Health and well-being

EAI members are active contributors to the EUROPARC Federation’s working group on health and protected areas, together with colleagues from the EUROPARC Nordic-Baltic Section. The group has produced a series of case studies from across the UK and the rest of Europe and a Toolkit providing practical advice to set up policy and activities in your Park. The toolkit brings you the latest evidence, reports and other useful resources; and shares inspiring examples from across the EUROPARC network. A must-read for all Protected area staff (including planners, site managers, rangers, and wardens) but also to governmental bodies aiming to develop national and regional policy to leverage health benefits from natural areas.

At the 2019 Europarc Federation Conference  and based on the outcomes of the Conference, and with the precious input of EUROPARC Health & Protected Areas Commission,  the Jurmala Communique was launched, a first step towards the creation of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative across Europe

Latest Events

Nature and Public Health: the role of health in improving the health of a population – Thursday 5th December by Dr William Bird from Intelligent Health  will look at how nature experience directly affects our minds and well-being. From cognitive performance to intracellular metabolic changes, Dr. Bird reveals how contact with green spaces can diminish stress levels and positively correlate with a decrease of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.
From an individual level to a healthier society, nature and access to green spaces can positively shape our feelings of happiness and well-being by impacting the quality of our social relationships. In fact, recent studies show evidence of green spaces as key to reduce health inequalities and improve social cohesion.

Register for webinar here

Past Events

This group met in June 2013 in Edinburgh to develop the programme of activities to be undertaken across the European network. Initial work will focus on compiling a series of case studies, building up a tool-kit and eventually moving on to a set of guidelines. Full details of the discussions can be found here. Further information will be posted as the work of the European group develops.

Previously, colleagues from Finland and Sweden visited Scotland in March 2011 to gather experience and good practice on the issue of human health and well-being from work being undertaken in Scotland. The study trip was organised by Scottish Natural Heritage.

A number of presentations were made during the trip:

Linking Path Network Development and Health Walks in the Cairngorms National Park and surrounding area. Alan Melrose, Health Walks Co-ordinator, Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust.

OPENspace Research Centre, Catharine Ward Thompson, Research Professor of Landscape Architecture, OPENSpace Research Centre, Edinburgh College of Art

Branching Out: Greenspace on Referral, Hugh McNish, Health Advisor, Forestry Commission Scotland

BTCV Green Gym, David Graham, Development Manager (Health), BTCV

Health, well-being and trees, woods and forests, Liz O’Brien, Social and Economic Research Group, Forest Research

Walking for Health, Jessica Lindohf, Paths for All