Research & Studies

Research Reports and Data Studies in Aggregate


C&NN hopes you will use this collection of scientific literature to browse, learn and share current and emerging findings that can help make a solid case based on the research to policy-makers, school boards, community groups, health providers, urban planners and others that can influence the systems to connect children, families and communities to nature.

If you know of high quality, peer-reviewed research that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the Research Center, please email us details at

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Benefits of nature contact for children

Research findings make a compelling case for incorporating into community plans provisions for access to nature in the places where children live, play, and learn.

The effects of school gardens on children’s science knowledge: A randomized controlled trial of low-income elementary schools

A school garden intervention – consisting of both garden-related lessons and gardening activities – had a positive effect on children’s knowledge of plant science and nutritional science.

Memories of vacant lots: How and why residents used informal urban green space as children and teenagers in Brisbane, Australia, and Sapporo, Japan

Adults from two geographically and culturally distinct cities report access to informal green space as children and few concerns about risks, in contrast to today.

How does psychological restoration work in children? An exploratory study

Both place and activity influenced children’s perception of restorativeness in three different experimental conditions with varying degrees of naturalness.

Significant life experiences, motivations and values of climate change educators

People involved in climate change education and mitigation cite social justice issues as more motivating for action than concerns about the non-human environment and do not identify childhood experiences in nature as a major formative influence in their pro-environmental actions.

Life trajectories of youth committing to climate activism

A concern for both nature and social justice influence youth to commit to climate change mitigation.

Curious play: Children’s exploration of nature

Curiosity, not risk, may be the motivating factor in children’s playful engagement with nature.

Let’s play at the park! Family pathways promoting spiritual resources to inspire nature, pretend play, storytelling, intergenerational play and celebrations.

Playful activities in outdoor natural spaces can support the holistic development of young children and promote their spirituality.

Rural, low-income mothers’ use of family-based nature activities to promote family health

Rural, low-income mothers identify access to free nature-based recreational opportunities as a major contributor to the health of individual family members and healthy family functioning

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