Nature and Happiness in Georgetown

Nature and Happiness Sensitisation Exercise in the Botanical Gardens

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, April 21, 2019

In the Botanical Gardens on Sunday, representatives of Conservation International, Guyana embarked on the task of spreading awareness of the importance of nature to the wellbeing of people, through a series of activities.

Jess Fisher, a student of the University of Kent, UK, spearheaded this event. She noted that the aim of the exercise was basically to “connect people living in Guyana with nature because it is significant to their health and well-being”. Fisher further explained that the more people interact with nature, the more mental and physical health benefits they can derive from the interaction.

The Nature and Happiness exercise comprised four (4) activities. The first involved a graffiti board where participants either wrote a word or drew an image they thought represented nature in Georgetown.

The second task involved participants identifying ‘hotspots’ in the Botanical Gardens that they found beautiful, relaxing and historical.

The third activity – a scavenger hunt – required those participating to use the Action Bound App to hunt throughout the Botanical gardens in search of various types of wildlife and conduct several activities.

One citizen, who completed the hunt, said that she had to record a bird chirping. Notably, the top three (3) persons who completed the hunt with the most points were awarded prizes.

The fourth activity involved persons identifying various wildlife in the botanical gardens. The names of the animals were noted on the ‘Wildlife Tally Board’.

Fisher said her team was also collecting and recording the feedback from the participants. The persons who offered feedback and those who participated in the scavenger hunt received pledge pins which symbolised a commitment to persevering nature and the environment. One participant noted that the initiative was an “excellent” idea and she hopes that there are more in the future.

Fisher is affiliated with several international organisations and worked through Conservation International (CI) to collaborate with the Department of Environment to conduct the Nature and Happiness event.

Also, Fisher is conducting her doctoral study, based on the effects of wildlife bio-diversity on the well-being of people, in Guyana. Consequently, Sunday’s event is a part of the two-year-long study which in its early phases involved interviewing over one-thousand Guyanese.

Additionally, a ‘Get to know your Botanical Gardens’ sign was erected on Thursday, April 18, 2019, as part of the study. Notably, Fisher mentioned that the main sponsors of the Sign and the project are British Ecological Society, Global Challenges Research Fund, Economic and Social Research Council (UK) and the Natural Environment Research Council (UK).

Onika Bobb.

Image: Marceano.