participants were randomly assigned to  either a classroom with no windows, a classroom with windows that opened to a built space, and a classroom with windows that opened to a green space. Participants engaged in typical classroom activities followed by a break in the classroom to which they were assigned. The researchers studied stress levels with EKG readings, blood volume pulse, and body temperature.  Other tests measured the students’ attention fatigue and perceived stress levels.

Results demonstrate that classroom views to green landscapes cause significantly better performance on tests of attention and increase student’s recovery from stressful experiences.

To read the full article, click here.

Paul Revell Memorial

prPaul Revell died on Thursday March 17th, 2016. Paul’s Memorial Service is being held on Saturday, March 26 at 11:00 a.m., at Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in Charlottesville, VA.

As Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, Paul helped many organizations implement significant projects, including greenways, landscape designs, streetscapes, parks, and open spaces.  He was a past president of the Mid- Atlantic Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture and received that organization’s True Professional Award in 2015.  Paul also served for several years on the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, and helped with the initial funding of the Clinch River Valley Initiative.  He received numerous awards and recognition from organizations across Virginia, including the Keep Virginia Beautiful Award, the Southern Group of State Foresters Urban Forestry Award, the National Association of State Foresters Urban Forestry Award, the International Society of Arboriculture True Professional of Arboriculture Award, the VNRLI Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution, and the Clinch River Valley Initiative Partner of the Year Award.  Each award is a testament to Paul’s hard work, dedication, commitment, innovation, creativity, public service, and good humor in the face of daunting challenges.

Paul was a founding member and supporter of the Urban Forest Strike Team initiative that emphasizes the roles of professional arborists and urban foresters in disaster recovery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Paul Revell Legacy Scholarship Fund http://www.arch.virginia.edu/paul-revel-scholarship-fund at the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VNRLI) http://vnrli.ien.virginia.edu/.

Contributions can also be made to Trees Virginia, 900 Natural Resources Drive, Charlottesville, VA  22903 or at http://www.treesvirginia.org/.

Source: B. White and obituary.

Texas Wildlife & Woodland Expo and Spring Fling

expo save the date 2016

The 2nd Annual Texas Wildlife and Woodland Expo & Spring Fling will take place on April 2nd, 2016, at The Lone Star College- Montgomery. This free event provides youth and adults a chance to get outdoors and learn about the natural environment. It will feature many family friendly activities including arts and crafts, rock climbing, and archery, as well as many informational classes and demonstrations for all ages. Also, all of the booths will provide a hands-on activity for children. There are also many opportunities for girl scouts and boy scouts to work towards their patches and badges.

Expo and Spring Fling is a joint event hosted by the Texas Forest Service and Lone Star College- Montgomery, in cooperation with many other partners. The event aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and wildfire prevention, and encourage families to get outside and reconnect with nature. Participants are able to meet various environmental, educational and outdoor-related groups, non-profit organizations, businesses and government agencies.

This year’s topics include: attracting pollinators, gardening, healthy forests, attracting wildlife to your area, rain water harvesting, and much more!

Booth spaces are complimentary for approved applicants. Visit the website to register, or contact Jordan Herrin at 936-259-5688, jherrin@tfs.tamu.edu.

When: Saturday, April 2, 2016, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Lone Star College-Montgomery 3200 College Park Drive Conroe and The Woodlands, Texas 77384.

For more information, visit the Expo website http://expo.tamu.edu/


Bonnie Appleton Memorial Fund

Bonnie Appleton“Bonnie Appleton was an inspiring person to her students and to the industries that she worked with.  Her research bridged many fields from horticulture and arboriculture to nursery and landscape management, landscape design and utility arboriculture.  Bonnie was a frequent speaker at chapter and national ISA events and was also involved in the development of the ISA certification program.  Her passing has been felt in the green industry across the US and internationally, we miss her passion and advocacy for horticulture and arboriculture education and research.

“To honor Bonnie, the legacy of her research, and her mentoring of many students; the Bonnie Appleton Memorial Fund was established at the TREE Fund.  This national fund will be used to sponsor scholarships to help support undergraduate students continuing in her footsteps to benefit the green industry.” (Source: B. White, VDOF)

MAC-ISA has raised over $40,000 but needs your help to reach the initial goal of $100,000.  These scholarships will honor and recognize Bonnie Appleton and the tremendous research and help she gave to all the various green industry fields.

