Research Summary

Dr Miles Richardson @findingnature, researching our connection with nature and ways to improve it.

Nature Connectedness Research Group

In May 2013 I formed the Nature Connectedness Research Group which aims to understand people’s connection to nature and create everyday interventions in order to improve connectedness; bringing about the associated benefits in well-being and conservation behaviour. We are proud to work with Natural England and national conservation NGOs. See below for details of projects and publications.

Press Coverage

Projects below have led to national radio and press coverage, for example in The Times, Guardian and TES.

Projects

Coming Soon…

News of a recently accepted paper on our 3 Good Things in Nature project, and currently working on Pathways to Nature Connection and Thresholds of Nature Connection papers.

3 Circles – How Nature Regulates Emotions for Well-being

Our latest paper, just published open access in Evolutionary Psychological Science, presents a model and supporting evidence to show that nature regulates emotions and the heart. Bringing balance to our feelings and the nervous system that controls the function of our body, and organs such as the heart. The balance of emotions brings wellbeing and regulation of heart rhythms helps heart health. This is the story of how nature helps keep us well – see the related blog post.

Richardson, M., McEwan, K., Maratos, F. and Sheffield, D. (2016). Joy and Calm: How an Evolutionary Functional Model of Affect Regulation Informs Positive Emotions in Nature. Evolutionary Psychological Science. doi:10.1007/s40806-016-0065-5

30 Days Wild

Currently involved in evaluating the impact of 30 Days Wild 2016, the Wildlife Trust’s campaign to get people out into nature every day in June. Last year’s evaluation was published in February 2016, finding that those taking part were found to have sustained increases in happiness, health, connection to nature and pro-nature behaviours. Also see my blog and guest blog from 2015.

Richardson, M., Cormack, A., McRobert, L. & Underhill, R. (2016). 30 Days Wild: Development and Evaluation of a Large-Scale Nature Engagement Campaign to Improve Well-Being. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0149777. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149777

Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature

Leading one of four work packages in this £1 million project funded as part of the Human Health & Wellbeing Goal of the Valuing Nature Programme.

Nature Connections Indicator

Part of the the Nature Connection Indicator Working Group developing a national indicator for connection to nature- with Natural England, RSPB, National Trust, Historic England and The Wildlife Trusts.

Nature Connections Research Network

Inaugural meeting 2016, researchers coming together to define and explore our connection with nature – more details coming soon…

3 Good Things in Nature

This aims to evaluate the impact on well-being of noting three good things in nature each day for 5 days. It is hoped to show that noting three good things in nature everyday can help people find nature. An article related to this work is available on the National Trust’s Outdoor Nation blog. Work is under way to extend this research with children.

Richardson, M., Hallam, J. & Lumber, R. (2015). One thousand good things in nature: The aspects of nature that lead to increased nature connectedness. Environmental Values. 24 (5), 603-619.

Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Three good things in nature: Noticing nearby nature brings sustained increases in connection with nature. Psyecology.

 

Completed Projects

Nature Connections 2016

Nature Connections 2016 – the second interdisciplinary conference, ‘Getting Connected to Nature’. Read Tony Juniper’s opening speech and see what you missed on storify. Conference report to come Autumn 2016.

Nature of Smartphone Users

A study looking a smartphone use and connection with nature, more details in my blog, see GuardianWildlife Trusts and National Trust also.

The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature

A Report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, more details in this blog post.

Richardson, M., Sheffield, D., Harvey, C. & Petronzi (2016). A Report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB): The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature. Derby: College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby.

Nature: A New Paradigm for Wellbeing – Review Paper

More details here.

Richardson, M., Maspero, M., Golightly, D., Sheffield, D., Staples, V. & Lumber, R. (2016). Nature: A new paradigm for wellbeing and ergonomics. Ergonomics.

Pathways to Nature Connection

Three year investigation by Ryan Lumber into the factors involved in becoming connected to nature and how they can be incorporated into interventions to increase people’s connection to nature using the local natural environment. See the Project Wild Thing blog on the childhood experiences that make nature connected adults.

Nature Connections 2015

Nature Connections 2015 – an interdisciplinary conference on pathways to nature connection, see what you missed on storify.

Nature Connections Festival 2015 & 2016

A two day spectacle aimed at increasing the relevance of nature to a wider audience, communicating the value of repairing and reconnecting our natural habits and encouraging people to actively engage with nature.

“A brilliant, imaginative, innovative and intelligent project” – Chris Packham.

Reflecting on our Nature

Research study which found that self-refection is a greater predictor of connection to nature than mindfulness.

Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2015). Reflective self-attention: A more stable predictor of connection to nature than mindful attention. Ecopsychology, 7 (30), 166-175.

Connecting to Everyday Nature through Mindful Writing

A paper exploring the rewards of nature that can be found in an everyday landscape was published Februrary 2013 in the Humanistic Psychologist and is available online. The paper informs current quantitative research exploring practical ways to connect to nature.

Richardson, M., & Hallam, J. (2013). Exploring the Psychological Rewards of a Familiar Semi-Rural Landscape: Connecting to Local Nature through a Mindful Approach. The Humanistic Psychologist, 41(1), 35-53.

Publications

Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Three good things in nature: Noticing nearby nature brings sustained increases in connection with nature. Psyecology.

Richardson, M., McEwan, K., Maratos, F. and Sheffield, D. (2016). Joy and Calm: How an Evolutionary Functional Model of Affect Regulation Informs Positive Emotions in Nature. Evolutionary Psychological Science. doi:10.1007/s40806-016-0065-5

Richardson, M., Maspero, M., Golightly, D., Sheffield, D., Staples, V. & Lumber, R. (2016). Nature: A new paradigm for wellbeing and ergonomics. Ergonomics.

Richardson, M., Cormack, A., McRobert, L. & Underhill, R. (2016). 30 Days Wild: Development and Evaluation of a Large-Scale Nature Engagement Campaign to Improve Well-Being. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0149777. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149777

Richardson, M., Sheffield, D., Harvey, C. & Petronzi (2016). A Report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB): The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature. Derby: College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby.

Richardson, M., Hallam, J. & Lumber, R. (2015). One thousand good things in nature: The aspects of nature that lead to increased nature connectedness. Environmental Values, 24 (5), 603-619.

Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2015). Reflective self-attention: A more stable predictor of connection to nature than mindful attention. Ecopsychology, 7 (30), 166-175.

Richardson, M., & Hallam, J. (2013). Exploring the Psychological Rewards of a Familiar Semi-Rural Landscape: Connecting to Local Nature through a Mindful Approach. The Humanistic Psychologist, 41(1), 35-53.

 

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