• "We've been exploring and adventuring." A investigation into young people's engagement with a semi wild, disused space

      Hallam, Jenny; Gallagher, Laurel; Harvey, Caroline; University of Derby (APA, 2019-10-24)
      This paper uses ethnography to explore young people’s engagement with an intervention run by Feral Spaces which was designed to promote a meaningful connection to a disused space. Over the course of three sessions, each lasting two hours, seven young people aged between 11 and 12 years old took part in a range of den building activities in a semi-wild area which was local to them. The sessions were recorded using audio and video equipment and an inductive thematic analysis informed by a realist framework was used to analyse the naturalistic data collected. The analysis presents four themes - engaging with the environment, developing a sense of awe and wonder, respect and attachment to the space and a sense of belonging which map out the young people’s growing connection to nature evidenced during the intervention. Within each of these themes the young people’s experiences are discussed in relation to theory of biophilia and the pathways to nature model in order to evaluate their relevance for researchers and practitioners who seek to understand children’s connection with nature and promote it. Furthermore, the positive relationships and emotions experienced during the intervention are explored. It is argued that the community-based intervention developed the young people’s understandings of the natural world and their confidence to engage with it in a personally meaningful way. This had positive implications in terms of supporting the young people’s wellbeing.