The Wildlife Trusts run a range of projects across the country designed to use nature to help improve physical and mental health and contribute to a sense of well-being.
Being disconnected from nature is characteristic of an unhealthy lifestyle. In an increasingly urban society, we are becoming more remote from the natural environment, and as a consequence, are suffering from increased mental illnesses and obesity problems.
The cost of physical inactivity to Wales is estimated at about £650 million per year and at least one in four people will develop a mental illness at some point in their lifetime.
Spending time in nature provides protection against diseases, such as diabetes, depression, obesity, heart disease and cancer. It can also help to alleviate the symptoms of asthma, headaches, ADHD and stress.
Research shows that people with easy access to nature are more able to cope with stressful life events and are generally less stressed individuals than those living in urban habitats lacking green spaces. Studies have also shown that time spent in forests, by rivers, in moorland, on mountains and on seashores improve our self-esteem and mood.
At the Wildlife Trusts, we encourage people to spend time in nature to become healthier the natural way. Here are some examples of the projects we run in Wales.
Wildlife Warriors is an evening youth club (for ages 10-18) run at Gwent Wildlife Trust's Magor Marsh nature reserve.
Volunteers do everything from shelter building to bird ringing , badger watching and bee keeping, woodland management and conservation farming, green woodcrafts and wildlife gardening, fire lighting and survival skills and lots of treasure hunts and outdoor games. There is something for everyone and the volunteers and experts that so generously share their knowledge with the children make every session enthralling and inspiring. If you are interested in joining please contact Kathy Barclay on 01633 889048 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nurtured by Nature is for anyone who would like to try something new in their lives. The project, which is run by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, enables folk to learn more about our environment, volunteer for wildlife as well as try some new skills and meet new people.
Drop In Sessions run on Wednesday mornings at Severn Farm Pond Nature Reserve, Welshpool, from 10am - 1pm. Get involved with managing the wildlife garden, a little reserve maintenance or help develop some new and exciting demonstration areas to inform and inspire visitors to the site. Learn a variety of new skills together based around the themes of sustainable living.
If you would like to get involved or would like more information about this project, then contact Mel Chandler, Community Partnerships Officer at the office or email email@example.com. All welcome - bring a drink / snack and dress for the weather.
Read our bilingual Prescribing Green Space fact sheet to find out more.