Our wonderful partners Eco sapien are part of the Discover Nature group which they run for their local nature reserve St Nicks in York. The group is part of St Nick’s ecotherapy programme and aims to benefit people with mental health issues, which can range from mild anxiety to more life altering effects.
The reindeer were made during their final session of the year to celebrate the festive season. Phil from Eco Sapien says, “They make for ideal Christmas decorations and look pretty cute! They are made out of sticks lashed together with garden twine, or glue gunned into place. Final additions include googly eyes and a red pom-pom nose.”
What a lovely way to take the stress off the crazy holiday season!
The activity actually involves adults who are part of the Discover Nature group. The group aims to be safe and nurturing environment in which participants can learn more about the natural world. Sessions are seasonally themed and each one provides the opportunity to enjoy wildlife-based activities, including nature walks, animal surveys, and art work creation.
Did you know that if you are into green travel and living, you’re already practising a form of ecotherapy?
Ways to practise ecotherapy
At St Nicks, ecotherapy is offered through various group activities with one to one mentor support:
- Bearing Fruit (Mondays 1pm-3pm at St Nicks): Help St Nicks look after their established fruit trees, soft fruit sites and newly planted Yorkshire heritage apple trees at the community orchard at St Nicks Nature Reserve. Learn conservation skills such as scything, pruning and creating wildlife habitats.
- Discover Nature (Tuesdays 10am-12pm): Learn more about the natural world. In these seasonally themed sessions, participate in wildlife-based activities, including nature walks, animal surveys, and art work creation.
- Connect to Nature with Creative Writing (Wednesdays 10am-12pm): The Creative Writing course is run in partnership with York St John University, Converge and the Discovery Hub. Explore themes in nature and make discoveries through observation of the reserve and the changing seasons. Each course starts with a short walk around the reserve followed by an introduction of a theme for the mornings writing. People are encouraged to keep their own nature journals as part of the course.
- Get Gardening (Thursdays 1-3pm ): The Gardening group is run in partnership with York St John University, Converge and the Discovery Hub. Learn how to garden creatively in different settings through interesting means like using a polytunnel, try container planting and make the most of smaller spaces. Growing activities will include introducing natural pest control, feeding, plant care, seed collecting and innovative irrigation.
- Plot to Plate (Fridays 2-4pm at the Holgate Allotment Site): Help to manage their allotment, learn the principles of organic gardening and the benefits of eating seasonally. The site has raised beds, fruit trees, vegetables and a wildflower area.
Benefits of Ecotherapy
So how does ecotherapy help? At St Nicks, people who have engaged in an ecotherapy programme have reported the following benefits: