Through the Eyes of She: Exploring Women's Stewardship and Connection to Nature Using Mindfulness and Photo Elicitation in Newfoundland and Labrador Parks and Protected Areas

Authors

  • Laura Bass Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • T.A. Loeffler Memorial University of Newfoundland

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2023-11657

Keywords:

mindfulness, women, barriers, photo elicitation, nature

Abstract

Urbanization contributes to a collective disconnection from nature and an increase in mental health-related illnesses. Women were the focus for this research, as they disproportionately experience anxiety, depression, phobias, and comorbidity of conditions. This qualitative study investigated the mental health benefits of practicing mindfulness in nature, and its influence on stewardship in Newfoundland and Labrador Parks and Protected areas. Feminist narrative inquiry and semi-structured interviews were used to explore ten women’s stories from parks and nature-based experiences. Drawing on the influences of attention restoration theory and mindfulness, this research used photo elicitation to explore natural features that provoked feelings of mindfulness. Barriers to participation were gender-related issues including fear, ethic of care, and financial and time constraints. Participation was facilitated by relationships, community, empowerment, and green exercise. Practicing mindfulness in natural spaces influenced feelings of deeper connection and environmental stewardship.

 

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Published

2023-09-04

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Section

Regular Papers