Nature Connection has kept me really busy over recent months, the growing interest is great, but I’m understanding the restorative effects of nature more and more! So far in 2016 i’ve written, and had accepted, five research papers and the Nature Connections 2016 conference took place last month – see the story here. Next up is one project that’s going to keep me (and several others) busy for the next 3 years. IWUN: Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature has been awarded £1.3 million from the Natural Environment Research Council – part of the human health and wellbeing goal of the Valuing Nature programme. Although we know that spending time in with nature is good for people, the project will investigate the dose and which particular features of green space boost people’s health and personal enjoyment.
Our team, based at the University of Derby, is leading one of the 4 work packages needed to investigate these issues. We’ll be developing a smartphone app to record how people interact with their local green spaces, prompting them to notice the good things in nature – as noticing the good things in nature helps people get connect with nature. And better connection increases the use of green spaces and makes people feel better. A two-year Research Assistant post is available.
We’ll be working closely with The Wildlife Trusts to get people involved and to share the benefits. As the project gets underway we’ll be working with others to share the story of the ongoing research and the findings, so that the benefits of urban nature become well known.