Nature Heals, Soothes and Restores…
In a world where our brains and bodies are working overtime and we are feeling overwhelmed, busy and stressed, spending time in nature is proving to heal, restore and comfort us.
The rejuvenating and restorative benefits of time spent in nature are now scientifically supported with a body of evidence too compelling to ignore. Having more plants around you, walking outside, listening to birdsong, feeling your feet in the ocean or simply noticing beautiful things are some ways that nature increases our wellbeing. Nature also improves our sustained attention, cognitive and motor functions, self-esteem, physical health, healing and immune function, environmental stewardship and children’s resilience.
The nature in our cities, rural areas, and neighbourhoods is vastly underutilised in its ability to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It is also underutilised in its ability to create good social and environmental behaviours. Being outside is good, but connecting with or noticing nature is even better. The scientific evidence of this has not yet translated into mainstream behaviour, programs or policy.
“Our work seeks to create opportunities to mainstream the benefits of nature as part of our everyday living. How this can be linked to technology, built into design and accessible to all regardless of ability, age, gender or socioeconomic status. Because we know that this is important to the health and wellbeing of both people and planet.”
Who we are
Waminda Parker: Co-Founder and Co-Director
With over 20 years of strategic planning, operations and project management experience Waminda is accustomed to and enjoys building multidisciplinary programs that translate innovative concepts into executable plans. Waminda has a high-end capacity to build transdisciplinary networks across government, land managers, industry groups, community and research and as aligned to legislative frameworks, policy and planning instruments. As a Director of Programs Waminda has successfully established a range of large, long-term and complex projects, alliances, networks, consortiums and programs addressing holistic models of sustainability, community resilience and conservation.
Waminda has been actively promoting the co-benefits of nature connection and nature inspired design through talks, workshops, research, policy and planning. Waminda also lectures in and manages nature based research programs at Macquarie University, is a committee member of #NatureForAll (Australia) and Living Future Institute of Australia (Biophilic Design) and an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional.
Dr Miles Holmes: Co-Founder and Co-Director
Miles is a professional facilitator, anthropologist and nature connection mentor, who has been working with groups in the outdoors for over 25 years. He has been mentored in deep nature connection, wilderness survival and meditation by leading experts in Australia and the USA and holds a PhD in anthropology completed in partnership with Warlpiri people from Central Australia. He consults as a trainer and facilitator in nature connection experiences. He also has over 15 years’ experience as a social anthropologist working with Aboriginal people in some of the most remote regions of Australia. Through this work and research he has developed a deep understanding of the processes through which humans become connected to nature, and an insight into the knowledge that Aboriginal peoples can offer in the practice of nature connection and environmental stewardship.
At the connective Miles brings together this experience to facilitate the core elements of nature connection. The proven skills and techniques that powerfully reconnect us with the natural world, ourselves and each other. Miles is a researcher and published academic and a passionate advocate for the role of nature connection in increasing general wellbeing, and in fostering the next generation of environmental stewards. Miles is also the co-founder of The Art of Mentoring.
Ross is a landscape planning, design and management professional with over 25-years of experience in delivering integrated sustainable solutions in the green and grey infrastructure sectors across the public, private and academic domains. He is passionate about involving people in the creation of sustainable urban environments that meet both ecological and human needs. Ross’s broad experience has been gained from technical fieldwork, community facilitation and senior appointments within policy across local, state and federal government.
In April 2020, Ross submitted his PhD in Landscape Architecture (Deakin University) that investigated the influence of natural, human (physiological and psychological), social, economic and built environment contributions to the use and design of backyards. Central to this was the development of an Australian Philosophy of Landscape and an Australian Theory of Landscape Engagement incorporating Australian Aboriginal and Western approaches to the design and management. Ross has a horticultural degree and post graduate qualifications in environmental management and is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia’s Victorian Open Space Planning Network Committee and is an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional.
Dr Matthew Zylstra
Matthew is an ecologist, educator and facilitator with over 15 years of international experience in research, education and facilitation of collaborative social-ecological change processes. He has a PhD in conservation ecology and transdisciplinary sustainability (Stellenbosch University, 2014) and his research explored how meaningful nature experience and nature connectedness can support transformative education for sustainability leadership. He has published and peer-reviewed widely on these themes. He has a long-standing curiosity with the evolving scientific understandings of consciousness and is keen on exploring how emerging insights can enhance our nature experiences, conservation practice and, ultimately, our neurophysiology in support of optimal health and wellbeing.
Matthew is a founding director for Noetic Ecology and coordinator of the Masiyembo Association, aimed at creating more meaningful opportunities for South Africans to find health, wellbeing and connection through nature. Matthew is also a research and education associate to the Sea Change Project (Cape Town) and also serves as a pro bono advisor to the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve, Earthfire Institute (USA), and the Kwendalo Institute.