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20 July, 2020

More people spending time outdoors. New survey reveals importance of nature to Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19

More people spending time outdoors. New survey reveals importance of nature to Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19: A honeybee flying towards a polyanthus flower

Lockdown in Scotland saw an increase in the number of people visiting the outdoors to enjoy nature and stay healthy, according to a report by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The results of the first comprehensive, independent survey of our relationship with nature during lockdown, demonstrate that more Scots, concerned about their wellbeing, are turning to nature as they recover from the pandemic. To grow that enthusiasm SNH has today launched a campaign, Make Space for Nature.

The 1,000 people surveyed revealed that Scots took more outdoor exercise and expect to continue this as restrictions lift, with:

  • 70% citing health as a motivator for getting outdoors.
  • More than 1 in 3 people specifically referencing managing stress as a reason for exercising outdoors (35%).
  • 63% of those stating their experiences had helped them de-stress, relax and unwind, and 58% felt energised and revitalised.

Make Space for Nature encourages people to further explore simple, fun activities that can help nature thrive – from submitting sightings of birds, frogs, and butterflies - to swapping pollinator-friendly plant cuttings with friends and even learning to love weeds – a great food source for pollinators.

The survey also shows:

  • 34% of Scots getting a daily dose of nature, compared to 22% prior to lockdown.  
  • 71% heading outside at least once a week, up from 59%.
  • 89% of outdoor visitors took regular local walks (an increase from 77%) and around 20% running or cycling (up from 5%).

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska linked the heightened importance of nature to recovery from Covid-19. “Nature is at the heart of our emergence from this crisis. The results from this survey reinforce just how important nature is for all of us – both physically through exercising and emotionally for our mental health.”

Levels of participation in nature focused activities increased significantly during lockdown – many relaxed in their garden (62%), took part in gardening (42%), enjoyed wildlife in their garden (36%) and enjoyed watching wildlife from indoors through a window (30%).

Francesca added: “During lockdown, activities such as noticing birds and wildlife, and the change in seasons, were relatively high, even among those who rarely or never visited the outdoors. These people have made an important first step in loving nature and experiencing all the benefits. We want to help them keep it up.”

SNH wants to capitalise on this renewed interest in nature and getting outdoors by launching ‘Make Space for Nature’ a campaign to encourage everyone to continue to make space for nature in their lives - be it a daily walk or taking a mindful minute to listen to birdsong. Giving something back through nature volunteering or contributing to nature surveys are also great ways to make space for nature in your day, and crucial to help us understand and improve the state of Scotland’s nature for the future.

Francesca concluded: “These survey results and the enthusiastic response to the Make Space for Nature campaign gives us confidence that Scotland is well placed to reverse the decline in diversity of animal and plant species in Scotland. As the need for nature is ever more apparent, the way Scotland recovers from Covid-19 could be one important way we secure a nature rich future for generations to come.”

SNH is keen to encourage and support people to develop their interest, learn more and get involved in nature. Top tips to help everyone continue to make space for nature in their lives this summer can be found online https://www.nature.scot/scotlands-biodiversity/make-space-nature-summer.

 

Contact information

Name
SNH Media
Email
SNHMEDIA@nature.scot

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

The report ‘Enjoying the outdoors: Outdoor visit behaviour and engagement with nature in Scotland during the Coronavirus lockdown’, produced in association with Scottish Forestry, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Paths for All, can be viewed online: https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-access-and-recreation/increasing-participation/measuring-participation.

Scotland entered the first stage of lockdown following an announcement on the 23rd March 2020, with a number of measures put in place to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

A stay at home message was central, with only essential travel to be undertaken, outdoor visits for exercise limited to one per day and time to be spent only with other household members. This initial stage of lockdown lasted until the 28th May when some rules were relaxed.

Scottish Natural Heritage commissioned a survey of the Scottish adult population to provide an understanding of people’s outdoor visit behaviour and engagement with nature during the initial period of Coronavirus lockdown (23rd March to 28th May 2020). 

Just over 1,000 online interviews were undertaken with a representative sample of adults in Scotland, between 29th May and 5th June 2020.

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. We work to ensure that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot

'S e Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Tha sinn ag obair airson ar n-àrainneachd nàdarra ann an Alba a thoirt am feabhas agus a h-uile duine a bhrosnachadh gus barrachd cùraim a ghabhail dhi. Gus am bi an nàdar air fad ann an Alba – ar prìomh àrainnean is chruthan-tìre, ar n-àiteachan uaine gu lèir is ar gnèithean dùthchasach - air an gleidheadh, air an leasachadh 's a' toirt bhuannachdan dhuinn. 'S e an dleastanas a th' oirnn uile co-chothrom ann an stiùireadh faiceallach ar saoghail nàdarra a ruighinn airson bith-iomadachd a ghleidheadh 's a leasachadh. Airson an tuilleadh fios, tadhail air an làraich-lìn againn aig www.nature.scot/gaelic no lean air Twitter sinn aig https://twitter.com/nature_scot

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