Growing up in rural Somerset, straddled between the Levels and the Mendips, I had the opportunity to build a close relationship with its diverse landscape and inhabitants. Whilst these natural spaces remained a great interest of mine, due to personal experiences and the lack of sufficient healthcare networks and services in Somerset at the time, I moved (close by) to study Pathology and Microbiology (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) at the University of Bristol. Working through the School of Social and Community Medicine, I started focussing on social and wider determinants in health, the microbiome and illness prevention.
Following this, I worked for a variety of charitable, non-governmental and community organisations in Bristol, Thailand and Nicaragua, which focussed on community development, food sovereignty, environmental conservation and healthcare. I continued to get involved with tree planting, community food growing and facilitating access to natural spaces with people, where I started to see the benefits, which I may, myself, have taken for granted. Most recently, I completed my masters in Anthropology at the University of Bristol; this developed into a co-created applied research project funded by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute. I worked at an inner city farm with 18-25 year olds exploring loneliness, emotional wellbeing and the natural world during pandemic restrictions.
My interests within this include how humans, as part of the natural world, make lives alongside others, and how we can further health and wellbeing initiatives taking into account environmental understandings.
I joined WWT in March 2021 as part of the ‘Green Recovery Challenge Fund’, supporting primarily the co-design and delivery of a wetlands-based health and wellbeing programme at Steart Marshes in Sedgemoor, Somerset. Additionally, this works closely with the Mental Health Foundation to develop an online, nature-based mental health self-management course, embracing co-production. This compliments and is informed by the research WWT undertake surrounding the relationship between wetlands and human health and wellbeing. The larger project supports the safeguarding of Somerset’s coast, focussing on nature-based solutions to climate change, involving within this nature-based health and wellbeing pathways in healthcare service provision.