The Natural Environment White Paper The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2011) sets out the need to strengthen the connection between people and nature, and gives an explicit call for every child in England to be given the opportunity to experience and learn about the natural environment. To help achieve this ambition, Government sets out several key reforms which include a commitment to removing challenges and increasing teachers and schools abilities to teach outdoors.
To identify and develop solutions most likely to be effective in increasing supply and demand for learning in natural environments, Natural England established a formal partnership with the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and set up the Natural Connections Management Group. The Management Group had representation from across a range of sectors, including the Natural Environment, Green Space, Community and Volunteering, Heritage and Science sectors. Together they brought a breadth of perspectives to help resolve the challenge in new ways and made a significant contribution to the evidence reviews contained in this Report. Organisations and networks involved included all those represented by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom plus GreenSpace, Keep Britain Tidy Group, Kings College London, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET), Sustainability and Environmental Education, Sustainable Schools Alliance, and Volunteering England. Some additional organisations were involved due to the scale and scope of their delivery, such as the English National Parks Authority, Farming and Countryside Education, Learning through Landscapes, the National Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.