Launching in Bristol in April 2021, set in the two woodland sites of Blaise Castle dairy and Leigh Woods barn, the Human Nature Project will provide members of the public with free access to a rolling timetable of seven different two-hour workshops.
Each workshop will have two components:
Forest therapy, a set of mindful-based nature connection practises. These practises are adapted from the Japanese practise of Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’ which harnesses the mood-promoting, anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting benefits of exposure to biochemical compounds released by trees. Benefits which are supported by medical research findings.
Psycho-education, delivered in the format of group discussion, presentation, pair-work and exercises exploring one of seven themes pertaining to psychological well-being, drawing on research findings from multi-disciplinary fields.
Participants will action-plan ways in which the experience of nature connection and the themes that they have explored can be practically applied to their day-to-day lives after taking part.
The project’s aim is that by exploring the seven ‘c’s of confidence, character, creativity, curiosity, choice, centredness and connection in natural settings, people will become motivated to invest in their own wellbeing and experience both an enhanced sense of mental health and custodianship over nature.
The project will be delivered by a small staff team of three qualified psychotherapists and forest therapy guides, with the support of trained volunteers and professional health researchers who will capture its impacts in terms of health, social and environmental gains, as well as cost-saving outcomes.