“Blue” Versus “Green” Nature Spaces: Can different nature areas benefit people in different ways?

Huron County native Danielle Lachance is a Master’s candidate in the psychology program at Trent, under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Nisbet.
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Research shows that spending time in natural environments promotes both human AND environmental health! 

Unfortunately, people are spending less time in nature than they ever have when compared to previous generations.

This is due to increased screen-time on electronic devices, like televisions, tablets, laptops and smartphones, as well as the increasing amount of people living in cities (where nature areas are not always as accessible).

We need to get people BACK OUTSIDE enjoying nature because of ALL the amazing benefits that nature has on our overall well-being!! Contact with nature has been shown to reduce stress, aggression, anxiety, and depression, and enhance positive emotions, vitality, concentration, short-term memory, and life satisfaction.

Spending more time in either “Green Spaces” or “Blue Spaces” can make us happier, calmer and more focused.

  1. Green Spaces” – spaces rich with vegetation, such as trees and other plant life
  2. Blue Spaces” – areas with natural water elements, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans. 

Current research shows that people tend to prefer Blue Spaces over Green Spaces – but research comparing how these different environments contribute to well-being is currently limited.

Can different nature areas benefit people in different ways? 

Danielle’s research aims to address this gap!

This is important because people who feel a stronger connection with the natural environment (either blue/green spaces) not only spend more time in it, but they are also more likely to care for and protect it.

Therefore, Danielle’s research can provide insight to help increase people’s connection with nature for both human and environmental health!

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Danielle has been asking Trent students about their impressions and observations of different outdoor spaces on campus. During guided walks, students observe and learn about some of the features of the natural environment and a few local species.

Her research is currently ongoing, but so far, students appear to be interested and curious to know more about aspects of nature they encounter on the walks!

Most people have access to nature and spending time in it is an easy, cost-effective, and a fast-acting way to help relieve everyday stresses and restore mood and attention.

Increasing people’s connection with nature may encourage more people to experience nature’s benefits while increasing their desire to protect it.

Knowing whether certain elements of nature can have a greater influence on  our overall well-being can help:

  • Inform people where best to spend their time
  • Make a case for which areas should be made more accessible
  • Lead to additional conservation efforts

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Danielle says,

“My experience at Trent has been very welcoming and rewarding. The encouragement and support I’ve received from my supervisor, other faculty members, my colleagues in the program, and students in the Nature Relatedness lab has been outstanding! My supervisor’s passion and enthusiasm has been a constant source of inspiration. It’s also been an incredible pleasure to connect with other researchers in the field and to work and study on such a beautiful campus!”


Thank you so much Danielle for sharing your amazing research project with us!

trentu

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