Nature, the road to a good life
Since 2005, the Bikuben Foundation has worked with nature development and nature experience in the Svanninge Bjerge area, located in southern Funen. Over the years, we have become increasingly focused on the potential of nature in connection with socially vulnerable people. This resulted in Nature, the road to a good life, an initiative specifically targeted at vulnerable young people from across Denmark. These young people may have grown up in families with alcohol abuse, been placed in out-of-home care, or they may be in need of an alternative to ordinary schools and other educational institutions.
Staying at the Svanninge Bjerge resort
Together with the surrounding nature of Svanninge Bjerge, the former game-keeper's cottage Knagelbjerghus constitutes the framework for the courses we provide in collaboration with our partners. The house, equipped with modern conveniences, accommodates up to 30 people. There is also a campfire shelter, which has been built in close proximity to the house. Svanninge Bjerge offers considerable natural diversity with linked experience potential. Other than the physical framework, we also provide nature interpreters, both in connection with the actual stay and for the practice-development programmes we organise in collaboration with our partners.
What is it that nature does?
Nature facilitates unique opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, as well as the stimulation of curiosity and creativity. Further studies have proved nature to be a potential healing mediator, facilitating space for physical stress-reduction and mental tranquillity. The objective of Nature, the road to a good life is to gain more insight into how activities and being in natural surroundings during long-term programmes may enhance young people's capacities for coping with social and mental challenges.
From its inception in 2014 until the spring of 2016, when the initiative was targeted at both children and young people, Nature, the road to a good life was monitored by the analysis and consultancy enterprise Rådgivende Sociologer.
READ THEIR EVALUATION REPORT, DATED MAY 2016, HERE (in Danish only)
Today, quite a number of various initiatives use nature as a tool in programmes focused on vulnerable young people. However, in terms of documentation and research, this is a very young and uncharted field. With Nature, the road to a good life we wish to obtain more positive knowledge about the effects of involving nature in work with vulnerable young people and – more specifically – about what works for which target groups. This is why we collaborate with organisations and municipalities, collectively developing practices, acquiring knowledge and facilitating networking between the parties. In order to bring practice development into sharp focus, we have entered into closer collaborative relationships with the participants involved in the programme: Askovhus, Børnehjælpsdagen (The Children's Aid Foundation), the municipality Faaborg-Midtfyn Kommune and TUBA. Askovhus has specialised in providing therapy and offering accommodation to young people, and TUBA provides therapy and consulting for young people who are children of parents with alcohol abuse.
Would it be possible for me to participate, as a private individual, in 'Nature, the road to a good life'?
We do not set up conducted tours for private persons within the framework of Nature, the road to a good life. We enter into partnerships with organisations and municipalities using nature as an element in educational or therapeutic programmes for vulnerable young people.
Yes, if you are an organisation working with vulnerable young people, we can offer tours of about 6 hours' duration or a stay in 'Knagelbjerghus'. Our facilities can also provide the framework for practice-development programmes targeted at your staff.
We do not provide financial support for this kind of initiative. However, if a cooperative relationship is established, we do make the nature resort and its facilities and staff available.
Biologist and project manager 'Nature, the road to a good life'.
a partnership focused on 'Nature,
the road to a good life'?
We are always pleased to be contacted about partnerships from organisations and municipalities that show an interest in participation in the development of programmes targeted at nature and the work with vulnerable young people, and who want to share their knowledge. Contact us for more information, and provide a description of your target group and desires.