As a part of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Network, the Arkansas Environmental Education Association (AEEA) has relaunched an awareness and pledge campaign called Outside for 5 encouraging teachers, administrators, non-formal educators, youth development leaders, and parents in Arkansas to engage students and children in outdoor learning for at least five minutes a day, five days a week, or any meaningful amount of time.

To support Outside for 5 in Arkansas, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders proclaimed April 22-28, 2024 as Outside for 5 Week in Arkansas.

The Outside for 5 campaign was first developed in 2022 in response to the pandemic-related decline in youth mental health and the associated impact on classroom educators who have faced increased levels of burnout. This campaign is focused on engaging communities in outdoor learning as a way to provide an enriching and healthy learning environment.

“Learning in, and about, nature is critical at this time and for growing a healthy human who can thrive emotionally, cognitively, and physically,” said Monica Woods, Member of the AEEA Board of Directors. “By incorporating outdoor learning into school curriculum, educators can provide an outlet for students to release complex emotions and stress.”

There is a large and compelling body of evidence-based research that demonstrates the benefits of outdoor learning for mental health and well-being, stress and anxiety reduction, physical health, student engagement, and academic success. Outdoor educational experiences also offer schools an opportunity to ignite learning, which addresses both social and emotional well-being as well as learning loss.

“Our goal with this campaign is to inspire educators to think outside the box when it comes to enhancing the social-emotional wellness of their students, each other, and their entire school community,” said Sarah Bodor, NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations. “We want kids to get outside and experience the benefits of nature’s classroom.”

AEEA invites school administrators and educators of all grade levels to sign the Outside for 5 pledge online at and commit to spending at least 5 minutes a day outside with their students. Whether that means teaching a classroom lesson outside, studying the local ecosystem, or taking a short walk across the school campus, everyone can benefit from going Outside for 5.

Arkansas teachers can find community partners, field trip opportunities, and guest speakers who can support outdoor learning through the Arkansas EE Directory. To sign the pledge and learn more about the Outside for 5 campaign, visit

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