Nature, health and wellbeing

Since its creation over 30 years ago, Venture Scotland’s programmes, in all their various guises, have always promoted the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature.

A positive, to come from a particularly challenging year, has been the connection that people have discovered with nature on their own doorsteps. Travel restrictions have forced people to seek out the peace and tranquility, that they may have previously felt in the mountains, far closer to home – within 5 miles to be exact.

The participants on our recent Glasgow Discover Programme have also been connecting with nature for its health and wellbeing benefits through a variety of ways during lockdown.  

One thing that has contributed towards this has been the group completing their John Muir Award. 

The John Muir Award is a UK wide environmental award scheme with four criteria, Discovering a wild place, Exploring it further, doing something to Conserve it and Sharing your experiences. 

The following is a selection of activities that the group completed for their Award:

Discover – they explored the nature on their respective doorsteps.

Their first task was to identify an area that would be the focus of their Award. It meant opening the front door and seeking out nature. Local parks and woodland such as Alexandra Park, Pollok and Queens Park were walked with new purpose and perspective, and previously 

unexplored back gardens and shared communal back gardens were properly discovered for the first time.

Once these areas had been discovered. The group proceeded to Explore these natural environments in more depth. This was done by discovering the areas natural habitat, the wildlife that lived close by, by walking new routes around local woodlands and parks, by discovering favorite spots with the most thought provoking and peaceful views, foraging for food and creating art out of natural materials.

If you begin to care for an environment close to home and begin to learn of the intricacies and fragilities of the natural inhabitants, the logical next step is to want to care for and take some personal responsibility for it and Conserve it.  

The group did this through adopting a minimum impact approach to their ‘wild places’. Making sure that their actions did not in any way negatively impact on the surroundings. 

Prior to the recent full lockdown the group all planted native trees and bulbs in Pollok Park to contribute to the thriving of its biodiversity. The group developed a particular affinity with Pollok Park due to its natural beauty and peace, so it was only right that they asked to focus a Conserve project in this area.

Lastly the group have Shared their experience through discussing what they have been experiencing with family and friends, returning to these places with others and sharing their photos and memories with others.

For further details of the John Muir Award, visit the John Muir Trust website.

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