Click HERE to donate directly at TREE FUND and select the Bonnie Appleton Memorial Fund (third one down).  All donations are tax deductible.

Connecting With Nature? There’s an App for That

2014-12-04-iphonephoto-thumb[1]Let’s face it, people are tied to their technology.  Smartphones travel with us wherever we venture. Why not use this resource as a way of more deeply connecting with nature?  Apps that  encourage  nature exploration and environmental literacy are readily available.   More and more, environmental organizations are finding ways to use technology to encourage people to spend time in nature.

To read the full article click here

Klasky, Ben.  2014 Dec 04. Connecting With Nature? There’s an App for That. Huffington Post: Green. http://huff.to/1zCQ7bK

Want Your Kids to Get Into Harvard? Tell ‘Em to Go Outside!

DF-41A growing body of evidence supports the belief that spending time in nature has positive impacts for youth.  Schools that have developed outdoor teaching areas and nature-based educational experiences report academic improvements among students in multiple subject areas. Researchers are finding that out-of-school learning experiences, which include non-formal educational settings like national parks, museums, and nature centers, contribute to student’s knowledge and interest in science and the environment.   

To read the full article click here.

Louv, Richard. 2014 Sept 22. Want Your Kids to Get into Harvard? Tell ‘Em To Go Outside. Children & Nature Network: The New Nature Movement. http://blog.childrenandnature.org/


Bonnie Appleton Memorial Fund

ba2Join MAC-ISA and Trees Virginia in a lasting tribute to Bonnie Appleton’s contributions to horticulture and arboriculture education and research. The Bonnie Appleton Memorial Fund was recently established at the TREE Fund to honor Dr. Appleton.  The fund will be used to sponsor scholarships to help support undergraduate students continuing in her footsteps to benefit the green industry.  Barbara White (VDOF) remembers Bonnie Appleton as “an inspiring person to her students and to the industries that she worked with.  Her research bridged many fields from horticulture and arboriculture to nursery and landscape management, landscape design and utility arboriculture… we miss her passion and advocacy for horticulture and arboriculture education and research.”

Click here to donate directly, on-line at TREE Fund.

Connecting Kids to the Hogtown Creek Watershed in Gainesville, Florida

mary__kids_in_woodsInterfaceSouth and local partners, including the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Alachua County School District, the Gainesville Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs, and Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, received funding through this year’s Forest Service More Kids in the Woods (MKIW) cost share funding opportunity. The MKIW program supports activities and programs designed to spark curiosity about nature and promote learning through applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles.

Project partners will collaborate with Westwood middle school science teachers to conduct outdoor science learning activities and service learning projects within the nearby Hogtown Creek Watershed in Gainesville, FL. Partners will also organize a school camp out, participate in career day events and science fairs, and conduct a train-the-teacher workshop on outdoor learning concepts and techniques. Project successes, materials and information will be shared locally, regionally and nationally through our combined partner networks.

To learn more about the Forest Service’s More Kids in the Woods program and 2013 cost share funding recipients visit: 





New Changing Roles Materials Available

Module-5-smallThe Changing Roles Professional Development Program provides state and federal natural resource agencies and partner organizations with a set of flexible resources to conduct their own training programs, aimed toward building skills and tools to successfully tackle WUI issues. Materials include trainer’s guides, exercises, fact sheets, case studies, DVDs, and presentations. The original four module topics include: (1) Wildland-Urban Interface Issues and Connections; (2) Managing Interface Forests; (3) Land-Use Planning and Policy; (4) Communicating with Interface Residents and Leaders.
We recently added a fifth module that addresses a range of emerging issues in the wildland-urban interface and strategies for addressing them, including topics such as climate change, firewood movement, interface entrepreneurs, succession planning, ecosystem services, environmental justice, partnerships, and the benefits of outdoor activity for children.  A few of the materials in this module are still in development, so check back later for more. To view these new module materials click here.