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Bishop of Norwich ‘First Nature’ Award launched

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, is sponsoring a new award to highlight the health benefits of ‘nature connection’ for children.


Connecting with nature is vitally important for children and young people- not just for learning, but to help with their health and wellbeing, something that many are struggling with especially since the pandemic.

The ‘First Nature’ campaign is working to expand nature connection opportunities for children and young people across Norfolk. A partnership of organisations is behind the Campaign which is gathering momentum: by looking at ways nature-based organisations can work together in supporting schools, mapping what opportunities already exist, and working to address areas and groups where access to nature is difficult. 

To help, Bishop Graham is sponsoring a new award for projects or organisations already doing great work in this field with children up to the age of 16. He says:

“Being out in a wood, spending time with my bees, or walking along a beach gives me much-needed time out to recharge my batteries and immerse myself in God’s wonderful creation. Jesus noticed the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. In our current society, many children and young people live lives disconnected from nature.

“I want to actively encourage organisations and community groups to help them reconnect with nature to boost their wellbeing and mental health. It will also help them to be inspired to protect nature now and in the future. I hope there will be many innovative applications for this first Bishop of Norwich First Nature Award!”

The Bishop of Norwich First Nature Award is receiving nominations until the end of September. The Award, which will be presented at a ceremony in October, comes with a prize of £1000.

Nigel Boldero, Convenor of Norfolk Green Care Network, who are leading the First Nature Campaign, says, “I am really grateful to Bishop Graham for sponsoring this award, which will help to highlight the importance of growing opportunities for children and young people to really notice nature and get actively involved through gardening, conservation and other environmental action – this can not only help our planet but also human health.”

Kitty Sanderson, aged 15 years, who gave a presentation at the recent launch of the First Nature Campaign says, “It’s well known that nature connection positively affects young people’s mental health. It can help build communities, provide hope in the darkest of moments and provide the respite we all need from the anxieties of the modern word. Nature should be for everyone, but for so many it is inaccessible. We need to break down the barriers and ensure young people can enjoy nature on their doorstep in their own, individual way.”

The deadline for applications is Saturday 30 September. Visit the First Nature website https://firstnatureuk.wordpress.com  for full details and to complete a simple nomination form.

Helen Baldry, 16/07/2023

Read the full article here

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