Nurtured by Nature
Most people sense that getting outside feels good and therefore must improve wellbeing. And evidence is mounting to confirm what we feel in our hearts - that getting out in nature is health-giving. Once such is the work done recently by the University of Derby to analyse 5 years worth of data from the ’30 Days Wild’ Campaign’.
The Wildlife Trust have been running their “30 Days Wild” Campaign since 2014, with annual sign ups around Easter each year. So far over 1 millions people across the UK have signed up and the campaign will open again April 2021.
Participants are asked to do something in the natural wild every day for a whole month. They are provided with ideas, free wall charts and activity sheets that give everyone easy ways of enjoying nature whatever their location. These ‘random acts of wildness’ range from walking barefoot on grass, to sitting beneath a tree or watching birds on a feeder.
After that time, around July, they are asked to re-rate their health, connection to nature, happiness and positive relationship to nature and then re-rate again 2 months later in September.
The University of Derby have recently published their findings having evaluated the survey responses from more than 1,000 people over the past five years. They report that taking part not only significantly increases people’s wellbeing and heightened sense of nature, but that these positive increases are sustained beyond the life of the challenge – for a minimum of two months after it is over. All positive increases were maintained both immediately after the challenge and also two months later.
As you might expect, the people who benefit most are those who have a relatively weak connection with nature at the start. Nature connectedness refers to a person’s relationship with nature and how emotionally close an individual feels to the natural world.
The findings show that 30 Days Wild:
By Jules Weldon
Jules offers Wellbeing Lifestyle Coaching at Orchard Barn.
- resulted in very significant increases in nature connectedness for those who began with a weak connection to nature – their nature connectedness rose by 56%
- boosted the health of participants by an average of 30%
- made people, particularly those who started with a relatively weak connection to nature, significantly happier
- inspired significant increases in pro-nature behaviour (behaviour that benefits wildlife such as planting pollinator-friendly plants).
Professor Miles Richardson, from the University of Derby, says: “This five-year evaluation of 30 Days Wild has produced remarkable results – it shows the positive power of simple engagement with nature. We were thrilled to see that the significant increases in people’s health and happiness were still felt even two months after the 30 Days Wild challenge was over.”
Until the next campaign starts, maybe experiment with this for yourself and see what impact it has on your life.