Rachel Manning
PhD Research Student


Coming from a background in education, my research interests have developed to move towards a focus on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). I am interested in how education, both formal and informal can help develop sustainable competencies in people. I am also interested in ways we can reconnect people to our natural surroundings and the benefits that arise from this, in turn linking this into developing effective education for positive social change.

I graduated from Plymouth University with a BA in Education Studies with Outdoor Education. Having discovered my interested in ESD I went on to complete an MSc in Learning for Sustainability. In my research I worked closely with The Centre for Sustainable Futures to assess the effectiveness of their informal learning programmes in developing key competences of ESD in students. 

Following on from my MSc I worked again with The Centre for Sustainable Futures on an ongoing research project ‘What happens to the sustainably educated’. The research aims to gain a deeper understanding of the sustainability education work at Plymouth University, beyond the traditional student experience and develop a longer term understanding of ESD teaching and learning approaches.

I am currently undertaking a PhD at Exeter University, exploring the role and potential of environmental and experiential education in enhancing well being. I am particularly interested in the role ‘field experiences’ and outdoor learning play in developing well being and developing effective pedagogical approaches for enhancing well being through environmental education. As well I am also interested in exploring effects of increased well being in increasing sustainable behaviours among society.

Broad research specialisms:

Education for Sustainable Development, Outdoor Learning, Environmental Education, Experiential Education, Systems Thinking, Nature Connection, Sustainability in Higher Education, Informal and Formal Learning


BA Education Studies
MSc Learning for Sustainability

Contact details

AddressAmory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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