• KWVR at Haworth

  • Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

    Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

  • Green Ripples

  • Castleford Millenium Bridge

  • River Aire at Ferrybridge

  • Malham Cove

  • Saltaire

Category Archives: Project

Nature Connectedness

Young girl smelling sunflowerMany Rivers Trusts offer public engagement activities. This is partly in recognition of the need to involve local people in conservation, for reasons of sustainability, support and equity. It has always been assumed that the more, better contact, the more likely positive outcomes will result.

Recent research is showing what ‘better’ means, in terms of influencing pro-conservation behaviour. There is a growing realisation that a positive, connected relationship with nature leads to pro-environmental attitudes and well-being benefits. Having a positive relationship with nature is an important part of well being, comparable to other established factors such as income and education. The emerging research in this area can influence our approaches to engagement.

Recent academic research makes a compelling case for adopting a “pathways to connection” approach. RSPB, Natural England, the Natural Trust and others have been working with the University of Derby over the past two or three years and the thinking and practice that have emerged is compelling, robust, and cutting-edge.

Many public engagement activities focus on imparting knowledge in a variety of different ways, while others are more focussed on stimulating a creative or emotional response. It turns out that the former approach may be misguided.

A striking statistic coming from the research is that nature connectedness explains 69% of ecological behaviour while nature knowledge explains only 2%. Visit frequency was found to be less good a predictor of pro-conservation behaviours as connectedness. Wandering aimlessly along a riverbank is clearly nothing like as effective as actually getting involved either physically or emotionally.

The research identifies five pathways to nature connectedness:

  • Contact – The act of engaging with nature through the senses
  • Beauty – The perception of aesthetic qualities including shape, colour and form that please the senses
  • Meaning – Using nature or natural symbolism to communicate a concept that is not directly expressed
  • Emotion – An affective state or sensation that occurs as a result of engaging with nature
  • Compassion -Extending the self to include nature, leading to a concern for other natural entities that motivates understanding and helping/co-operation

I, for one, have yet to fully absorb these findings and to understand how they will be incorporated into the Activity Pan for our DNAire project to reinvigorate the Aire. Your thought will be very welcome.

 

Based on original research by Miles Richardson from Derby University, interpreted by me and Kate Measures of Heritage Insider who is helping develop our Activity Plan for DNAire.

Sometimes the cost is too high – refusing a grant

I have just done something rather unusual for a charity. I have turned down the offer of a £23,766 grant. Why would I do that? Firstly because the grant awarding body was not prepared to pay the cost of the work required. Secondly because they would not contribute to our corporate overheads (Full Cost Recovery).… Continue Reading

Spawning Season for Trout

If you build it, they will come…. The ‘Field of Dreams’ hypothesis often used by conservationists is certainly bearing fruit on our river. According to members of Bradford City Angling Association (http://www.bradfordcityaa.co.uk/fly-fishing/), who have been doing lots of sterling work to improve habitat in both the river and along the banks of the Aire near… Continue Reading

‘Tis the season to be planting….

Winter weather may be a good excuse to stoke the fire, contemplate the drinks cabinet closely and turn one’s back to the outdoors. However, that cold weather also causes dormancy in trees which means winter is the ideal time to get out planting, provided the ground is not too water-logged or too frozen! Trees are… Continue Reading

Walks around Bradford’s Becks

Friends of Bradford’s Becks have just published a (FREE!) guide to a series of walks around Bradford’s Becks. The booklet contains detailed guides to several walks around the area as well as background information on the becks, the wildlife to be found, the history of the beck and how to keep our watercourses clean. You… Continue Reading

Catchment Improvement Lead – an opportunity

The Aire and Calder Catchment Partnership, which is hosted by The Aire Rivers Trust, is  advertising a role to help lead the Partnership to the next stage of our development. With funding from Defra we are now looking to issue a contract for someone to lead the initial stages of delivering our Actionable Plan and… Continue Reading

2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage

  2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage Work has been going on for a number of years to improve fish passage for migratory fish in the Aire below Leeds. This work has provided fish passes at Castleford, Lemonroyd, Fleet, Rothwell Country Park and Thwaite Mills. Fish passes are required on a… Continue Reading

Upper Aire Project – another award!

The team running the Upper Aire Project have picked up yet another award for this great scheme. Here is what the Environment Agency, who have devoted considerable funding to the scheme,  had to say upon hearing the announcement: A pioneering scheme that is leading the way in improving some of Yorkshire’s best countryside has won… Continue Reading

FoBB Sculpture competition voting

Friends of Bradford Beck have been running a competition for a sculpture to place over the beck and enable people to hear the hidden beck as it flows under Bradford city centre. The shortlist of four, from nine entries, has been announced and you can cast your vote and offer comments on the entries. Please… Continue Reading