The 'Healthy by Nature' conference took place on 22 October 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham. 60 people were in attendance, representing over 30 different organisations.
OPAL Director David Slawson described the day as ‘informative, inspiring and humbling’. He highlighted the huge variety of practitioners who attended, including ecologists, community scientists, medics, occupational therapists, garden designers, service users, educators, policy makers (including the Sheriff of Nottingham, Cllr Mohammed Saghir [pictured]), and more.
While praising the speakers and workshop providers, Dr Slawson also stressed the importance of working together to tackle some of the challenges that were raised during the day. These included:
- convincing policy makers about the value of nature,
- generating evidence of the effectiveness of nature/health initiatives - intuitive value is recognised but more qualitative and quantitative data is required, and
- ‘Catching them young’ - inspiring children so there is not a generational awareness dearth.
In the end it seems collaboration is key. As one child cited in the first keynote was quoted: “If you don’t work together, you don’t get much done.” As we move on from the conference, we need to continue to share ideas, work together, and support each other.
By Sarah Pierce, OPAL Community Scientist in Nottingham