Research from the University of Derby has devised five ‘pathways’ which the National Trust is using to help people form a stronger connection with nature.
The pathways are based on the findings of academics at the University’s Nature Connectedness Research Group. The new guide, entitled ‘Nature & Me’, explains the research and how the pathways framework has been used to design activities at National Trust locations to enhance people’s engagement with nature.
Professor Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University, said: “Our relationship with nature is critical at a time when we are trying to address climate change and the loss of wildlife, because a greater connection with nature inspires people to be more protective of it. The connection we form with nature does not depend on how much time we spend in the countryside. It is about a close attachment to nature, which benefits our mental wellbeing too.”
The pathways are:
Professor Richardson explained: “Our findings from large scale surveys of thousands of people show that a strong connection with nature is key for our sense of wellbeing. Our research projects have also shown that it is also possible to strengthen that connection, and improve mental wellbeing, in urban areas through simple activities such as watching clouds or hearing birdsong. While many of us may lose that connection during our lifetimes, such as during our teenage years, or see our time in nature as a purely functional activity, the research has also established that when people are encouraged to notice nature, they respond positively.”