High school students today are experiencing unprecedented levels of school-related stress. At the same time, a growing body of research has linked views of nature with restoration from mental fatigue and stress reduction. How important are such views for students while they are at school? This study investigated 101 public high schools in southeastern Michigan to examine the role played by the availability of nearby nature in student academic achievement and behavior. The analyses revealed consistent and systematically positive relationships between nature exposure and student performance. Specifically, views with greater quantities of trees and shrubs from cafeteria as well as classroom windows are positively associated with standardized test scores, graduation rates, percentages of students planning to attend a four-year college, and fewer occurrences of criminal behavior. In addition, large expanses of landscape lacking natural features are negatively related to these same test scores and college plans. These featureless landscapes included large areas of campus lawns, athletic fields, and parking lots. All analyses accounted for student socio-economic status and racial/ethnic makeup, building age, and size of school enrollment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law