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People have become less connected to nature, particularly with increasing urbanization. However, many studies are now clearly demonstrating that nature connectedness is crucial to our physical and mental health, and to the future of our communities’ social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being. Audrey Hystad, farm manager for the Clubhouse Farm in Kelowna, BC and Dr. Holli-Anne Passmore, assistant professor of Psychology at Concordia University of Edmonton, discuss the increasing need for people, and more specifically children, to be outdoors, learn about food and agriculture, and contribute to more resilient communities. They also talk about biophilia, our innate attraction to nature, and eco-anxiety, particularly as it relates to the ongoing degradation of our natural environment.
This podcast shows that:
- Educating children about food and agriculture contributes to resilient communities
- Outdoor play is essential for the health and well-being of children
- Studies demonstrate the importance of nature connectedness
- Connecting with nature is just as important as social connections
- We all have an innate attraction to nature
- The physical and mental health of people improve with daily connection to nature
- Eco-concern and eco-anxiety can lead to increased pro-environmental behaviour
Audrey Hystad, MSc
Audrey Hystad holds a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Enterprise from Stockholm University, in association with Stockholm Resilience Center and Stockholm Environment Institute. From the lens of Resilience and Complex Systems Theory, her focus is to take the latest in research and effectively put it to use in practical applications. Her work with land-based learning, policy and procedure development, wildlife safety practice, and identification and use of wild foods, has contributed to fill gaps between our modern societies and the ecosystems services that we rely on to survive.
Audrey has worked with toddler to teen programs for over a decade in Sweden and Canada. Her interdisciplinary science education and intent to contribute to a more resilient future for our communities, have led to her work with The Clubhouse Farm project. The Clubhouse Farm is a forest-and-farm-based outdoor classroom that brings children to play, relax, and explore in the natural world while learning about where food comes from. The basics of horticulture, hydrology, architecture, engineering, ethics, interpersonal skills development, and more are lessons that are stealthily disguised as inquiry-based play at a developmentally appropriate level for children of all abilities.
Since its 2012 grassroots start, it has successfully benefited thousands of children that have visited, while supporting local food production, acquisition of ecological knowledge, and support of habitat for biodiversity – offering great hope for future design of integrated community spaces that meet the needs of all its stakeholders.
Holli-Anne Passmore, PhD
Dr. Holli-Anne Passmore is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE). She is also Director of the multi-university Nature-Meaning in Life (NMIL) Research Lab, an editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing, Science Chair of the Spirituality and Meaning Division of the International Positive Psychology Association, and an invited academic with the Global Wellbeing Initiative (a partnership between the Gallup World Poll and the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation).
Holli-Anne collaborates with researchers around the globe on several well-being-based research endeavours, the primary focus of which is the development and validation of practical interventions to enhance well-being, through noticing and engaging with everyday nature close to home. Additionally, she studies the emerging issue of eco-anxiety.
Jo de Vries is a community education and engagement specialist with more than 30 years of experience helping local governments in British Columbia connect with their citizens about important sustainability issues. In 2006, she established the Fresh Outlook Foundation (FOF) to “inspire community conversations for sustainable change.” FOF’s highly acclaimed events include Building SustainABLE Communities conferences, Reel Change SustainAbility Film Fest, Eco-Blast Kids’ Camps, CommUnity Innovation Lab, Breakfast of Champions, and Women 4 SustainAbility. FOF’s newest ventures are the HEADS UP! Community Mental Health Summit and HEADS UP! Community Mental Health Podcast.
Website: Fresh Outlook Foundation
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Audrey Hystad, Dr. Holli-Anne Passmore Interview Transcript