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Young people and the outdoors

Enabling young people to engage with nature supports their development and can nurture in them a lifelong love of nature.

Participating in outdoor recreation is important as it can:

  • help young people to develop new skills and confidence
  • help young people to improve their physical and mental well-being
  • improve the life chances of young people who are socially excluded

Engaging people in social and physical activity in the outdoors while they’re young may also generate a lasting interest or commitment into adult life.

Our research

We did some research in 2011 to better understand how to increase young people’s awareness of and participation in the outdoors.

We wanted to explore young people’s views and attitudes towards enjoying the outdoors and get an idea of the types of outdoor activities they like doing. Our research involved a representative sample of young people in Scotland aged 11 to 17.

The research found that today’s teenagers have a very healthy appetite for the outdoors. They enjoy taking part in a variety of activities and are keen to try new ones. To find out more, read our research report below.

Enjoying the outdoors – attitudes and behaviour of young people in Scotland: SNH Commissioned Report No. 470

Learning through doing

In 2015/16, we funded 84 projects that together engaged almost 100,000 young people in outdoor recreation, learning, volunteering and citizen science activities. Many participants were from disadvantaged backgrounds or had other protected characteristics.

Work with Young Scot

We work closely with Young Scot and together set up ReRoute, Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel. ReRoute conducted its own survey of young people in 2015, to gather opinions and learn about their understanding of and relationship with nature.

Find out more

SNH and the Year of Young People 2018

View the Young People and Nature: Insight Briefing on the Young Scot website.