Experiences of seeing, hearing and being with animals in nature has been shown to be beneficial for emotional and mental wellbeing.
Guidance and instructions
Some ideas for increasing opportunities for experiencing wildlife are:
- Look for animals and wildlife, like butterflies, insects, squirrels, fish, insects, ducks, swans and other birds in your garden, local countryside or local park.
- Visit a local community or city farm, wildlife park or zoo.
- Facilitate the person’s experience by drawing their attention to the animal/s, using the most appropriate way of communicating with the person.
- Hang a bird feeder outside a window. If there is space, you could put a small wooden nesting box on a tree or under a windowsill.
- Take time for birdwatching. You don’t need any special equipment, just an awareness of the birds that are around or for those who are particularly keen a good place to ‘set up camp’, get comfortable and view from.
What to observe, assess and record
- Watch for how the person reacts and share in their experience.
- Observe whether the person shows any pleasure or displeasure, or any other reaction to particular creatures and animals. Be mindful about influencing their experience with your own reactions e.g. by showing your own dislike, disgust or fear reactions to spiders or slugs.
- What responses do you observe in the person during and after their encounter with nature?
- Do you notice any impact on the person’s wellbeing?
© Dr Julie Calveley, BSc(Hons) Psychology, BSc(Hons) Nursing, Registered Learning Disabilities Nurse
Email: [email protected]
Created October 2020