Supporting the mental health of young people | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Supporting the mental health of young people

Monday, 7th February 2022

Supporting the mental health of young people
Youth Rangers © Tamara Jewell

Jill Ferguson

Communities and Wildlife Officer at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

In recent years there has been a growing body of evidence to demonstrate the positive effects of spending time in nature on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Research carried out for The Wildlife Trusts into the impact on children, showed an increase in personal wellbeing and health over time, along with an increase in nature connection and high levels of enjoyment. For young people, benefits can include a stronger sense of self, feelings of escape and deeper connection with the human and natural world, along with factors that help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.

At Rye Harbour Nature Reserve we are providing and developing a range of opportunities for children and young people to engage with the rich natural heritage of the reserve, by engaging them with nature-based activities that inspire them to take action for wildlife. Specific outcomes for children and young people embrace the 5 steps to well-being:

  • Connect - Meeting and connecting with new people in a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Be active - Taking part in a range of physical activities, games and practical conservation tasks.
  • Take notice – Enjoying the moment and developing a deeper awareness of the natural world.
  • Keep Learning – Learning about wildlife and developing a range of practical skills.
  • Give – Seeing a tangible difference that their efforts make and celebrating achievements.

Wildlife Watch © Kt Bruce 

Take a look here to find out more about what we do and to book the following activities aimed at children and young people:

  • Nature Babies suitable for babies aged 3 months-18 months
  • Nature Tots for 3-5 year olds
  • Wildlife Watch for 5-11 year olds
  • Wildlife Rangers for 12–16 year olds
  • Youth Rangers 16-25 year olds - register an interest in by contacting [email protected]

Many of these activities are supported by our National Lottery Heritage Fund and so are free, or very low cost for participants.

For more information on the five steps to wellbeing see here 


This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

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