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Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel

Part of Orion Magazine’s Nature Literacy Series, this book offers practical tips and activities for adults to help children build their relationship with nature.

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis by Bill Bigelow

This collection of readings, activities, and articles from Rethinking Schools magazine is meant to help guide discussions and activities related to environmental issues, specifically climate change.

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting Kids with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, & Evan McGown

Writer Richard Louv (look for his work further down this list) wrote the forward to this outdoor education and activity guide and says that, “This is good medicine for nature-deficit disorder. Coyote’s Guide should become an essential resource for anyone who wants to revive their sense of kinship with nature but needs some help.”

Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Bharat Cornell

This classic guide by one of the most respected names in outdoor education just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and an updated edition offers even more ways for children of all ages to connect with the outdoors.

A Pedagogy of Place: Outdoor Education for a Changing World by Brian Wattchow & Mike Brown)

This book looks at the historic theories and philosophies behind outdoor education and suggests culturally sensitive ways to improve upon past methods.

Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense, & Self-Confidence by John Graham

This text offers a practical guide to developing outdoor leadership skills. According to Paul Petzoldt, the founder of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), “It would be bad judgment to venture into the wild outdoors or even into your own career without reading and digesting this masterpiece.”

Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs: Scenarios of Accidents, Incidents, and Misadventures by Aram Attarian

Another practical handbook for outdoor leaders, this is a great tool to learn how to assess and manage risk in outdoor education activities and programs.

Leadership the Outward Bound Way: Becoming a Better Leader in the Workplace, in the Wilderness, and in Your Community by Outward Bound USA

Whether or not you’ve ever participated in an Outward Bound experience, this book is another great resource for leadership development.


While these are certainly applicable to any outdoor or environmental educator, these books tend to look a bit more broadly at the importance of connecting youth with the outdoors.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network, coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe the lack of connection between modern children and the natural world. Here, he explores just why that connection is so important. Once you’ve read Last Child, we’d also suggest you follow up with two of his other books: Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, and The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder.

How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson

While the title implies this book is meant strictly for parents, it’s actually applicable to any adult who aims to help children develop their own relationship with the outdoors.

Dirty Teaching by JULIET ROBERTSON

One of the keys to a happy and creative classroom is getting out of it and this book will give you the confidence to do just that. Drawing on academic research, Juliet explains why learning outdoors is so beneficial and provides plenty of tips and activities to help you to integrate outdoor learning into your teaching practice, providing a broad range of engaging outdoor experiences for your students.


The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

Part travelogue, part pop psychology, part personal reflection, this book examines the now well-documented benefits of spending time outdoors.

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Dr. Carolyn Finney examines history, culture, sociology, and environmental justice to offer a compelling exploration of racial dynamics in the outdoors.

The National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Guide: The Classic Handbook by Mark Harvey

“Classic handbook” is right – this volume covers a wide array of topics and skills important to anyone who spends time outdoors, especially while backpacking and/or in remote areas.

NOLS Wilderness Ethics: Valuing and Managing Wild Places by Jennifer Lamb

This book offers a great overview of land management along with associated ethics and best practices, while also digging into the back story of the wilderness movement.

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