22nd June 2022 - 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Reconnecting to Nature
The natural world, and the opportunity to connect with it, is vitally important to human wellbeing.
Initiatives to support our wellbeing through 'nature connectedness' are being developed in many protected landscapes, by park and AONB teams and by commercial and social businesses. Opportunities are now on offer for visitors to benefit from services such as health walks, green social prescribing, forest bathing and eco-escapes. How do we reach communities that do not normal visit protected areas and why?
However, attracting more people to protected landscapes, many of them first time visitors with less understanding of how the countryside 'works', can cause conflicts. In some cases, humans can unintentionally cause harm to the very natural world that they had hoped to connect with and benefit from.
• Do we need to balance the need for human wellbeing with the need for nature's wellbeing?
• How do we attract a diverse range of people to protected areas
• Do we value nature enough to do that, and exactly how do we put nature first?
• In a market economy is it possible to limit visitor numbers to a national landscape that is largely privately owned?
Avalon Marshes super NNR
Green Spaces Dark Skies festival – Dorset AONB
Europarc Atlantic Isles Board Meber
Jo is a self employed consultant with 20 years’ experience of delivering organisational strategy in public and third sector organisations including the North York Moors NPA, National Parks UK, Nidderdale AONB, the Lower Ure Conservation Trust and the National Trust.
In 2020/2021 Jo also facilitated a DEFRA Environmental Land Management ‘Test and Trial’. This involved working with the Foundation for Common land and Federation of Cumbrian Commoners to develop an ELM delivery model for Commons.
Jo was brought up on a farm near Skipton and is now based in Ripon, North Yorkshire. In her early career she worked on land management projects in Guyana, St Helena and China. She has a master's degree in Agricultural Economics, is a board member of EUROPARC Atlantic Isles and enjoys walking, swimming and (attempting) to grow prize winning vegetables.
In August this year, Jo will be take on the role of interim Executive Director at National Parks England.
Professor Miles Richardson
Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness
University of Derby
Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness and lead the Nature Connectedness Research Group. The focus of our research is understanding and improving our connection with nature, because of the well-being and environmental benefits. Since launch in 2013 I have worked with a number of conservation NGOs, including the National Trust, RSPB and on 30 Days Wild with The Wildlife Trusts. Recent projects include the £1.3m IWUN project where we continue to develop nature connectedness based interventions to himprove mental health. I am member of a Natural England research strategy group and working with partners on a national indicator of nature connection, the NCI. I launched the Nature Connections conference series in 2015.
Co-founder and Creative Producer
Walk the Plank
Liz produced their theatre ship’s national touring programme for 15 years; and now leads teams working on festivals, parades, and site-specific performances. As a director of large scale outdoor performances that have participation at their heart, she has been artistic director for Hull Freedom Festival (2013-15) leads the team that produce Manchester Day since its inception (2010-22), and created the opening for Pafos: EU Capital of Culture 2017; and staged Wales’ largest outdoor bilingual performance for Wales Millennium Centre (2015) – all diverse platforms which offer the chance for meaningful exchange between artists and new audiences. As well as creating ambitious transnational events, Liz has worked with British Council’s Cultural Skills team to lead Festival Management Training in West Africa, the Caribbean and Ukraine; co-designed two European training programmes: School of Participation (2019-21), School of Spectacle (2017-19); and designed training to build the capacity of artists and communities across Wales: Lloyds Bank Awen Schools, supported by Arts Council Wales. Liz is the Country Producer (Wales) for Green Space Dark Skies, as well as working with the project’s learning and engagement teams across the UK, where her knowledge of contemporary participatory arts practice and extensive experience of working with diverse communities to make work in public space and realise large scale civic celebrations is invaluable. Liz brings a knowledge of design thinking, an interest in new technologies, and she manages a team of freelance creative producers, production wizards, trainers, artists and creative practitioners who can be deployed across all Walk the Plank’s projects. One of the Cultural Leadership’s 50 Women to Watch (2010) she worked as a ‘Canny Creative’ for the British Council worldwide: 6 months in Ukraine (2013/14) was followed by projects in Egypt, Brazil, Hong Kong and West Africa. She sits on the boards of Xtrax, and Salford’s Culture and Place Partnership
Professor Chris Loynes
Human Nature Relations
University of Cumbria
My own research interests include understanding the impact of Outdoor Education in schools, the outdoors as a vehicle for youth development, understanding the various ways in which people engage with nature and the role of local communities and other communities of interest in their environments. I recently led the Erasmus Mundus international MA Transcultural European Outdoor Studies. I currently lead the Human Nature Relations theme of the Centre for Research in National Parks and Protected Areas. This includes the national Outdoor Learning research hub project in partnership with the Institute for Outdoor Learning. I am research advisor to the Institute for Outdoor Learning and the Bay Trust. In my career I have been a teacher, youth worker, director of a social enterprise and political activist and so my interests are rooted in helping people with an interest in the environment understand and improve the quality of their activities. I am also a keen sailor, sea kayaker and mountaineer.
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