A Daily Dose of Vitamin N in the City

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With no forest or mountain in view I head out into the city centre to find my daily dose of Vitamin N.

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Traffic was heavy and noisy drowning out any possible bird song as I waited to cross the road.

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Soon, however, trees seemed to appear around every corner, a much welcomed sight.

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And it didn’t take me long to come upon my first park of the morning, off the very busy street of Elm Row in Leith Walk (did you know there is over 15o parks in Edinburgh city?)

It was lovely to watch a mother with her two children playing frisbee and an elderly man playing fetch with his dog.

I sat down and wrote a few notes in my copy of Richard Louv’s latest book “Vitamin N”.

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There had been a fierce wind last-night, gifting a carpet of fallen leaves, sticks and branches of varying sizes. Perfect natural material for nature play. Happy to see the park being used by the local community.

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Then something caught my eye. I spotted something right in a corner, at one end of the small park.

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Yeah, to my delight it was a DEN…a wonderful find.

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These parks are not wild places by any means of the imagination, however, for a child, this little corner in the park had become their own little wild space. It is so thrilling to find evidence of nature play even in the busiest of cities. A reminder of how vitally important these green spaces are for both children and adults in our Urban environments.

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Wished I could have met the children who had made the den – then again, for me, imagining their stories and plans as they constructed, is part of the magic of stumbling across hidden treasure like forts or dens. I sat for a while and reminisced about my own den building as a child and the great dens our three children made in our back garden both here in Scotland and in Canada.

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“Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.” – Richard Louv

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Here is a FREE PDF Booklet on how to make a Den and build a Fairy Home – this simple nature play is a wonderful way to get your daily dose of VitaminN

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From the Children and Nature Network notes: 12 PRINCIPLES FOR A NATURE-RICH CITY

3. Nature-rich communities are healthier for children and other living things.
E. O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis holds that humans are genetically hard-wired for an affiliation with the rest of nature. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that greening our cities can be one of the most cost-effective ways of improving public and personal health. Even in densely populated urban neighborhoods, research suggests that accessible nearby nature can lower the symptoms of ADHD among children, improve mental health, enhance the results of physical exercise, lower and reduce overweight and obesity. Public awareness campaigns can promote the health benefits of nearby nature, and boost attendance at local botanical gardens, arboreta, nature centers, parks and trails. Pediatricians and other family medicine practitioners can lead the way. For example, in Washington, D.C., Dr. Robert Zarr not only offers “park prescriptions” to the families of children he treats, but he has worked with local health care professionals to create a database of the city’s parks. Thanks to this database, D.C.-area pediatricians now know where to direct families for a dose of Vitamin N.

You can learn more about the inspiring book VITAMIN N by Richard Louv here.

Remember, den building isn’t just for kids!

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Here is a link to my NATURE ART PROGRAM

Wishing you all a beautiful and creative week, love and peace Marghanita x

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