Imagine a world where people felt more connected-to themselves, to others and to their natural surroundings. Where we took the time to smell the flowers, listen to the dawn chorus, taste wild food, laugh and share time together.
Where we can talk about our hopes, fears and dreams for our futures, and supported each other in the individual way each of us might need.
For some of us, who have been lucky enough, Coronavirus and lockdown have given us a glimpse into what that world might look and feel like- we’ve taken our hours daily exercise exploring a natural space nearby, we’ve supported or been supported in our communities to make sure no one goes without and that we all get what we need- physically and emotionally. Those of us that have experienced this have found resoundingly positive results:
Sadly, for many people this has not been the case. Lockdown, itself, has been linked to an increase in the frequency and severity of mental health issues, particularly for those with no outdoor natural space nearby, or those unable to take the time due to their caring or work responsibilities
For some ‘getting into nature’ can be difficult for a variety of reasons- accessibility, fear, health issues, finances, not knowing what to do when they get there, transport, etc.
For those people, nature based programmes, held by experienced and knowledgeable facilitators, are shown through academic and scientific research, to have many benefits.
- An increased sense of emotional well-being
- improved physical health- reduced blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, promotes better sleep, and decreases production of stress hormones
- a deeper sense of connection to self, others and nature
- a decrease in the use of anti-depressants
- lower demand for mainstream health services through increased ability to self-manage emotional/physical health
- increased confidence and self esteem
- a different more positive outlook on life and the future
- increased social connections through groups and activities
There is also evidence to show that connection to nature increases the chances of us making more positive choices to protect our natural world. A win-win personally, socially and environmentally.
We will work with residents of Cornwall, particularly those living within the Falmouth, Helston, Camborne and Redruth areas.
We will offer either 1:1 or group sessions. We will choose activities that are appropriate to the needs of the groups or individuals taking part.
Our sessions will include nature connection practices such as nature-based mindfulness and sensory based activities and we will create a supportive environment for people to talk. They will also include a range of practical skills such as plant and wildlife identification, games and natural crafts, survival skills such as fire-making, foraging and plant medicine.
There will be different themes explored at each session but, we will have routines that become part of a participants regular practice, which form the core of each of them and these include solo time in nature, nature based groundings and time sharing in circle
We are also excited to be able to deliver a series of well-being workshops at some of Cornwall Wildlife Trust's reserves.
“Cornwall’s wild spaces and wildlife have provided peace, reassurance, and joy to many during the difficult months of lockdown, and never before has the link between nature and health and well-being been so evident. Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s reserves provide a haven for wildlife and a place of tranquility and beauty for visitors, and we’re delighted that Nature Connects will be using one of our reserves to run a series of well-being workshops to help people connect with nature and benefit their mental health.”
NATURE Connects wants to make sure that for everyone who wants it nature-based therapies are consistently available and accessible.
Donating to our Crowdfunder will allow us to offer some funded places on our programmes particularly for those most affected by Coronavirus and will also support some of our start up costs as a new business.
NATURE Connects is
Director Alice Wall
Alice, a forest school practitioner has set-up and run nature based sessions in Cornwall over the last 7 years including her long running and popular Nature’s Playgroup She has a passion for sharing skills and creatively engaging people with plants. Her enthusiasm for nature is contagious and you won’t fail to discover something new during a session with her.
‘Finding nature in my twenties helped me recover from loss and trauma and has become a love, passion and career.’
Director Sarah Witts
Sarah is experienced and knowledgeable in supporting individuals and groups with complex needs, throughout her professional career and in her personal time as a mentor, support worker, adviser, case worker, coach and ecotherapist.
She is currently studying a Foundation in Ecopsychology and Nature based practice and is a member of the Health and Nature Practitioners Network. She brings all her experience, knowledge and life-long passions together in her work with Nature Connects
‘My relationship to nature has brought me deep appreciation and joy throughout my life. I want to support others to find their own unique and healing relationship to and for the natural world’