Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Grant
EcoWisdom partnered with the Individualized Funding Resource Centre and Technology for Living to develop online mindful nature connection programs to support the resiliency of people living with disability/chronic illness who were disproportionately affected by the
pandemic. We invited people requiring the assistance of personal support workers for everyday living to join the programs. We offered four unique Accessible Nature Wellbeing Programs and trained three Nature and Forest Therapy Guides who live with disability as part of this project.
Accessible Nature Wellbeing Programs (ANWPs) are suitable for people wishing to support their holistic mind-body-soul wellbeing. Our program is based on research in neuroscience, mindfulness, and forest medicine. They also employ an empowerment peer-support model grounded in the social model of disability. A majority of co-facilitators and participants identified as people living with disability or chronic illness.
The project resulted in four videos that describe and evaluate the project using community-based descriptive narrative, as well as academic-led qualitative and quantitative research methods. One graduate of EcoWisdom’s unique accessible Nature and Forest Therapy Guide training program stated,
“Because of the experience and tools I’ve learned through the course, all of my relationships – not only with the natural world, but all species – have changed. I feel like I am a much calmer person, less reactive, kinder and I care about the earth.”
The significant health benefits of EcoWisdom’s Accessible Nature Wellbeing Programs were documented by forest medicine researchers at Derby University led by Dr. Kirsten McEwan. Benefits include a 27-33% reduction in symptom severity (reduced physical pain, fatigue, rumination, anxiety/depression, and improved memory/concentration). These improvements were maintained over a month. After attending a single EcoWisdom ANWP, 92% of the participants were able to continue using mindful nature connection practices on their own. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.