Summer At Our Nature Reserves: Nurturing Wellbeing Through Nature

Being in nature and connecting with the natural world around us is good for our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Connecting with nature can help to improve our happiness and vitality, decrease anxiety levels, and gives our lives meaning and purpose. People who connect with nature are also more likely to give something back through positive behaviour towards nature and the environment. Medical practitioners are now recognising these benefits and prescribing nature connectivity as an alternative to medication.

It is a win-win situation, yet in a study this year by Ambio the UK came bottom of the list of European countries when it comes to how connected we are to other species and the wild world around us. So why is the UK lagging behind? Research suggests that there are many reasons. Some are socio-economic, some are down to land use and the exclusion of people from the land, and some are attributed to the distraction of technology. A crucial factor is the depletion of our biodiversity as with less variety of species around us comes fewer opportunities to connect with nature as a whole.

What has this got to do with an animal welfare charity like the League Against Cruel Sports? At the League’s reserves we are not only helping to reverse the trend in biodiversity loss, but we are also helping people reconnect with nature.

We arrange weekend visits to the reserves for League supporters and other groups so that we can show them the positive actions we are taking on the ground to help wildlife. Sometimes these actions involve giving nature a hand through planting trees, but at other times it means doing nothing and letting nature take back control. We are currently involved in a rewilding project with our neighbours at the Cove Down reserve in Devon where we are doing just that; taking our hands off the controls and monitoring what happens. We are already seeing an increase in biodiversity and as the project develops it will capture and store more carbon from the atmosphere which, as carbon dioxide is the biggest contributor to earth’s rising temperatures, this will go some small way to help combat climate change.

In the coming years, we hope to extend our sessions around the reserve to include more people. We want to help a greater number reignite a connection to nature that will benefit them both mentally and physically, as well as showing more people the importance of the work we are doing at our reserves - not just keeping deer and other wildlife safe from hunting, but also in aiding the wider environment.

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