Healthy Parks, Healthy People
“The evidence is clear and far-reaching. Spending time in the natural environment – in places like parks – is good for your mind, body and soul. Healthy Parks Healthy People seeks to reinforce and encourage the connections between a healthy environment and a healthy society.” Parks Victoria
The Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service award-winning Discovery Program inspires 30,000 visitors a year through providing free, fun and educational activities within Tasmania’s National Parks.
Education programs aim to:
- Connect people to their parks and reserves, and the heritage values inherent within them.
- Encourage visitors, school children and community groups to conserve Tasmania’s natural and cultural heritage.
- Use parks and reserves as a platform to improve the community’s health and wellbeing.
Over the summer Soul Stronger director, Alana, has been facilitating programs in mindfulness, movement and creativity to enable visitors to National Parks connect their mind, body, and spirit to Nature.
Wellbeing in Nature
- Nature-based Mindfulness allows people to stop, listen and experience the connection between the qualities of their minds and the qualities of the natural world.
- Natural sounds, smells, and sights have been researched and proven to affect people in health supporting ways. As Hippocrates suggests, by simply, taking notice, we allow nature itself to become the “best physician.”
- Kalari (traditional Southern Indian Tantric Yoga) connects each person’s unique constitution to the elements of nature, helping participants to understand that the way they move, and the character of their mind and body originates in nature.
- Kalari and Ayurveda (traditional Indian medical system) also encourage us to understand that we live by circadian rhythms, meaning our entire system – mental, physical, and emotional – benefits from being in sync with natural cycles.
- Body movement allows the brain to get into gear for learning, and helps people focus and engage, bringing participants ‘into the moment’ for the learning to come.
- People love crafting. From kids to adults, everyone enjoys creating, especially with natural materials. If conducted in the right way, bushcrafting activities open the door for engaging discussions about sustainable harvesting, permits for collection in protected natural areas, the use of sustainable versus toxic/ harmful materials, weeds and native species, habitat etc.
- Allowing people to touch natural fibres, and see the possibilities and beauty of natural materials also encourages them to incorporate buying and using sustainable products as well as connects them in a very material way to nature.
- For millennia cultures around the world have used craft as a means of teaching young people about their relationship with nature. To spend an afternoon in nature with an intergenerational group of people, taking the time to gather, spin, weave, whittle, and work is one of the great joys of life!