Improving your health by engaging with nature
Author: Catherine Pinney
As the third in a series of three linked events, Nature and Wellbeing remained at the forefront of everyone’s mind at our recent Tevi Event, which saw speakers from both local and national Wildlife Trusts along with a Cornish business specialising in wellness retreats and using nature for recovery.
The session was kicked off by Carolyn Cadman, Chief Executive of Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT), who introduced us to the work of CWT and how they help engage people with nature. Focusing on the inspiration that people have taken from their engagement with nature during lockdown, Carolyn explained more about how people can link with the Trust to embrace the health benefits of Cornwall’s wild places. As a county, people are living longer, but with more illnesses, so understanding how nature can aid in health recovery and resilience will is critical.
The timing of the event was opportune, leading on from the announcement made that day by George Eustice MP. During his reading of the new Environment Bill, it was announced that a £4m pilot project will be launched in the autumn into green prescribing at 4 key locations around the UK, focusing on those hardest hit by Coronavirus.
This highlights just how important it is to have local projects, such as the amazing Your Shore Beach Rangers project, run by Jenn Sandiford at Cornwall Wildlife Trust. During the Tevi event, Jenn explained how the project, which has now been running for 6 years, supports young local people to gain confidence through engaging with nature. The examples Jenn gave, demonstrated how nature has helped to improve their wellbeing and reduce anxiety levels, with a huge number of children and young people being involved across the scheme.
Dom Higgins, Nature and Wellbeing Manager for the Wildlife Trusts, shared his insights from a national perspective. Dom takes the lead on initiatives and research at the central charity of the network of Wildlife Trusts, so his presentation was particularly enlightening, especially focusing on the science and latest thinking on the ‘natural health service’. Dom discussed a paradigm shift from the understanding that standard prescribing may change its focus to “what matters to you?” rather than “what’s the matter with you?”, emphasising peoples engagement with nature and health. It in currently estimated that by following this model there will be 2.5M people going through social/nature prescribing by 2023.
Our local Cornish nature is the backdrop to which Merlin Henbury-Tennison has set up his business, Cabilla Cornwall Retreat, to use the surrounding of nature and ancient woodland to improve health and reduce stress levels. Merlin shared his very personal experience of such a journey, along with his motivations and aspirations for diversifying his land on Bodmin Moor. His vision is to support and enable others to join him in the wild space he has created to benefit their health as well.
As always, our thanks go to our speakers for their time supporting this event, and to the audience for their enthusiasm engaging with the speakers through questions and feedback.
You can watch the full webinar here: