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Responsible Futures Host Partnership Webinar: Nature connectedness and the student learning experience

June 7, 2023

Our 2022-23 Responsible Futures Host Partnership, the University of Derby and Derby Union of Students hosted a webinar on Nature Connectedness and the Student Learning Experience that took place on 26th April 2023.


The 1.5-hour session brought together staff and students from Responsible Futures partnerships to explore the role nature connectedness can play in tertiary education across all subjects. The webinar involved:


·        The importance of addressing society’s broken relationship with nature including the implications for personal wellbeing and positive environmental action

·        Discussing how nature connectedness can be drawn into formal, informal and subliminal curricula in educational institutions and how this can be deeply embedded into student learning

The first half of the session introduced the importance and benefits of nature connectedness but also the evidence to show how our relationship with nature is failing. This broken relationship is an underlying cause of climate change and biodiversity loss. We can intervene and harness the power that nature can provide, by protecting and nurturing it.

Our connection with nature is determined by our hobbies, interests, and our age. From the session, the chart below conveys how nature connectedness varies with age.

In the second half of the webinar, we started discussing the possible links between nature connectedness and the student learning experience. Student learning can be broken down into 3 areas: formal, informal and subliminal.

Participants discussed how nature connectedness can be embedded in the formal curriculum through dissertations and nature-related placements. In the informal curriculum, students can learn through nature connection workshops and guided walks. The subliminal curriculum is affected by the prominence of nature within the study and work environments of all universities.

The University of Derby and Derby Union of Students implemented their ‘Go Green Week’ for all their students and staff. The week involved events, activities and with the aim to raise awareness on the importance of environmental sustainability and strengthen nature connectedness.


The session concluded by summarising potential outcomes from embedding nature connectedness into student learning experiences to a greater extent, including improved wellbeing, ability to adopt more nature friendly behaviour and increased knowledge on nature connectedness and its importance for people and planet.


Thank you to the University of Derby and Derby Union of Students for all your work facilitating meaningful and action-oriented discussion on nature connectedness.

Check out this book called ‘Reconnection’ by Miles Richardson from the University of Derby, which is all about fixing our broken relationship with nature.

Responsible Futures is a supported change programme delivered by SOS-UK, partnering universities and colleges with students to embed sustainability in all student learning. For more information check out our webpage.