Bolstering, Balancing and boosting
Updated: Nov 20
Bolstering Wellbeing, Balancing Stress, Boosting Learning - The Benefits of Nature-Based School Trips
As educators, planning a school trip grants you the opportunity to create transformative and life-enhancing experiences for your students.
Making a decision on the type of trip you want to run can be an overwhelming experience, especially with the vast array of options available. However, here at the Bioasis, we believe that nature-based learning can be one of the most beneficial types of trips for students. Why? They enhance student wellbeing, reduce stress, reconnect young people with the natural world and connect the classroom teaching with the real world.
Here are some reasons why we think you should consider nature-based learning when deciding on your next school trip.
Improved Wellbeing and Stress Reduction
In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, students often find themselves overwhelmed by the pressures of daily life and school. In fact, according to a recent survey, two-thirds of students aged between 8 and 17 admitted that they feel stressed and anxious about school.[i] Nature-based trips offer students the opportunity to reconnect with the outside world, providing them with respite from the daily stresses of growing up in a technology based environement. Several studies have found that exposure to natural environments is associated with improved attention, executive function, and a reduction in cortisol levels for school aged children.[ii] This highlights the indisputable value of incorporating nature-based trips into educational curriculums.
Mindfulness and Relaxation:
Spending time outdoors provides young people with a multisensory experience. Natural landscapes, wildlife and diverse surroundings stimulate the senses and encourage students to observe, touch, smell and appreciate the world around them. This sensory engagement promotes a heightened sense of awareness and attention, allowing pupils to immerse themselves in a different space. As students become more attuned to their surroundings, the great outdoors offers space for mindfulness and mental relaxation – something that can give health benefits and pleasure throughout life, not just in the teenage years.
From improving cardiometabolic and cardiovascular health, to improving mental health and academic performance, it is no secret that physical activity is an essential, although often undervalued, part of the curriculum. Nature trips and physical activity go hand-in-hand, whether it is hiking, exploring, or simply playing outdoors. The combination of these elements not only promotes healthy habits, but also offers valuable educational experiences for students and teachers alike.
Sleep plays a vital role in healthy development through childhood and adolescence. However, the modern world is fast-paced and full of distractions. As a result, studies have shown a clear decline in sleep quality and quantity in adolescents, which, in turn, can have a detrimental impact upon academic performance, behaviour and learning.[iii] However, several studies have proven that exposure to natural outdoor environments can improve sleep quality and can be tied to better mental health.[iv]
Connecting the Trip to Classroom Learning and Beyond:
The benefits of a nature-based school trip go far beyond stress reduction, relaxation, and the improvement of students’ general wellbeing. These trips can also be an extremely effective way of enhancing traditional classroom learning. After all, studies show that people generally remember 90% of what they say, as they do a thing.[v]
Hands-On Science and Geography:
Nature-based trips provide an excellent opportunity for immersive and hands-on science education. Through being in the great outdoors, students have the chance to observe and engage with local ecosystems, conduct practical experiments, and investigate geology. These experiences reinforce academic material through practical application, which ultimately fosters a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.
A fantastic experience for our Environmental Science students taking the AQA A level syllabus. Almost all activities touched on aspects of our course content so great enrichment. The Bioasis staff had obviously taken on board feedback from last year and designed an experience that was heavily scientific, bringing in specialists to give talks and demonstrate some of the research that they were involved in. This obviously takes times and careful planning. Willow, our activities leader, was a hugely knowledgeable resource, working at a very advanced level in his own personal field of research and it is rare to find someone (with this background) who can communicate knowledge and elicit contributions from students with such ease. Jarrod was a friendly and approachable trip organiser, very attentive to feedback and the individual needs of the group. Food was excellent - it is easy to forget that they must adhere to very high standards of food hygiene, catering to a large group and all this in the middle of nowhere! Hats off because they managed to produce some really delicious meals, mostly vegetarian. Also, to thank are Badger for sharing his wealth of experience from the outdoors and Josh who kept things ticking over smoothly in the background. The students had a wonderful time and benefitted in many ways not least in terms of having the confidence to design investigations. We would not hesitate (as a college) to recommend Bioasis to other A-level Environmental Science courses across the country. Roger Hunt, Peter Symonds College
At the Bioasis, the preservation of the environment and creating agency to tackle climate change is at heart of what we do. Encouraging students to explore natural environments is key to fostering a comprehensive understanding of ecology, biodiversity and environmental conservation. Throughout this experience, we aim to educate and nurture the next generation, to provide them with a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards the planet.
Nature-based trips strongly facilitate interdisciplinary learning by allowing students to delve into various academic subject within the context of a single trip. Through these experiences, students can draw connections between science, history, geography, biology, environmental science and art, all within the setting of a natural environment.
Benefits for Teachers:
If we’ve yet to convince you of the benefits of nature-based trips yet, we’ve saved the last one for you, the teacher! Incorporating nature-based learning not only benefits students but also improves the teaching experience. Teachers have the chance to witness students' growth, engagement, and (hopefully) passion for learning, making these experiences rewarding for students and educators alike.
So, there you have it, just some of the advantages of nature-based trips.
We’d love to show you what all the above looks like in real life, up-close and personal, as only a Bioasis Mission can deliver.
Why not come and check it out for yourself?
[i] https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/blog/children-and-stress-whats-worrying-them-most/ [ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125471/ [iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4664801/ [iv] https://www.doseofnature.org.uk/studies1 [v] https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1272657.pdf