Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Teaching & Educational Leadership


College of Education and Health

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. Pam Dixon

Third Committee Member

Dr. Sheila Jacobs

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of practicing nature-based educators and to find how classroom educators can become skilled in providing students with opportunities to learn in nature. In the study, there were 13 participants who represented a variety of individuals, with impressive educational credentials, who are currently employed or volunteering with a nature-based education organization. The data were collected through an intensive literature review, participant interviews, and field observations within two nature-based education organizations. The major findings include the overall difference between nature-based education and the typical classroom setting, as well as the current trends that are noticeably hindering the progression of nature-based education in Arkansas. Themes that presented concerns for the progression of implementing nature-based education within the daily structure of the school setting include: the challenges presented in nature-based education, the lack of training and professional development opportunities, and the current level of administrative support.