Representing a horticultural ‘River of Life’, the installation is designed to encourage visitors to reflect upon their experiences with nature.

Exeter-Eden garden exhibit opens

An exciting research initiative culminates at the Eden Project this week, with the opening of a new exhibit in the attraction’s outdoor gardens.

Representing a horticultural ‘River of Life’, the installation is designed to encourage visitors to reflect upon their experiences with nature and how these can change over time.

It has been inspired by a research collaboration between the University of Exeter, Eden Project and Cornish Artist, James Eddy.

The researchers behind the project want to understand how people interact with environmental attractions like the Eden Project and are inviting visitors to help by using the mobile app ‘ramblr’ to map their route around the site – adding photos and videos at points they find interesting.

Dr Sarah Bell from the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health is leading the pilot study and said: “We know that spending time in natural environments can be good for people but environmental ‘experiences’ can vary substantially; a specific sight, sound or smell might conjure memories or a sense of connection, whilst others elicit little conscious response at all. This pilot study aims to consider how mobile applications might give us new perspectives on these experiences, how they vary over people’s lives, and how they affect a visitor’s journey at Eden.”

By learning more about how these processes work, the team are hoping their work might be used to help boost people’s health, happiness and wellbeing when in natural environments.

Lucy Wenger, Skilled Horticulturalist at the Eden Project said: “Eden is a fantastic place to experience both familiar and new environments. We hope this project will help us maximise wellbeing benefits for visitors while at Eden and provide evidence for managing other outdoor spaces.”

The ‘River of Life’ exhibit will be open and evolving throughout 2016. If you have any questions or would like to take part in the pilot study, please get in touch with Sarah at Sarah.Bell@exeter.ac.uk.

More information about the ‘Landscapes of the Life Course’ initiative is available on the European Centre for Environment and Human Health website.

Date: 29 March 2016

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