WEBINAR – Wetlands and forests for health and wellbeing

For this SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health Webinar, we welcomed Jonathan Reeves, Principal Research Officer (Health & Wellbeing), at the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust (WWT). This webinar is particularly relevant for those with an interest in how nature-based interventions can impact public health, from health and social care professionals to local planning authorities.

WWT is an international conservation charity working to conserve wetlands and wildlife. It aims to protect wetlands for people as well as wildlife, encouraging visitors to engage with nature at its 10 wetland nature reserves in the UK. Jono works in the Wetland Conservation Unit at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, focusing on the relationship between wetlands and human health and wellbeing. Most recently, he has been leading work on a project called Blue Prescriptions: wetland based health interventions that bring people who are experiencing poor mental health to wetlands to experience nature and peer support.

In this talk, Jono introduces WWT’s ongoing work on wetlands and human health and wellbeing, and outline plans for a forthcoming Blue Prescription based at WWT Steart Marshes as part of a wider £1.58m GRCF funded wetland creation project in Somerset. The majority of the talk focuses on his experiences in Japan and South Korea on a Churchill fellowship, where he explored the practice of shinrin yoku or ‘forest bathing’ as a nature-based health practice. He outlines the current state of forest bathing in both countries, and describes the unique socio-economic, ecological and cultural conditions which have led the South Korean government to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into forest therapy infrastructure over the last decade, and crucially what lessons can be learnt for UK nature-health policy and practice. The talk is followed by a Q&A session.

Recorded: 26 February 2021
Speakers: Jonathan Reeves, Principal Research Officer (Health & Wellbeing), at the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust (WWT)
Host: Dr Ben Wheeler
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