Nature and Wellbeing Project – Somerset’s AONBs
During May 2017, Active Devon and Public Health in Somerset will be coordinating a Naturally Healthy Campaign on behalf of the Devon and Somerset Local Nature Partnerships. Building on the success of Devon’s previous campaigns, Somerset will be joining in with the activities this year. The Mendip Hills AONB have 3 events scheduled so please go to the Naturally Healthy Merry Month of May! on our calendar for more details.
Stoberry Park School October 2016
Kristen Lambert Nature and Wellbeing Project Officer is working with local schools to promote the importance of making early connections with local, natural environments for our long term health and wellbeing and spent a day with Stoberry Park School students at Ebbor Gorge Nr Wells ably assisted by Westcountryman Les Davies.
The sessions for the day allowed for plenty of free play and exploration but also involved learning about plants, flowers and trees.
Ebbor Gorge is a National Nature Reserve protected and managed by Natural England.
Update Article for September 2016 (Downloadable PDF 490KB)
Update Article August 2016 (Downloadable PDF 270KB)
We are already 4 months into the project and have started to make some really successful links with health and wellbeing groups across the county. This has included work with Eastover Primary School, Somerset Partnership Community Mental Health Team and The Alzheimer’s Society through their Memory Café groups. Future work is planned with a number of different groups that include a local charity supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people, called ‘The Project YP’, Health Connections in Mendip and Knightstone Housing Association.
Eastover Primary School Case Study
We have been working with Eastover Primary School, in Bridgwater, who decided to bring up groups of year three pupils over a 6 week period, to the Quantock Hills. These visits are about offering children the opportunity to connect with nature and experience free play and exploration within quality natural environments. The sessions took place in and around Fyne Court, Broomfield, with support from our National Trust colleagues. The environments allowed for plenty of physical activity and opportunities for children to develop confidence in their own abilities through trying out new and unfamiliar things and managing risk for themselves.
We also worked with Somerset College, who kindly brought up students studying photography to support the year threes to capture their experiences and the connections they had made with the natural world. A selection of these photographs will be displayed within the local community for people to see over the summer.
The project has been a real success with lots of learning, physical activity and time for pupils to be children! Many have really thrived in this environment. For these reasons the school are really keen for this work to continue and for visits to the Quantock Hills to form an important part of the school experience for Eastover pupils across all year groups. We will therefore be continuing our work to support Eastover Primary School to ensure that the project is sustainable and continues into the new school year.