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People and nature: learning through doing

This action research explored how to involve people from excluded and disadvantaged groups in enjoying, learning about and caring for nature.

‘Action research’ is often defined as research done of and by a particular group of people, rather than on and to them. Its aim is to increase understanding and achieve change.

The People and nature: learning through doing action research programme involved six community and voluntary sector groups. Each ran an action research project to explore what could help people from a range of backgrounds and situations to get closer to nature – and the benefits enjoyed when they did. The projects spanned a range of groups, from people with disabilities to people on low incomes, and local communities in general.

A common theme that emerged was the value that people placed on the connections they made – both to other people and to their local place – by getting involved with nature. All projects showed that enjoying, learning about and caring for nature can have a transformative role in improving well-being and building stronger communities.

Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Community Development Centre supported People and nature: learning through doing. The programme ran from autumn 2009 to spring 2011.

Summary and case studies

SNH published a summary of the overall learning outcomes from the programme, plus a case study on each action research project.

Download People and nature: learning through doing – Summary and learning outcomes

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Action research full reports

Each group published a full report on its action research, including recommendations for other organisations.

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Three of the groups also produced DVDs and one created a website. See Neilston Development Trust’s Cowden Hall Estate website.