At Mountain Shepherd, we believe each person, regardless of life experience, can learn to navigate the outdoors and respond to unexpected challenges. We also agree that learning outdoors, about anything, and even shifting activities typically done indoors out to a natural environment, can be wildly beneficial for any person.

In fact, people of all ages who connect with nature during any learning process experience numerous physical, mental, and social benefits. These benefits have become more widely discussed in recent years as humans, particularly in the United States, have shifted toward staying indoors in front of electronic screens for most of the day. Some people spend up to 96% of their time each day indoors. What’s so great about learning in the “great outdoors” anyway? We can now simulate the same experience through virtual reality video games and nature documentaries, right? As it turns out, experiences in nature are priceless and difficult to duplicate.

A lesson learned outdoors will leave you wanting more!
Research indicates that people who learn in any type of outdoor environment are more likely to participate in follow-up physical activity, thereby improving their overall physical and mental health. Adults and children alike discover their true physical ability when introduced to the outdoors through educational activities, and are more likely to explore that personal potential through other forms of outdoor recreation afterward. An increased level of physical activity can ultimately reduce risks for health complications like obesity and diabetes.

Interacting with nature on a regular basis is also proven to increase self-esteem and happiness, leading to more positive and balanced mental health for both adults and children. Also, symptoms of ADD and ADHD can be managed and lessened through outdoor learning and exploration when compared to traditional learning environments.

Fresh air inspires fresh perspectives.
In addition to the promise of improved health, there are several social benefits to outdoor learning. Learning outdoors, no matter the subject or topic, provides a change of pace from traditional classrooms and other indoor study spaces. This can bring about a renewed sense of enthusiasm that many students may lose when the routines of indoor learning grow old. Greater passion for learning can improve information retention and allow students to invest more deeply in the lessons and skills being taught.

Outdoor classrooms are often spaces where hands-on instruction occurs, and that method appeals to a wider variety of learners than traditional methods like lecturing and reading do. This aspect allows learners to utilize different strengths and collaborate with each other in new ways. Learning and interacting with other people outdoors builds community in a way that sitting indoors at desks in neat rows simply cannot do.

Ready to learn more in the great outdoors?
If our quick recap of the benefits of spending more time outdoors has left you wanting more, we invite you to check out our wilderness survival course offerings here! Still curious about how great for you and yours the great outdoors can be? Read more by following the links below.

The Outdoor Classroom Project

Children & Nature Network

Edutopia: 5 Benefits of Outdoor Education

NC State University’s Natural Learning Initiative: Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature

University of Wisconsin – Steven’s Point: Outdoor Education Research Summary

Learning Liftoff: The Surprising Benefits of Outdoor Learning