The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary response from it triggered multiple transitions for all. One of the constants during this period was the natural world, and more than 60% of adults turned to the natural world for support at this time. A host of previous research has found that contact with nature in its many forms, as well as connection to it, the positive relationship we have with the non-human natural world, are beneficial for our wellbeing. Nurturing young children’s connection to nature is paramount, especially at times of turmoil. Research suggests many ways to do that, including through sustained contact, play, mindful attention and empathy towards plants and non-human animals. Moreover, using technology, such as mobile cameras, can also enhance our connection to the natural world.
This short comic, posted by the International Network of Transitions Researchers, shows these and other ways families can use to continue to build a positive and lasting relationship with nature, even during lockdown. This comic is available for free download and you can print it for educational purposes.
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Dr Alexia Barrable is a lecturer at the School of Education and Social Work. Her research focuses on nature connection for wellbeing and ecological behaviours. Her husband, who is a teacher and Head of Outdoor Learning at a school in Scotland, and their two sons, Joe and Ollie, who have been growing up wild right from the start, have contributed to the story in this comic. Script was written by Professor Divya Jindal-Snape and Professor Chris Murray. The artwork is by Ashling Larkin.