The need to reconnect with nature

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Many children and young people do not have the opportunity to engage with nature and the environment. In recent years, with the rapid increase in the use of electronic devices and social media, young minds are not interacting with nature; which is proven statistically to be beneficial to well being and health.

These factors have had negative implications on the quality of life, affecting both mental and physical health and resulting in adverse consequences in terms of cost to individuals, the NHS and society as a whole. In fact, in Wales it has been estimated that 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem (Office for National Statistics). Moreover, the overall cost of mental health problems in Wales is estimated to be £7.2 billion a year and by 2020 it has been stated that mental ill health related problems will be second to heart disease as the leading contributor to the global burden of disease (WHO Mental Health Publications)

At Between The Trees 2018 we have activities that will encourage festivalgoers to engage with the wonders of nature through science, environmental art, and spoken word. We will also be showing the film “TAWAI” which is the word the nomadic hunter-gatherers of Borneo use to describe their inner feeling of connection to nature. In this dreamy, philosophical and sociological look at life, explorer Bruce Parry travels the world to learn from people living lives very different to our own. From the jungles of Malaysia to the tributaries of the Amazon, TAWAI is a quest for reconnection, providing a powerful voice from the heart of the forest itself. We hope the experience will enthuse and re-kindle an interest in the natural world on our doorstep.

The festival is situated adjacent to Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve, which is a recognized Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The unique sandy coastal environment is home for a variety of rare and beautiful butterflies, insects reptiles and birds. It also boasts a huge diversity of plant and fungus species. The forest itself has over 200 different tree species and there will be plenty of time to explore its rich biodiversity as well as enjoy interactive natural science exhibitions.

As well as learning new and interesting facts about nature and creating land art we hope the experience will improve your mood, well being and leave you feeling restored and inspired as you are entertained by some incredible original musicians in an atmospheric forest setting.