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Nature Education

Credential Earned: 


Nature experiences can be educational, joyful, and comforting, especially in today’s urbanizing and post-pandemic world. Nature education brings people closer to nature and thus contributes to human well-being, including physical and mental health. This course will introduce you to diverse nature education practices, including programs run by urban and wilderness nature centers, unstructured play time for children, adventure and outdoor education programs, educational experiences in national parks, forest schools, as well as citizen science and environmental stewardship programs that incorporate nature-based experiences. 

Topics include personal and community benefits of nature education, cultural ecosystem services, traditional and novel approaches to nature experiences, and challenges and critiques of nature education. Based on research and practice examples, this course is designed to help educators, volunteers, community leaders, parents and anyone else to gain professional credentials in nature education, and to incorporate nature in their educational programs and everyday life.


An experienced and dynamic team from Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab: Bethany Jorgensen (PhD Candidate), Yue Li (Research Associate), Marianne Krasny (Professor), Kim Snyder and Xin Yu (Course assistants), Wanying Wu (Chinese language assistant), plus 5 Chinese language teaching assistants.

Course developer (video lecturer): Alex Kudryavtsev.


Current and aspiring environmental educators, teachers, nonformal educators, volunteers, nature enthusiasts, university students, and anyone interested in using nature education in their work, life, research, and in training other educators. No background in nature education or environmental education is required. Available to participants in any country. All course materials are in English; video lectures contain subtitles in English and Chinese.​

Learning objectives

Through this course, you will:

  1. Apply research explaining how nature education contributes to human well-being, makes communities healthier, and encourages people to be better nature stewards.

  2. Review and critique different types of nature education programs, explore their outcomes, and adapt their educational ideas for your own practices.

  3. Exchange practical ideas for nature education with other course participants and instructors.

  4. Create a plan for incorporating nature education activities in your organization, educational program, community, or family.

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