Nature Connectedness Research Group

Nature Connectedness Research Group

Home of our nature connections research that aims to understand people’s connection to nature and create everyday interventions in order to improve connectedness; bringing about the associated benefits in well-being and conservation behaviour. We are proud to work with Natural England, national conservation NGOs, and have a growing number of PhD students.

We believe that further progress in this area requires expertise in nature to be combined with expertise in human behaviour. Therefore, it is a multidisciplinary research group that brings together expertise and enthusiasm from across the University.

Current Activity

30 Days Wild

Evaluating the impact of 30 Days Wild, the Wildlife Trust’s campaign to get people out into nature every day in June.

3 Good Things in Nature

This aims to evaluate the impact on well-being of noting three good things in nature each day for five days. It is hoped to show that noting three good things in nature everyday can help people find nature. An article related to this work is available on the National Trust’s Outdoor Nation blog. Work is under way to extend this research to children.

Richardson, M., Hallam, J. & Lumber, R. (2015) One thousand good things in nature: The aspects of nature that lead to increased nature connectedness. Environmental Values. 24 (5), 603-619.

Pathways to Nature Connection

Three year investigation into the factors involved in becoming connected to nature and how they can be incorporated into interventions to increase people's connection to nature using the local natural environment.

Other Projects

Were also working on projects with Natural England and conservation NGOs.

Completed Projects

Nature Connections 2015

An interdisciplinary conference on pathways to nature connection. See what you missed on storify.

Nature Connections Festival

"A brilliant, imaginative, innovative, and intelligent project" – Chris Packham.

A two-day spectacle aimed at increasing the relevance of nature to a wider audience, communicating the value of repairing and reconnecting our natural habits, and encouraging people to actively engage with nature.

Reflecting on our Nature

Research study that found that self-refection is a greater predictor of connection to nature than mindfulness.

Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (in press). Reflective self-attention: A more stable predictor of connection to nature than mindful attention. Ecopsychology.

Connecting to Everyday Nature through Mindful Writing

A paper exploring the rewards of nature that can be found in an everyday landscape was published in February 2013 in the Humanistic Psychologist and is available here. The paper informs current quantitative research, exploring practical ways to connect to nature.

Richardson, M., and Hallam, J. (2013). Exploring the Psychological Rewards of a Familiar Semi-Rural Landscape: Connecting to Local Nature through a Mindful Approach. The Humanistic Psychologist, 41(1), 35-53.

Finding Nature App

A spin-off from the 3 Good Things in Nature project, the Finding Nature mobile app is designed to help people connect with the natural world. The app encourages people to use their ever present phone to notice ever present nature as a sustainable everyday connection to nature starts in the local landscape. The app uses a simple yet proven test to measure how connected the user feels to the natural world and then prompts people to note three good things in nature each day, as simple sentences or a photo; be it the song of a robin or the first buds of spring. After five days the app measures the user's progress to see what improvement has been made.

OPAL (Open Air Laboratories Network) Conference

In February 2013, the University of Derby hosted the OPAL Conference showing how to get school children out of the classroom and learning in the wild.

Related Teaching

The work of the Nature Connectedness Research Group informs the Environment & Conservation pathway of the new MSc Behaviour Change.

Connect with the Coordinator

Follow Miles Richardson, Research Group Coordinator, on Twitter and take a look at his research blog.

Active members

Coordinator: Dr Miles Richardson

Dr Caroline Harvey

Chris O'Reilly

Prof. David Sheffield

Linda Birch

Professor Paul Elliott

Steve Lewis

Dr Andrew Ramsey

PhD Students

Alison Pritchard

Ryan Lumber

Shirley McCurry

Associate Members

Dr Mark Bulling

Dr Fiona Holland

Dr Simon Bignell

Joan Howarth

Karen Newberry

Dr Thomas Hunt

Archpriest Daniel Joseph

Prof Paul Lynch

Heather Venables

Bev Reardon