Restoring and supporting people’s connection to Nature is vital for wellbeing, and rewilding is one powerful route towards this goal. This was one of the key messages heard from acclaimed writer George Monbiot and leading conservationist Alan Watson Featherstone at public talks co-hosted by the Network of Wellbeing (NOW) in Exeter and Plymouth on 14th and 15th January.

The two events – organised by NOW together with Exeter University and Exeter Community Initiatives in Exeter, and in Plymouth with Plymouth University – helped to highlight the benefits of rewilding – the restoration of damaged natural ecosystems, and the return of keystone species – including for people’s wellbeing.

Watch the full talk online

There was a live-stream available from the talk in Exeter, and you can now watch the video online. You can also check out photos from the event, and see online highlights via the #RewildingWell hash tag on Twitter. Plus, you can check out some links to further coverage of these events in links at the end of this post. If you attended the event and wrote up the experience please do get in touch and send us any links, which we may be able to re-share, and feel free to send us any general feedback too.

The benefits of rewilding

George Monbiot said: “Rewilding offers us a big chance to reverse destruction of the natural world. Letting trees return to bare and barren uplands, allowing the seabed to recover from trawling, and bringing back missing species would help hundreds of species that might otherwise struggle to survive – while rekindling wonder and enchantment that often seems missing in modern-day Britain.”

Alan Watson Featherstone, Founder of Trees for Life, said: “Rewilding offers an exciting vision of hope. In the Highlands of Scotland we have an opportunity to reverse environmental degradation and create a world-class wilderness region – offering a lifeline to wildlife including beavers, capercaillie, wood ants and pine martens, and restoring natural forests and wild spaces for our children and grandchildren.”

The talks also showed how rewilding can help reduce flooding and climate change. NOW’s holistic approach to wellbeing shows that personal, social and environmental wellbeing must all be approached together – which means that rewilding, by enhancing nature in all settings, from our cities to our remote hills and oceans, can have a great role to play in enhancing people’s wellbeing.

Huge thanks to all involved!

Here at the Network of Wellbeing we would like to say huge thanks to all involved in making these events such a success; to George Monbiot and Alan Watson Featherstone for their inspiring talks, to Trees for Life for their excellent support, to our co-hosts Exeter University and Exeter Community Initiatives in Exeter, and Plymouth University in Plymouth. Last but not least, thank you to everyone who attended and/ or engaged with the talks online. The enthusiasm and positive feedback we have received has been fantastic.

Further links

As mentioned, if you attended the event and wrote up the experience please do get in touch and send us any links. Many thanks!

Photos in this post shared courtesy of Rob Pedersen.