Short course

Nature Connectedness: For a new relationship with nature

Online course details



Next course date

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20 hours

CPD hours

20 CPD hours


Self-guided online learning



Online course description

In the UK, the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan aims to improve the natural environment within a generation and to reconnect people with nature. To achieve that, people everywhere need to feel that nature matters to them.

The University of Derby is leading the development of ground-breaking evidence that explains what nature connectedness is, how it can be measured, its benefits for human and environmental wellbeing - and, importantly, how it can be improved. This course covers that work.

This free online course provides an opportunity for you to learn about Nature Connectedness and the value of having a strong relationship with nature. Made up of eight short units, the course encourages you to actively consider our relationships with nature, for our own well-being as well as for the longer-term benefit of nature and the natural world.

During the course, you will look at why nature connectedness matters and how it can be improved. You’ll learn about our Pathways to Nature Connectedness Framework and will look at how you can use this framework to positively impact our connections with nature, pro-nature and environmental behaviours and our overall well-being.

The course content is informed by nationally recognised research and written by Professor Miles Richardson, a Professor of Nature Connectedness, together with colleagues from the Nature Connectedness Research Group.

The course is open to anyone and will be of particular interest to those who feel passionate about nature and pro-nature behaviours, our relationship with the natural world and its influences on our well-being.

Endorsed by Natural England

We are proud that this course is endorsed by Natural England.

From a leading authority

Our research into nature connectedness has been named by Universities UK as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its impact.

People walking under an autumnal tree
A person dipping their hand into a stream
A snowdrop surrounded by leaves

"I liked how there were activities that really related to the content, they helped me stay engaged and were very thought provoking. Yes, i do think this course will positively impact my work practice, previous to this course i had very little knowledge about the concept of nature connectedness and after studying this course i can make positive changes."

Nature Connectedness, Online Learner

Structure, certificates and assessment

An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

Accredited CPD Centre Logo - The CPD Standards Office, CPD Provider 60069, 2024-2025

Course units

The first unit looks at what Nature Connectedness is and how it differs from simple contact with nature. It explores differences in nature connectedness and examines how environmental issues and culture demonstrate our failing relationship with nature.

The second unit explores the difference between hedonic and eudaemonic wellbeing and the effect Nature Connectedness has on both broad types of wellbeing. It also explores what the evidence base is for the role of Nature Connectedness for human wellbeing and mental health and how it can mitigate eco-anxiety.

The third unit considers the evidence for the positive effect of nature connectedness on pro-environmental and pro-conservation behaviours. It also looks at understanding which activities along with nature connectedness are important for pro-nature behaviours and how they can be tracked at a population level.

The fourth unit looks at understanding the evidence for noticing-based interventions to improve nature connectedness and experiencing two noticing-based nature connectedness interventions and to reflect on your experience.

The fifth unit looks at understanding the pathways to nature connectedness – types of relationships with nature to foster for a sustainable future.

The sixth unit considers how the pathways framework can be effectively applied in different contexts to improve nature connectedness.

The seventh unit is about understanding how to evaluate nature connectedness interventions, covering factors such as various measures and timelines for collecting and measuring responses.

The eighth unit introduces a systems perspective on the pathways and nature connectedness to consider change at a societal level.

Learning outcomes

Course requirements

How to enrol

All of our free courses are delivered through an easy-to-use online learning platform, which you can enrol from directly.

What you will need

The course is free and widely available for anyone to take part in regardless of age, location or education status. You will need to agree to the terms and conditions before you start the course which will be available when you enrol.

However, there are some basic requirements. You will need access to the internet whether it is on your PC, tablet, mobile or other electronic devices, as well as a valid email address to register with our online learning environment in order to take part in the course.

Once registered, please be aware that all study for this course is online and so you will need to be able to engage with this via a personal device, preferably a computer or laptop, for the stated duration of the course.

The learning platform is compatible with screen reader technology to assist those with visual impairments.

Course creators

Professor Miles Richardson

Course author

Professor Miles Richardson wearing goggles

Miles is Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness and founded the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby. The group has pioneered the first interventions to bring about sustained increases in nature connectedness, bringing about improved wellbeing and pro-nature behaviours. In 2018 its work was named by Universities UK as one of the UK’s 100 best research breakthroughs for impact.

Since launch in 2013, Miles has worked with several conservation NGOs, including the National Trust, RSPB and on 30 Days Wild with The Wildlife Trusts. Miles also works closely with Natural England, for example, on the development of the Nature Connection Index (NCI) which informs the new People and Nature Survey, as does the Pro-nature Conservation Behaviour Scale recently developed at Derby. Miles launched the Nature Connections conference series in 2015 and the Tune into Nature Music Prize in 2020.

Recent research projects include the £1.3m Improving Wellbeing through Urban Wellbeing project. Based on Miles’ ‘noticing the good things in nature’ intervention, the research developed a smartphone intervention that delivered clinically significant improvements in mental health.

Dr Ryan Lumber

Course researcher

Dr Ryan Lumber

After graduating from the University of Derby with a BSc in Psychology and with an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health from Nottingham Trent University, Ryan was awarded a full scholarship for a PhD at Derby in 2013. The PhD investigated the Pathways to Nature Connectedness that were placed in the MadeAtUni campaign’s top 100 innovations from UK institutions to have improved people’s lives, being used by the National Trust and many others in the UK and internationally.

After completing the PhD, Ryan worked as a Lecturer in Psychology at De Montfort University before returning to the University of Derby in 2019.

During his time researching Nature Connectedness, Ryan has conducted a number of external projects including:

Dr Holli-Anne Passmore

Course researcher

It is important to acknowledge the collaborative efforts on creation of the MOOC and the research into Nature Connectedness with researcher, Dr Holli-Anne Passmore, who has since relocated back to Canada to continue her work with the psychology department of the Concordia University of Edmonton.

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