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Improved Wellbeing for Both Caretakers and Users from A Zoo-Related Nature Based Intervention-A Study at Nordens Ark Zoo, Sweden

By E. Sahlin, B. Johansson, P. O. Karlsson, J. Loberg, M. Niklasson, P. Grahn

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Abstract

Nature-based interventions have been proposed to promote physical and mental health and give stress reduction. Little attention has been given to the potential of zoos for human health and wellbeing. A disadvantaged group in Sweden regarding access to nature are individuals with disabilities who consequently do not have the same access to these health benefits as other groups. To increase awareness and knowledge regarding spending time in nature and with animals, courses directed at caretakers for persons with disabilities and their users were held at Nordens Ark, a zoo in Sweden. To explore if the courses had led to increased nature activities, and if participating in the courses had affected caretakers' and their users' health and wellbeing, questionnaires and interviews for evaluating the courses were used. The results showed improved quality in nature visits because of course participation as well as positive effects for the wellbeing, sustainability for the caregivers and users in their working lives, and relationships were positively affected. The conclusion from this study is that nature and animal-based education should be more frequent to provide opportunities for a disadvantaged group to have the positive effects of nature of which most other groups have obvious access to.

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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Caregivers
  3. Disabilities
  4. Family
  5. Health status
  6. Human-animal interactions
  7. Humans
  8. Males
  9. Mental health and well-being
  10. Nature
  11. Outdoor Education
  12. parks
  13. surveys
  14. sustainability
  15. Sweden