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Reshaping the outdoors through education: exploring the potentials and challenges of ecological restoration education

Journal article
Authors Andreas Skriver Hansen
Mattias Sandberg
Published in Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 57–71
ISSN 2206-3110
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Pages 57–71
Language en
Keywords Outdoor education. Restoration. Children. School. Leisure fishing. Outdoor NGO. Landscape
Subject categories Human Geography, Pedagogy, Pedagogical Work


This paper explores and critically discusses a new concept with relevance to outdoor and environmental education: Ecological Restoration Education (ERE). The background of ERE is a recently launched project by the Swedish Anglers Association (SAA) called ‘Skolbäcken’ with an aim to teach children about fish and fish habitats, and how to protect and conserve both, through practical restoration activities. The project is a reaction to an awakening concern about children’s reduced contact with and understanding of nature, both in the Scandinavian countries and elsewhere in the world. With a point of departure in this concern and project Skolbäcken, the paper explores the idea and practice of ERE, drawing from its conceptual roots; ‘ecological restoration’ and ‘outdoor education’. Results show a concept that is both timely and relevant, as it not only emphasizes the critique of the children-nature disconnect, but also con-tributes with strategies to meet the critique with solutions that are appreciated both by the children and by their teachers. However, there are also important challenges, including concerns about normative education and the ‘projectification’ of ERE and how these factors may influence the short or long term success and potential continuation of ERE as a learning strategy in schools. Future needs in terms of further grounding of ERE are also discussed.

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