Feel good in the woods - woodland photo walk

Forestry Commission Scotland and Open Aye are hosting a ‘feel good’ woodland photo walk on Thursday 17 May, as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2018. 

Taking place at Pollok Country Park, attendees will have the opportunity to capture spring beginnings and try out new photography techniques to explore creativity, the mind, and the great outdoors.

The event follows Forestry Commission Scotland and Open Aye’s Wellbeing of the Woods (WOW) Project, a series of nature-based participatory photography workshops designed to provide a safe, natural, creative space to help participants improve their own personal sense of wellbeing. 

Over 50 individuals affected by mental health, varying from anxiety, depression and learning difficulties to post traumatic stress disorder, attended a total of 120 sessions at Pollok Country Park. At the end of the WOW project, all participants stated they felt more confident in accessing the woodlands, it had improved their photography and group working skills, thus boosting confidence and self-esteem, as well as helping to break down barriers of isolation and anxiety.   

Becky Duncan of Open Aye said: “Using a woodland setting with participatory photography methods has proven to positively influence people’s own sense of wellbeing. Being out in the calm, natural environment and drawing attention to a specific task can really help focus the mind and boost morale.

“Open Aye has an ongoing interest in how being creative in a natural environment can enhance personal wellbeing, and the WOW project has enabled individuals to discover what wellbeing means to them. The upcoming woodland photo walk is an opportunity for others to test out this proven method during the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, and perhaps encourage them to get outdoors more and reap the benefits of being out in Scotland’s spectacular green spaces.”

Romena Huq, engagement officer at Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

“Getting out and spending time in a natural environment is a great way to clear the mind, boost energy levels and promote more positive thinking.

"We are working to increase awareness and use of urban woodlands amongst local communities and current non-users and get them to consider their local greenspace as a place to go to join activity groups, meet new people and make a positive difference to their health and wellbeing. We are encouraging budding photographers of all abilities to come and join us on the woodland photo walk next week and discover this for themselves.”

Now in its 12th year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is one of Scotland's most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature. The annual festival takes place from 7-27 May 2018, aiming to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

FCS and Open Aye’s woodland photo walk is free to attend as part of the festival; however, booking is essential: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 07903 020 937. Waterproof cameras will be available, but attendees can bring their own equipment. All abilities welcome.  

Event Details
Pollok Country Park
2060 Pollokshaws Road
G43 1AT
Thursday 17 May 2018, 10.30am – 1.30pm

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus bidh e a’ toirt seachad comhairle air poileasaidhean coilltearachd agus air riaghladh. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta as leth Ministearan na h-Alba.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.