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Nature Connectedness with the University of Derby

Learn to establish a new relationship with nature to help improve your wellbeing and tackle larger issues such as climate change.

1,497 enrolled on this course

People walking in a park, with bright sunshine coming through the autumnal leaves of an overhanging tree.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Explore the relationship between nature connection and the climate crisis

Too often we see nature as something to use, control, or as a threat to us. The climate crisis and wildlife emergency show that the existing relationship between people and the rest of nature is breaking down. It has become too disconnected and narrow.

On this four-week course, you’ll discover how humans can develop a new relationship with nature to benefit both people and the environment.

Nature Connectedness is grounded in scientific study – it is both measurable and accepted internationally. This course will help you explore the concept of nature connectedness, its importance, and how it positively impacts the environment to help tackle climate change.

Improve your wellbeing as you connect with nature

In becoming more connected with nature we can tackle the crisis in our mental health and wellbeing.

The course will help you understand that we are part of nature, and our emotional connections and responses to nature have a direct link to our own feelings and mental health.

You’ll explore ways you can establish a meaningful relationship with the rest of nature and the best practices for engaging others to improve their own nature connectedness.

Learn from the experts at the University of Derby

Throughout the course, you’ll be guided by the specialists at the University of Derby’s Nature Connectedness Research Group, the first of its kind to focus on this area.

The group has worked with Natural England, National Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, and other national nature conservation NGOs to help improve people’s connection with nature to benefit wellbeing and conservation.

By the end of the course, you’ll understand how nature is part of the human story, and the more connected we become, the improvements it can have on our wellbeing and the wider environment.


  • Week 1

    What is nature connectedness

    • What is nature connectedness?

      We’ll start this week by explaining what nature connectedness actually is, the psychological perspective and our emotional connection with nature.

    • Our relationship with nature

      Let's explore our relationship with nature including the impact of technology and changes in culture.

    • Measuring nature connectedness

      How can we measure nature connectedness? We will now share the research perspective on this topic. You will also have the opportunity to consider the factors you think influence our nature connectedness.

  • Week 2

    Why nature connectedness matters: people

    • Nature connectedness and wellbeing

      How does nature affect our wellbeing? We will explore different types of wellbeing, how and why nature connectedness can improve your wellbeing and the benefits of noticing beauty in nature.

    • Nature connectedness and emotion

      Let’s consider how nature connectedness can regulate our emotions and support our wellbeing.

    • Concerns for the future

      Are you familiar with eco-anxiety? We will explore our feelings about climate change crises and how we cope with eco-anxiety.

  • Week 3

    Why nature connectedness matters: wider nature

    • Our impact on nature

      Let’s explore pro-environmental and pro-conversation behaviours. We will explain how nature connectedness is important in participating in these activities.

    • Understanding nature connectedness and pro-nature behaviour in the UK

      How can we learn about nature? We will discuss how we can learn about nature and how this knowledge can help us connect with nature to support our own emotional wellbeing.

    • Scaling up – Societal application

      How can your actions have a positive impact on yourself, your local area and the rest of the world?

  • Week 4

    Improving nature connectedness

    • Nature pathways

      Let’s explore the five pathways to nature connectedness. You will have the opportunity to share your nature story with each other and we will provide some example ideas for engaging with nature.

    • Noticing good things

      We will share with you research about and our tips for noticing good things in nature in urban environments. Nature connectedness can be experienced in any natural environment!

    • Mindfulness approaches to improving nature connectedness

      Let’s take a deeper look at noticing nature. We will introduce you to walking mindfulness and nature meditation.

    • Noticing how nature makes you feel

      How does noticing nature link to improving your emotional wellbeing? We will provide you with the opportunity to create a green prescription.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what nature connectedness is.
  • Discuss the impact of nature connectedness on people and the environment.
  • Engage with others to improve nature connectedness in a wider context.
  • Improve your own connection with nature.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in nature.

It may be of particular interest if you feel you don’t have a connection with nature, or you’d like to share your connection with nature with others.

Who will you learn with?

- Director of the Nature—Meaning in Life Research Lab & Assistant Professor of Psychology, Concordia University of Edmonton
- academic lead for Living Environment Section of Global Wellbeing Initiative

Ryan (he/him) is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and researcher on Nature Connectedness, specifically why it is good for us and the rest of nature and how we reconnect with our wider natural family.

Professor of Human Factors & Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby. Research into understanding and improving the human-nature relationship for human and nature's wellbeing.

Who developed the course?

University of Derby

The University of Derby is a modern university with a modern outlook. Everything we do is driven by delivering excellence and opportunities for our students, our staff and our region.

Located in the heart of England, we empower people across the globe to achieve their potential and make a positive contribution to society.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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