guideline for health in outdoor education cover 2017Guideline for Incorporating Health in Outdoor Education

Read the full Guideline for Incorporating Health in Outdoor Education.

Oregon is known for its natural resources, beautiful outdoor spaces, and its commitment to sustainability. For decades, stakeholders from state and local government, education,
conservation, philanthropy, and other sectors have worked to preserve these resources and places by creating outdoor education opportunities designed to develop future generations of leaders. These opportunities include outdoor schools as well as offerings of programs and settings outside the outdoor school context.

However, the potential impact of engaging students in outdoor education extends beyond environmental stewardship. When we consider the interrelatedness of the natural environment, individual health, and community health, tremendous opportunities in connecting outdoor education and human health emerge. Research continues to show that getting people into the outdoors and bringing the outdoors closer to people increases access to opportunities for physical activity, reduces stress, fosters community and social relationships, and improves air quality. By intentionally integrating a health focus into curricula and program design, outdoor education providers can bring these benefits to participants while they are engaged in on-site activities, and also help them develop the habits, perspectives, and skills that will allow them to make the connection between health and the outdoors in their independent lives.

The guidelines that follow are intended to shape thinking about opportunities to integrate health in outdoor education, but they do not focus on specific standards. As such, they are also useful to school administrators who are considering how much time to allocate to outdoor education; capital improvements to bring greenspace into schools; the capacities and training their educators need to provide public health; and, other decisions related to public health and outdoor education.

Read the full Guideline for Incorporating Health in Outdoor Education.