The Environmental Education Field & COVID-19

Outdoor Learning: Quick Reference Guide (Nature Based Education Consortium): Nature Based Education Consortium Outdoor Learning resource page is an information hub, built to support school districts and community partners interested in Outdoor Learning.

See this guide for ideas on outdoor classrooms, funding, scheduling, guidance for schools and many opportunities for teachers to find training on how to implement outdoor learning. The outdoors is a great place to learn, but especially during a pandemic.


A Field at Risk: The Impact COVID-19 on Environmental and Outdoor Science Education: During April 2020, the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a survey to learn about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environmental and outdoor science education field nationwide. This policy brief describes the importance of this field, the findings of our survey, and recommendations for mitigating the potentially devastating threats facing this field. These recommendations were developed based on conversations with individuals at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI), and Ten Strands, as well as other organizational leaders.


Will COVID-19 Spell the End of Outdoor and Environmental Education?: A survey of nearly 1,000 environmental education and outdoor science schools that serve primarily K-12 learners shows that 63 percent of such organizations are uncertain whether they will ever open their doors again, if pandemic restrictions last until year’s end.

Photo: Dan Squire

eeGuidance for Reopening Schools: This NAAEE speaks to how schools can equitably reopen and how environmental or outdoor programs can help fill gaps where we see  “COVID slide."


Outdoor Classrooms in the Age of COVID-19: Pros and Cons: Are we going to see more students learning outdoors when they return to school? Some advocates think the answer should be yes.


VT Education and Environment Network Fall 2020 Educator Survey: In response to COVID-19, many K-12 classrooms shifted to virtual learning formats and must adhere to social distancing guidelines when in person. As a result, teachers are using outdoor learning in a greater capacity this year. However, many teachers need support to effectively use natural spaces and outdoor education pedagogy. Additionally, informal outdoor educators are unable to provide school groups with their traditional offerings of place-based field trips. To understand the needs of educators, VEEN conducted a survey of network members to prioritize services and support for classroom teachers and informal educators.


School's Out(doors): Place based Education Responds to COVID-19 and Beyond: What do we do when a global pandemic makes it more dangerous for large groups of adults and kids to stay indoors? Place-based education (PBE) has always been a powerful approach to learning, but now it’s also a powerful answer to COVID-19.

This booklet is designed to be the starting point for anyone getting ready to take the next step toward doing more PBE.


Outdoor Learning Opportunities for Healthy Students- A solution for elementary schools during COVID 19: ME, NH, VT: As we plan for the reopening of schools, we recognize the complex waves of relief and concern that may overwhelm children and families. We believe this moment calls for focus on equitable access to safe, nurturing environments and flexible pathways to enrollment and participation that are responsive to the cultural, economic, medical and emotional contexts families experience. On that foundation and in direct response to the pandemic, we believe that schools should consider outdoor learning as part of their plans for re-opening in the fall or in the plans for hybrid/distance learning. This position statement is the collaboration of the Inside-Outside advisory group.


Schools Beat Earlier Plagues With Outdoor Classes. We Should, Too: New York Times article about our history of transitioning school outside in the face of a public health crisis. 

Virtual Teaching & Learning Resources


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