What's your connection with nature like?

We're keen to help and encourage everyone to get outside, enjoy and connect with the  natural environment. 

Evidence shows that being outside and connecting with nature can provide many benefits including:

  • opportunities to increase physical activity
  • guarding against obesity and type 2 diabetes
  • preventing Vitamin D deficiency
  • reducing the symptoms of stress and ADHD
  • contributing to dementia treatment
  • minimising childhood short sightedness
  • promoting academic attainment
  • developing employability skills
  • helping to prevent the loss of environmental knowledge and understanding

A natural progression

We have developed our natural progression model to help explain that everyone has the potential to move, step by step, from being in and connecting with the natural environment to establishing lifelong positive behaviours that will encourage all of us to look after our world.

Image of Natural Progression poster

Download the natural progression poster

What are the steps? 

Step one - being in nature

Nature needs to be experienced first-hand before a connection through enjoyment can develop! 

Step two - connecting with nature

Once we feel comfortable having spent sufficient time outdoors, a relationship begins to form. The better this experience, the more positive the results.

We can all take positive steps to encourage and establish the connection:

  • encourage use of local parks, woods and beaches
  • encourage more outdoor learning and health projects, such as edible playgrounds and nature play facilities
  • work together to raise awareness and skills regarding the benefits of making the most of nature  

Step three - gaining knowledge

Once we have developed a connection to the natural world, our knowledge of natural processes and systems begin to take shape. 

As we gain more new knowledge and understanding we can move between steps 3 to 6 many times.

Step four – developing understanding

With time and experience a deeper level of understanding of ecosystems and natural resources matures, allowing us to consider how our actions have an impact on the environment. 

We can all take positive steps to improve our knowledge and understanding:

  • by seeking opportunities to learn “in, about and for ” nature
  • by taking part in or delivering family led activities or organising learning events
  • by supporting educational initiatives such as Healthy Schools, Eco Schools, Forest School and Coastal School
  • by offering or taking part in training events  and developing community projects such as gardening clubs 

Step five – taking a personal position

Now that a deep understanding of our place within the natural world has developed, we form our own local and global opinions eg our personal stance on climate change or attitude to recycling.

Step six – influencing others

With a connection to nature in place, an understanding of the natural environment and a personal standpoint, we can influence and educate others. 

We can all take positive steps to educate and influence others:

  • by providing or signposting volunteering and placement opportunities in the outdoors
  • by influencing the preservation and addition of green space, eg our local parks, trees and woodland
  • by advising others  the multiple benefits of the natural environment
  • influence education and training establishments

Our role

NRW has developed these Natural Progression steps in order to support the growth of the ethical and informed citizens our new Welsh curriculum seeks to develop.

For further information contact: education@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

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