Home · January 2015 Newsletter
January 2015 Newsletter

Nestlé Waters and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust teamed up in September 2014 to launch Get Better with Nature, a campaign dedicated to helping raise awareness of the value of nature and the two-way relationship supporting health and wellbeing for communities and society. We wanted to encourage people to make a positive difference literally, and figuratively, in their own backyards and have been piloting the campaign in Buxton, Derbyshire.

Over the year we did this by combining learning materials with open forums for discussion and conservation events involving local schools, individuals, community groups as well as Nestlé Waters and Wildlife Trust employees. Get Better with Nature is collaborative and long-term in approach and focus, aiming to get people to be more informed about local environmental and community issues that can affect them, and encourage them to make a positive difference literally, and figuratively, in their own backyards.

As the home to some of the country’s most bio-diverse environments and endangered wildlife, and renowned for its natural mineral water, the Buxton area was selected as the UK pilot site following research that showed that 93% of local Buxton residents understood the value of nature to society and health, but that nearly two-thirds of respondents thought this appreciation was being lost between generations.

The Buxton pilot included the following elements:

  • Education and Action programme
  • Day of Action
  • Community Forum
  • Campaign Website

Our work to date with local schools, the Council and national environmental charities has reflected these objectives well.

Although it’s only been a few months, we’re pleased to say that the campaign has been able to make a tangible, positive impact in the community, from the creation of a new wet meadowland in the heart of Buxton to developing an education programme with 90 primary school children. It’s been a great start for Get Better with Nature and we’re eager to build on this in the years ahead.

This inaugural Get Better with Nature newsletter is a recap of news and events from the campaign and will keep you updated on its progress and successes as it gets set to ripple out across the country in the years ahead.

From the team at Get Better with Nature, thanks for being a part of this year’s campaign and helping us to reach some really great milestones! We look forward to an exciting 2015!

Yours truly,

The Get Better with Nature Team



Education programme

In order to encourage long-term attitude and behaviour change towards the value and benefits of nature, we worked with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s education team to design learning material and a tailored teaching programme aimed at engaging younger supporters through a combination of classroom learning and interactive, hands-on activities.

To trial the approach, we partnered with three local Buxton primary schools (Buxton Junior School, Burbage Primary School and Dove Holes Primary), then shared learning and educational resources on the Get Better with Nature website.

The Education Programme involved three stages of activities:

Site visits

Our site visit initiative saw school children visit a local nature site to learn about their local environment and wildlife first hand, and discover how they can benefit from nature. Guided by instructors from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the pupils took part in a wildlife observation activity – “a minibeast hunt” – which introduced the children to the wildlife, habitats and water life around Buxton

In-school visits

Through a series of in school visits, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust helped run an interactive lesson entitled “It’s our world too!” which explored local wildlife and species and was designed to teach pupils about their natural environment, how it benefits them and what they can do to protect and appreciate its value.

Day of Action

Schoolchildren from all three partner schools also took part in our inaugural Buxton Community ‘Day of Action’ which marked the end of our education programme. The pupils got involved in a whole range of conservation activities managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, “river dipping” as well as creating a brand new habitat zone and an enormous “Get Better with Nature” art piece made from natural materials found on-site

For more information about the Get Better with Nature’s education programme and how you might do something similar in your home or class, get in touch with us at enquiries@getbetterwithnature.co.uk

Education programme 2

Day of Action

In October 2014, we organised a Buxton Community Day of Action in order to help Nestlé Waters employees, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust supporters, local schoolchildren and residents understand how interacting with nature can have physical, mental and social benefits.

Hosted in partnership with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and High Peak Borough Council, the Day of Action helped participants to understand the importance and value of nature for their own health and wellbeing by undertaking a number of interactive, hands-on activities which included:

  • Habitat Enhancement – aimed at preparing a site in Buxton’s central park for the growth of wetland meadows, volunteers removed invasive wildlife species and cleared away organic material to open up more areas to new plant and wildlife species.
  • Habitat Creation – once the site had been prepared, volunteers planted almost 600 bluebell and wild garlic bulbs along with other meadow plants to foster wetland meadow growth nearest to the riverbank, with a grassland meadow also planted nearby to create a complementary ecosystem.
  • Wildlife observation and natural art creation – in order to better understand how interacting with nature and wildlife can positively affect us, both physically and mentally, participants took part in a number of interactive activities such as wildlife observation and natural art creation, even making a 39m2 Get Better with Nature logo using natural material found on-site. Two additional pieces of nature-inspired artwork depicting dewpond and meadow habitats were also created by children from Burbage Primary, Buxton Junior and Dove Holes primary schools. These were hung in Pavilion Gardens for three weeks to stand as a reminder of the day’s activities and achievements.

The army of volunteers were joined by Andrew Bingham MP as well as High Peak Borough Councillors Jean Todd, Linda Baldry, Keith Savage and Lynn Stone who rolled up their sleeves and whipped on their wellies to get stuck in the day’s activities.

For more information about the Get Better with Nature’s Day of Action activity and how you might do something similar in your own community, get in touch with us at enquiries@getbetterwithnature.co.uk

Title Shot

Community Forum

In November 2014, the campaign held a Community Forum in Buxton aimed at engaging and empowering residents and other stakeholders to make a positive contribution to their local community and natural environment.

We invited leading speakers and organisations from the worlds of nature conservation, academia and business to share case studies and information that would spark around the range of nature’s many benefits.

The Community Forum also unveiled the Get Better with Nature Community Fund, a new grant awarding one-off, small grants up to £1000 which will support initiatives in the High Peak Borough of Derbyshire. Launching in early 2015, we hope that this funding will help to deliver a real impact to people’s understanding and appreciation of nature’s benefits to health and wellbeing, communities and business.

We were fortunate to have some fantastic speakers who shared ideas, case studies and information to help guide discussions. With over 30 guests in the audience, including representatives from Rural Action Derbyshire, MIND, The Scouts, the local NHS trust and the National Park Authority, a very lively discussion was had that night about the range of benefits nature can have.

Panel speakers included:

  • Rob Fitzsimmons, Head of Development at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust – who discussed the Trust’s work with UK charity MIND on the Ecominds project, which has used conservation, horticulture and wildlife gardening activities to improve participants’ mental health and wellbeing.
  • Jan Flamank, Wild at Heart Coordinator at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust – who discussed the Trust’s ‘Wild at Heart’ project, which has used wildlife-related activities for older people and other vulnerable and isolated adults to improve their health and wellbeing, reduce isolation and give them to confidence to re-engage with the community.
  • Paul Gately PhD – Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University – who discussed his academic research that supports the benefits of nature on health and wellbeing.
  • Inder Poonaji, Head of Sustainability at Nestlé – who discussed the business benefits of valuing nature and how Nestlé Waters looks to create shared value for its business and for society – whether it’s promoting careful water stewardship to sustainably using and protecting unique water sources.

Applications for the grant will be available in the new year. Information on the grant will be hosted on the website in due course, with any questions or interested applicants asked to register their interest at enquiries@getbetterwithnature.co.uk.

Community Forum

Looking Ahead

Just three months in, it has been a busy and productive first year for the Get Better with Nature campaign. We are encouraged by the progress of the campaign to date and look forward to building on our work and reaching even more parts of the country in 2015 and beyond.

If you want to know more about the campaign, are interested in future events or are looking to see how else you can get involved, email us at enquiries@getbetterwithnature.co.uk.

We are also interested to hear from you if you would like to host relevant news and events on our website.