News Release

Silent Spring


Spring is a time of new relationships and new growth, writes Miles Richardson, a U.K.-based professor of nature connectedness. But over two-thirds of wildlife populations have been lost since 1970. Each year, spring grows quieter. 

MILES RICHARDSON;, @findingnature
    Richardson is a professor of human factors and nature connectedness at the University of Derby. He works on improving the connection between humans and the rest of nature. He blogs at

Richardson spoke to the Institute for Public Accuracy from Staffordshire in the U.K., where spring has begun. “This spring I’ve heard many more blackcaps singing than previous years… the cherry blossoms are starting to emerge.” Richardson says that spring is a crucial season to foster the human-nature bond: “Coming after winter, the colors, sounds and new growth of spring are especially welcome. There’s more light, more opportunity to engage the senses, notice nature’s beauty, the joy, calm and meaning it brings.”

In his blog, Richardson noted that there is a pervasive myth that spending time doing excursions into nature, such as hiking, strengthens a human’s connection to the natural environment. But “when nature is merely a backdrop to recreation,” Richardson said, “it’s less likely that time will be spent engaging with nature… [it] might not involve moments with nature, sensory contact, emotional engagement, care and reflecting on what nature means to you. Developing a close bond with nature is not necessarily about special trips and a part-time relationship, rather simple everyday engagement is important too.” 

Richardson argues that even in urban environments, it is possible to build a close connection with nature. “But for a transformative, deeper change required for a more sustainable future,” structural changes to our cities are necessary. “We’ve found that even in an urban environment, simply noting the good things in nature each day for a week leads to clinically significant improvements in mental health.”