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New Research Shows Wellbeing Benefits Of Spending Time In Nature

Spending time in nature helps people feel better, and becoming involved in a local trapping group can give your health an even bigger boost, new research from Zealandia’s Centre for People and Nature shows.

“From our survey of 1200 Wellington city residents, we found that levels of depression, anxiety and stress are lower in people who spent more time in natural spaces,” says Dr Danielle Shanahan, Director, Centre for People and Nature.

"We found even greater benefits amongst people who take part in predator trapping, who had even lower levels of depression and stress, and greater feelings of social cohesion."

James Willcocks, Project Director for Predator Free Wellington, said it’s likely most trappers would have felt the health benefits of trapping for themselves, but it’s great to have this backed up by research. “What’s wonderful about backyard and reserve group trapping is you get the health and physical benefits of spending time in nature, but alongside that you’re also knowing that what you’re doing is making a difference to our native biodiversity.”

The research is part one of a longitudinal study, carried out by the Zealandia Centre for People and Nature in collaboration with Wellington City Council.

“There are very few cities in the world where we can see the positive trends in native birdlife that we are witnessing in Wellington. This provides is with a remarkable opportunity to understand how increasing biodiversity can influence our experiences of nature, and whether this has a positive effect on our health and wellbeing” says Dr Shanahan.

The research demonstrates how investing in city nature spaces can promote the wellbeing of our communities.

“It’s great to have Danielle’s research confirm what many of us instinctively knew, that being in nature is good for us. We humans need nature. That’s why I’m immensely proud of the environmental restoration journey we’ve been on over the last 30 years, including establishing Zealandia, protecting land for our green belts and now Predator Free Wellington,” says Wellington City Mayor Andy Foster.

“Wellingtonians in their thousands are involved ‘hands on’ in that journey, which is really good for our environmental, social and economic health, and now we know our personal wellbeing.”

The full research report can be found here.

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