New nature experiment testing the link between nature connectedness and wellbeing calls for volunteers to participate in activities

A new research project investigating the relationship between nature connectedness and wellbeing is looking for thousands of volunteers from across the UK to participate in nature-based activities for an eight-day period.

Launched by the British Science Association alongside the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and the University of Derby, the project is asking the public to get up close and personal with nature to determine what effect engaging with and being aware of nature has on their wellbeing. 

Thousands of volunteers from across the UK are needed to take part in simple, 10-minute, nature-based activities five times a week over an eight-day period. Participants will need to take part in a short survey on registration, one a week after completing their allocated nature or citizen science activities, and a follow-up survey about two months later.

The project, known as Nature Up Close and Personal, will run for a duration of six weeks from 14 July 2020 until 25 August 2020. Participants can sign up at any point over the six-week period, then participate in their nature-based activities across a week. The participants will be divided into five groups, each doing a different nature-based activity – from noticing to recording nature.  

A private garden or access to masses of open space is not required – a local park, patch of weedy ground, or even a balcony is all that is needed. And with activities taking between 10-15 minutes a day, the project team hope that even the busiest of people will be able to easily join in.  

Professor Miles Richardson, who leads the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby, said: “We know that getting up close and personal with nature is good for wellbeing, but nature-based citizen science has a different focus to the noticing nature activities we’ve tested successfully before. Rather than simply enjoying the sounds, sights and beauty of nature, citizen science requires people to identify wildlife and directs people to engage with nature in a methodical way.”  

“In this project, we will test whether the benefits of citizen science are unique, add to or complement those that ask people to simply enjoy the good things in nature. The results will enable us to make recommendations on the most effective ways to engage with nature for wellbeing.” 

If you are interested in taking part in this project, visit www.ceh.ac.uk/natureupclose to sign up and get started

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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