30×30 Nature Challenge participants doubled time in nature, increased happiness
TORONTO - In May, more than 10,000 Canadians and over 250 workplaces participated in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge. The national program challenged participants to commit to getting out into nature for 30 minutes a day for consecutive days.
Today, the Foundation released results from research into the impact the challenge had on participants’ health and well-being and connection to nature, conducted by Trent University Researcher Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet.
“We found that participants in the 30×30 Nature Challenge almost doubled their time spent outside during the month and reduced their screen time by about 4.5 hours per week,” said Dr Nisbet. “They reported significant increases in their sense of well-being, feeling more vitality and energy, while feelings of stress, negativity, and sleep disturbances were all reduced.”
The research found that in addition to increased time spent outdoors and a positive overall experience, participants also reported a slightly stronger sense of identification with the natural world and desire to spend time in nature. Workplace participants also reported an added benefit of feeling more productive on the job. And although participants varied in terms of how much they were able to spend time in nature, it was clear that the more nature contact people had, the more they reported being happier and connected with nature.
“We were ecstatic that thousands of Canadians joined us in getting out for their daily dose of nature,” said spokesperson Aryne Sheppard of the David Suzuki Foundation. “And it is encouraging that just a few additional hours in nature each week has such a positive effect on well-being.”
Many participants reported feeling happier, just by having lunch outside or walking through a park. For some, nature contact was already a regular part of their daily routine, but others noted that making the effort each day eventually became an enjoyable new habit.
“Most encouragingly, the results demonstrate that even in our busy daily lives, it is possible to find time to get outside and experience the many benefits from regular nature contact,” continued Sheppard. “Green time is possible, even in the city.”
The results are consistent with a growing body of evidence that even brief nature contact enhances positive mood and reduces stress responses. Getting outside into nature is a relatively easy, low-cost way to promote physical and mental health.
The 30×30 Nature Challenge was presented in partnership with Genuine Health, with generous support from Cisco Systems Canada, Interface Canada, Harvest Power, the Arcangelo Rea Family Foundation and Nature’s Path Foods. CBC Live Right Now supported the 30×30 Nature Challenge through its Get Outside campaign at LiveRightNow.ca.
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For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org or contact: Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation (Toronto) cell.647 456 9752 | firstname.lastname@example.org
THE 30×30 NATURE CHALLENGE
- The David Suzuki Foundation challenged Canadians to join the 30×30 Nature Challenge and committing to spend 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days in May 2013.
- They received tips for how to add nature to their daily routine through the 30×30 website, hashtag #30×30challenge and David Suzuki Foundation social media (@davidsuzukiFDN and www.facebook.com/davidsuzuki)
- Participants were eligible for weekly prizes through the 30×30 Photo Contest and a grand prize if they completed the pre and post-challenge surveys.
THE 30×30 NATURE CHALLENGE SURVEY
- As part of the 30×30 Nature Challenge, the David Suzuki Foundation worked with researcher Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet from the University of Trent to analyze how time in nature affected well-being by conducting participant surveys before and after the challenge.
- The survey was designed to measure changes in well-being and subjective connectedness with nature.
- The findings of the report can be found here
KEY FINDINGS OF 30×30 SURVEY
- The number of hours spent outdoors almost doubled during the challenge, to approximately 8.5 hours per week.
- Participants reduced time spent watching television time by about 2 hours per week and spent about 2.5 fewer hours per week surfing the internet or emailing.
- Participants varied in terms of how much they were able to spend time in nature but in general, rates of nature contact increased and well-being also increased. Participants who developed a stronger connection with nature over the study also reported more improvements in happiness.
- There were significant increases on all indicators of well-being after completing the challenge, including feeling more vitality and energy, and a greater sense of calm and peacefulness. Feelings of stress, negativity, and sleep disturbances were all reduced.
- Participants varied in terms of how much they were able to spend time in nature, but the more nature contact people had, the more they reported being happier and connected with nature.
30×30 NATURE CHALLENGE PARTNERS
- Genuine Health
- Cisco Systems Canada
- Interface Canada
- Harvest Power
- The Arcangelo Rea Family Foundation
- Nature’s Path Foods
- Bullfrog Power
- Usability Matters
- CBC LiveRightNow.ca
Are you sleeping better at night? Feeling calm and less stressed? You are not alone. After participating in the 30×30 Nature Challenge last month, more than ten thousand folks across the country are reaping themany benefits of more time spent in nature.
