Research Results: Positive Outcomes in Kingston

Published October 23rd, 2018

The results are in from the first year of the Benjamin Center’s independent study on our four-year Nature Connection & Experiential Education Project in the Kingston City Middle Schools.

The first year’s findings are extremely encouraging. Some highlights include:

  • 3x fewer disciplinary incidents issued on days when Wild Earth was in the schools.
  • Positive and statistically significant outcomes were found in the following social and emotional learning areas: positive peer interaction, confidence, perseverance, empathy, and comfort in nature.
  • All school stakeholders were very enthusiastic about the project; school administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and lunch monitors spoke very highly of it.
  • By all accounts, Wild Earth activities promoted teamwork, cooperation, and positive peer interactions.
  • “Wild Earth is more fun than video games because I can actually play with friends instead of talking over a headset.”
    Videogame-Oriented Kingston Student

In addition to identifying these positive trends in the study’s first year, the Benjamin Center observed that Wild Earth is becoming an institutionalized component of the Kingston City School District’s plans to support social and emotional wellness.

  • Both of the Kingston middle schools have included Wild Earth in their state-required School Comprehensive Education Plans.
  • Both schools have signed on to the second year of the Wild Earth Nature Connection & Experiential Education Project (serving 1,100 students across 120 days of programming).
  • School administrators have asked Wild Earth staff to meet with teachers to build links between Wild Earth activities and the school curriculum.
  • Both schools have turned to Wild Earth for help with challenging recess behaviors.

“Wild Earth activities were structured, yet flexible, and provided additional support for students and also a focus.”
Kingston School Administrator

Reading over the results of the study, it’s clear that students are developing empowering and supportive relationships with Wild Earth instructors. We are so proud of the work our team is doing in the public schools.

Special thanks to all of our grantors and donors — your generosity is making this project and study possible.

In the current school year, Wild Earth is planning to pilot similar programs in the Rondout Valley Central School District and the Ellenville Central School Districts. All Kids Outside!!!

Together, we are cultivating character, confidence, passion and perseverance for today’s youth.

We are so grateful,
– David & All of us at Wild Earth

PS: Download the Executive Summary [PDF] and the Full Report [PDF] to read the full results from the Benjamin Center.

Photos © Maggie Heinzel-Neel


David BrownsteinDavid BrownsteinDavid Brownstein, Executive Director

In 2004, David co-founded and, today, is the Executive Director of Wild Earth, where he seeks to help regenerate healthy community culture and create opportunities for people to connect with themselves, each other and the Earth. Prior to founding Wild Earth, David worked as a wealth advisor on Wall Street for twelve years before realizing a life dream – fully sharing in the care and parenting of his three children, and creating a small family farm. Today, the Brownsteins raise dairy cows, goats, chickens, bees and vegetables in season. David also maintains an active counseling practice called Root Connections, where he focuses on helping individuals, couples, groups and business leaders identify and manifest their unique vision. More about David's work.

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