This paper draws on different bodies of knowledge in order to review the potential role of outdoor education in providing nature-based experiences that might contribute to sustainable living. A pragmatic perspective is adopted to critique what outdoor education is, and then what it might be. Phenomenology is used to challenge the belief that there is a causal relationship between activities and learning outcomes but foremost to consider what is it to be in nature in the first place. Aspects of both realism and social constructionism are presented as essential to environmental philosophy and the concomitant, but contested, relationship between people and planet. Through these multiple realities the moral significance of nature emerges not only as a theoretical consideration but as a practical one too. In this way I challenge dualisms that provide stumbling blocks to practice and celebrate instead pluralistic thinking where starting points are based on real-life work settings where theory and practice can emerge together through place-specific solutions.
- Outdoor education, nature-based experiences, phenomenology, experiential learning, experimental learning, sustainability education.