On Mental Health Week 2021, this year’s theme is #ConnectwithNature. Research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation showed that in the past year, going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% reported that being in green spaces was vital for our mental health. Fortunately, Truro School is in a part of the world surrounded by vast greenery and open seas all on our doorstep.
With Covid restrictions relaxing, last weekend the first DofE expedition of the year was able to go ahead, exploring the old mining trail from Devoran to Portreath, a route that wonderfully intertwines manmade mine ruins with the natural landscape, and is steeped in history at every stop. The School’s Outdoor Pursuits department is entirely dedicated to this very idea of spending time amongst our natural world, whether that’s conquering the steepest tor and jumping over boggy moorland, or learning to put up a tent in challenging weather. These DofE and Ten Tors challenges are proven ways to getting back to basics connecting with nature.
Here on the school site, our grounds are blessed with fields that stretch out into the countryside, dotted with pockets of green areas which the estates team are dedicated to making the most of, creating a colourful, natural haven and welcoming environment around every corner. The school crest created from flowers, flower beds lining the steps, and planting trees for a new generation, are just part of the gardeners’ busy schedule of planting species by the season.
Tom, one of the groundsman team, said: “Being outdoors gives you time to think and be away from the distractions and pings on your device. The influence of nature’s sounds, colours, and smells are massively important on your wellbeing and a good garden should stimulate all these senses, which is why we invest so much time in planting a diverse range of plants and trees. For example, the newly sowed native wildflower meadows will provide a habitat for small mammals and invertebrates and will boost biodiversity. Species include wild carrot, corn cockle, birds foot trefoil, meadowsweet, and corn marigold which are all important for our native butterflies and bees.”
Elsewhere, be-loved school dog Bumble is over a year into his role as a support companion. Bumble is often used by staff and pupils to go for a walk on site during the school day. Mrs Flowers, learning support teacher and Bumble’s owner, commented: “Even just gentle exercise like walking and fresh air gives people time to process the day and take a breath.”
In addition, Mrs Flowers is now offering early morning dog walks every Wednesday with the two of them around Tresillian, providing a chance to get in some fresh air and canine fulfilment to start your day.
It’s important to remember that although Mental Health Week is a week, it is never too late to connect with our natural surroundings and a slice of nature can be integrated to your daily routine. For top tips, visit the Mental Health Foundation website.