Tuesday, 22 January 2013

New approaches

Parks and Gardens UK's website has always been a good place to start research into a garden's history.  Now, thanks to a grant from The Bulldog Trust, it's even easier to use.  It's been updated and re-launched.  http://www.parksandgardens.org/ It's a valuable resource that will continue to grow as County Gardens Trust research volunteers upload even more information about historic designed landscapes.  If you are interested in becoming involved with the research have a look at http://www.parksandgardens.org/research-and-record

(copyright Liz Ware)
'Nature Deficit Disorder' could be a useful label for that irritable, not-quite-right feeling some of us have when we can't get outside for a day. It could also be an affliction from which a large proportion of the world's population is suffering.  It's a term used by Tony Juniper in his recently published book, 'What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?'  http://www.tonyjuniper.com/content/what-has-nature-ever-done-us This thought provoking read encourages us to re-consider our attitude both to economics and to nature.

Tony argues that, during the last two hundred years, we've lost touch with nature.  As a result, we are suffering, not just as individuals, but also on a global scale. Rather than continuing to plunder nature, we should recognise it as an asset and work with it.

(copyright Liz Ware)
The entire book is very stimulating, but the chapter entitled 'Natural Health Service' is of particular interest to those of us frustrated by the short-term thinking behind the cuts to our urban park services.  Tony neatly sums up the arguments for (and the research into) the health benefits of nature.  For anyone keen to know more, there's also a useful link on Tony's website to his primary research sources. http://tonyjuniper.com/content/chapter-10-natural-health-service

Another point Tony makes is that people are more likely to value nature if they are actively engaged with it.  The  AGT education representative, Emma Schofield, has been using her campaign 'Get out There' to ensure that we do just that.  Through Country Gardens Trust contacts, she's been put in touch with people wanting to develop gardening clubs in primary schools in areas as diverse as the Isle of Wight and the Orkney Isles. She's also offered advice on developing vegetable gardening allotment plots to secondary schools in Coventry, London, Kent, and Wiltshire, and on creating a dementia garden for the elderly in Durham.

In April 2012, I blogged about my visit to the garden at Emma's Lincolnshire school, Boston West Primary.  Great things continue to happen there.  During 2013 'The Hive - Centre for Learning Beyond the Classroom' will be built in the grounds. More news from Emma soon.

Keep warm.

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