After 12 years as the Outreach Educator and Science Communicator at GNS Science New Zealand, I am now an independent educational and science communication consultant.
Behind this new move is a desire to focus my work on breaking down the barriers that inhibit people, especially young people, from getting outside, connecting, exploring, adventuring, discovering and enjoying everything that is to be experienced in natural environments.
Visiting vs connecting with nature
Research is showing that those people who engage in nature by actually taking notice of the environment even to a limited extent, have measurable physical and mental health benefits. It has also been shown that nature connectedness – by using the senses, experiencing beauty, responding emotionally and compassionately increases the likelihood that people will make positive choices that conserve or enhance the environment. Connect people with nature to benefit both people and nature.
How to explore nature?
There are countless ways to increase nature connectedness. There are also many barriers that have become significant in our modern screen dominated urban lifetyles. What used to be the most self-evident and natural thing in the past – that people engaged with and spent lots of time in nature, has become something we have to do intentionally .
Exploring the way to a new nature connection curriculum
In February I will be spending a month with teachers in Yilan Province, NE Taiwan, exploring the environment in the region of their school and helping design their high school outdoor education curriculum.