Inclusive community nature engagement: successes and considerations

Lemmey, Tania (2022) Inclusive community nature engagement: successes and considerations. In: 9th International Outdoor Education Research Conference (IOERC9), 18-22 July 2022, Ambleside, UK. (Unpublished)

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Existing inequalities of opportunity to connect with nature in the UK worsened during the coronavirus restrictions of 2020. Barriers experienced by individuals, and strategies for inclusivity, were less well evidenced. Research centred in South Cumbria explored inclusivity in community nature engagement through semi-structured interviews with nature engagement practitioners (Lemmey, 2021). Participants worked for contrasting organisations including national and local charities, a primary school and a prison. Analysis revealed themes in inclusive nature engagement practice and barriers to nature engagement: a summary of findings and examples are presented. Partnership working to enable bespoke provision for underserved groups is key. Place-responsive nature engagement opportunities in a social context which encourage repeat visits from underserved groups can facilitate belonging, a sense of place and compassion for nature. Inclusive provision also featured skills development, urban outreach, free-ofcharge activities, creative arts, physical access and community events. Developments in virtual engagement enabled organisations to communicate nature connection opportunities to new users and larger audiences. During the pandemic, reduced partnership working; reduced availability of funding; and reduced inperson facilitation of group experiences have impacted inclusive nature engagement. Barriers to engagement with nature due to societal, personal, financial and infrastructure factors were identified by interviewees. Structural inequalities in some of the organisations managing public engagement with nature may also be pertinent (Glover, 2019). Organisations which explicitly tackled inequities of multiple deprivations in their nature engagement work tended to be those which serve a particular local community; acknowledgement of intersectional disadvantage was otherwise limited.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Science and Environment > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2022 10:10
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 13:45


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