Nature is Not Only ‘Nice to Have’
“Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.” Richard Louv.
This month’s blog is a guest blog on the benefits of connecting with nature from the wonderful Jo Worthy-Jones from Haven 4 Wildlife.
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week (10-16th May) is reconnecting with nature. The lockdowns over the last year have highlighted how important being able to get outside is to people when other aspects of their lives have been limited.
But why? What is it about being outside in nature that we value so much? And what does ‘reconnecting’ even mean?
Sadly, I can’t give a definitive answer – I’m sure if we asked 100 people, we’d get 100 different answers! But many years of working with people of all ages and backgrounds outside, mainly taking part in gardening activities to improve outdoor spaces for wildlife, has proved to me that we underestimate the pull of, and the need for, natural spaces and the people who support and guide others to access them.
It’s easy to forget in our hurly burly lives, surrounded by technology which connects us and the world in ways unimaginable even 20 years ago, that we are very much part of the natural world here and now. There is nothing in our lives that we don’t need nature for. Don’t believe me? Think about it for a moment. Our phones, televisions, game boxes, cars, furniture, houses, etc, etc all come from the natural world. Anything ‘man made’ or synthetic has a natural origin.
We evolved to have 5 senses that, given the opportunity, tune us into nature without us even thinking about it. We often describe it nowadays as ‘mindfulness’ – the experience of being ‘in the moment’ and allowing ourselves to tune into what’s happening at that particular time.
Listening to bird song, watching bees foraging for pollen and nectar, and noticing the changes of the leaves on a tree over the seasons, are just a few examples. Maybe that’s what we mean by reconnecting – allowing our innate link to the natural world to be expressed rather than see it as something separate from us.
Places like the Rest Garden on the Tewkesbury Road and groups like Friends of Elmfield Park, with the support of community- led organisations like St Peter and the Moors Big Local, are there to give local people the opportunity to enjoy being outside while making the environment better for people and wildlife. The social and feel good aspect of being welcomed and part of a green space, even if it’s just to sit and have a chat, should be celebrated and encouraged.
I hope I’ll see you at the Rest Garden soon.
Haven 4 Wildlife
Mondays at the Rest Garden
The Tewkesbury Road Rest Garden is now open on Mondays! It’s open to all from 9.30am-1.30pm and from 2pm-4.30pm for families.
Come along and join the fabulous Jo, help look after this lovely little retreat, and learn about the wildlife that lives there.
Whether you’d like to grow your own food, pop in for a chat, or just relax and enjoy the benefits of being in nature, you’re so welcome!
If you have any questions, or you’d like more information, contact Jo on 07949064345.