Outdoor Health Forum 2024

Outdoor Health Forum 2024

April 2023

The 2024 National Outdoor Health Forum was held at Spring Beach Camp on the land and sea country of the Palawa people.  Led by Waka Waka man Luke Mabb, the event was supported by Aboriginal and Maori cultural mentors, who led a powerful Welcome to Country before grounding and holding the event for the full 5 days.

The outdoor health community is a broad church, encompassing First Nations practices, outdoor adventure, bush, eco and occupational therapy and green social work.

A gun team of volunteers worked hard to facilitate over 60 presentations and workshops on a wide range of nature-based health and wellbeing practices (while also managing to feed the masses delicious meals).

The Nature Connection Project popped up our Storytelling Pod and collected a suite of moving stories of connection and healing. I was particularly happy to gather stories from the LGBTQIA+ community who were well represented at the event.

The team, led by Kate Sollis, also reported back on the health and wellbeing benefits revealed through the national nature connection survey.

There are some events that just seem to have a bit of magic about them; and this was one of them. The Keynote Speakers were inspiring and the workshop program diverse, informative and creative.

With music, yoga, surfing, cold dips and dancing on offer, it felt more like an educational  festival than a forum. People seemed to move in a collective rhythm around the site, fires were lit and there was a warm and welcoming atmosphere that put people at ease.

Many thanks to the incredibly hard-working team that created this very special event. It was definitely one of the best forums I have been to.

Author: Jen Sharman 🌼 Photos: Paul Hoelen

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