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New experiment tests link between nature and wellbeing - UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

A citizen science project is investigating the relationship between nature and people’s wellbeing.

‘Nature up close and personal: A wellbeing experiment’ is a collaboration between the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), the University of Derby and the British Science Association (BSA).

Thousands of volunteers from across the UK are needed to take part in simple, 10-minute, nature-based activities for five days across one week, before 25 August 2020. Participants will then be asked to feedback on their experience using an online form.

The scientists involved in the project say it is the first time that researchers have combined citizen science and nature-connectedness to look at the impact on wellbeing.

The £58,000 study has been funded by a COVID-19 urgency grant from the Natural Environment Research Council. Over the past few months, the role of nature and the great outdoors has been vital for many people – helping to improve our mental health and wellbeing, and boosting the nation’s morale.

Dr Michael Pocock, an Ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who is leading the project, hopes it will provide new evidence of the benefits of citizen science.

He says: “Although there is already lots of evidence of the positive impact the natural environment has on our wellbeing, many of the studies have been on exposure or time spent in natural spaces, rather than how engaged with nature people are. We hope that through this new project, we will discover the impact of different types of nature-based activity on our wellbeing and connectedness with nature."

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