Everyday green space and experienced wellbeing: the significance of wildlife encounters
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
A broad and growing evidence base suggests the potential for time spent in natural environments to promote human health and wellbeing. Whilst evidence of such benefits is rapidly accumulating, we still know relatively little about the role of wildlife encounters in shaping the wellbeing potential of people’s routine green/blue space interactions, particularly amongst non-specialists. This article addresses this conceptual gap, drawing on the findings of a three-stage, qualitative, interpretive study which sought to understand and situate people’s natural environment wellbeing experiences within their everyday lives. Wildlife encounters were emphasised by study participants in the context of four types of wellbeing experience; social, immersive, symbolic and achievement-oriented. These are explored within this paper, before discussing the influence of past experiences and current life circumstances on participants’ wildlife relationships. Consideration is also given to how environmental managers might focus activity and investment to balance opportunities for such wildlife experiences with the ongoing priorities of delivering socially inclusive, ecologically-rich and climate change-resilient green spaces.
The authors would like to thank all the participants who took part in this study, the two anonymous reviewers who offered valuable feedback on earlier drafts of the paper, and the European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly for funding Sarah Bell’s PhD scholarship.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Published online: 20 Feb 2017