One of the happiest participants is probably Sarah T. from Victoria, B.C. This lucky triathlete didn’t just add a daily dose of nature to her routine; she won the 30×30 Grand Prize Pack from Genuine Health for completing both our pre and post-challenge surveys.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the preliminary results from our researchers at the University of Trent indicate that participants almost doubled their time spent in nature. And at the end of the month they reported sleeping better and feeling more calm and less stressed.
Stay tuned for more findings. And in case you missed the webinar with researcher Dr Elisabeth Nisbet earlier this week, we will be posting it on the 30×30 Nature Challenge website later this week.
Now that you’ve completed the 30×30 Nature Challenge, we want to know how your new nature habit made you feel.
If you filled out an initial 30×30 Challenge survey, you will receive an email from our partner researchers at Trent University asking you to complete a closing survey.
Folks that have completed both pre and post-challenge surveys will be entered into a draw for the 30×30 Grand Prize from our friends at Genuine Health.
Then stay tuned. We’ll release the results of that research in a few weeks.
Link to the survey: https://trentu.qualtrics.com/WRQualtricsSurveyEngine/?Q_SS=eeZlflKj2uhaHGZ_cGbSNTKRkSFxyWV&_=1
Please fill out by June 4th for your chance to be entered into the grand prize 30×30 draw!
My name is Dave and I’m addicted to nature. Having completed my 30×30 Challenge, I am now proudly reconnected with nature and won’t be looking back. I’ve reprised my role as the official David Suzuki Foundation garden gnome. No more locked storage closets for me! Booyah!
But the challenge wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I had my own “challenges” with the 30×30 Challenge. With a tight project deadline and catching the flu, I missed two of my 30 days in nature. Despite the imperfect record, however, I have had life-changing experiences and have become a better gnome – calmer, more joyous and even a little bit smarter. (Yes, it’s true. Time in nature improves your brain function!)
And for the last week of the challenge, the adventurous David Suzuki Foundation staff held 30×30 outings at work. As a result, I got to take part in a bird-watching walking tour, crafted clay tree spirits, learned how to become a professional beekeeper and even went for an eagle-scouting bike ride down the seawall. It’s been a wild ride!
As for the 30×30 staff challenge, the results are in. And the winner is — drum roll, please — the Whaley Awesome team! It was extremely close, but my team managed to slide ahead and take first prize. Here are the final results:
Final Scores for 30×30 Staff Challenge
||Wal ‘R Us
||Heroes-in-a half shell – turtle power!
||Stealthy Night Warriors
||Roller Polar Bears
NOTE: The percentage scores represent team participation in nature over the past 30 days. Bonus points were awarded for organizing outdoor events, which account for scores greater than 100 per cent.
Parry from Calgary, AB is the winner of the final week in the 30×30 Photo Contest.
From forest expeditions to wine tours, I’ve really enjoyed the 30×30 adventure. I wonder, though, how has getting into nature affected others? Hmmm…Share your experiences by filling out the post-30×30 survey (sent to your email if you signed up for 30×30) so we can find out. When you fill out the survey, you’ll also be invited to join me for a webinar on June 10 to hear how other Canadians and gnomes responded to the survey, and what we experienced from spending time in nature. What will the results be? Make sure to tune in to find out!
Signing off from the David Suzuki Foundation garden,
Dave the Gnome
Parry is the winner of the final week in the 30×30 Nature Challenge Photo Contest, with the theme Finding Peace in Nature.
Over the past month, over 10,000 Canadians took to the great outdoors for a daily dose of nature. The stories and photos they sent us were inspiring. Our final weekly 30×30 photo contest winner is Parry from Calgary, AB. Check out the runners up and other great shots in our 30×30 Facebook album.
As our final challenge, we encourage everyone to log their minutes on CBC Live Right Now’s 30×30 minute counter. We’re at 420,000 minutes already. Together let’s log half million minutes outside!
For everyone that participated, we want to know how your new nature habit made you feel?
If you filled out an initial 30×30 Challenge survey, you will receive an email from our partner researchers at Trent University over the next few days, asking you to complete a closing survey. Folks who do will be entered into a draw for the 30×30 Grand Prize from our friends at Genuine Health. We’ll release the results of that research in a few weeks.
Congratulations to all the 30×30 nature lovers, and thanks again from all of us at the David Suzuki Foundation. Have a happy, healthy summer in nature!
The David Suzuki Foundation team