As you may have seen from an earlier post Can you help? The connection between nature & wellbeing I am interested in exploring the connection between nature and wellbeing as the subject of my next book. In that earlier post, I asked for help finding existing literature on the topic, particularly in the New Zealand context. And I got some super-helpful responses, so thank you so much to everyone who responded!
The great news is that I have now secured funding for the research component of the project, which is very exciting!
So if anyone has any ideas for case studies for the book, please be in touch.
These can be anywhere in New Zealand, individual or group, private property or reserve/public land, where the project or activity has had unanticipated (or perhaps anticipated) benefits for the wellbeing (mental, spiritual, physical) for those involved, and perhaps also the wider community. I am particularly interested in stories in urban areas, involving people who might not necessarily be able to access our regional and national park network for tramping and other recreation – whether due to age, illness, lack of income or leisure time, etc.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Congratulations on your new project.
One idea might be to look at the 1980 journey described in Craig Potton, So Far So Good: A Three-month Traverse of the Southern Alps (Nelson: Potton and Burton, 2016). Craig includes some interesting ‘wilderness musings’ at the end of the book. And if you can get hold of a copy (may be you have already read it?) I am sure you would enjoy the beautifully written, privately published Robbie Burton, Family Land: A Memoir (Nelson: Robbie Burton, 2018). Pages 97-117 are a description of the same trip, and throughout the memoir there are various mentions of the spiritual importance of nature to him.
But I’m not clear what you hope to include in ’nature’ and in ‘wellbeing’. ’Nature’ could relate to any activity from growing things in an urban community garden to tramping in the bush, or (like Craig and Robbie) up in the mountains beyond the bush, and equally it could refer either to the indigenous or the exotic, or both. ‘Wellbeing’ could be either spiritual, mental or physical, or all three.
Not that it has any relevance to New Zealand, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that, when Bismarck was feeling run down, his doctor recommended that he hug trees!
All the best
Paul Star >
Thank you Paul – really appreciate your suggestions. Yes, I have a pretty clear idea of how I will define ‘nature’ and ‘wellbeing’ within the context of the book, but won’t bore you with the details! Love that story about Bismarck being prescribed tree-hugging by his doctor – I will try to find the source of that! Thanks again, Catherine