The Biophilia Project was born to offer access to a variety of outdoor experiences, built around self-led initiatives. Created with the wellbeing of the children in mind, this project wants to create opportunities to explore, learn and connect with oneself, nature and others.

What can we help you with:

  • organizing and supporting child-led play session in nature (Explore and Play)
  • organizing and leading forest school sessions
  • creating and planning outdoor learning opportunities

The Biophilia Project was born in response to the need for a change in culture

The term “nature-deficit disorder” has been created by the American author Richard Louv to describe possible negative consequences to individual health and the social fabric as children move indoors and away from physical contact with the natural world – particularly unstructured experience.

Also, according to MIT professor and researcher Sherry Turkle, modern technology and devices interfere with conversations, empathy, imagination, patience, resilience, inner life and mental health.
As inner resources and empathy decline, depression, anxiety, and stress are soaring.

In these modern days, where technology and media are changing our lifestyle and undermining our capacity to maintain our wellbeing, nature can play a very important role.

Studies show that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension, respiratory tract, and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefits issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety, and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue. But more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety.

In a sentence: the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.

Technology and media are undoubtedly changing our lifestyle.  In recent years we have seen an unprecedented climb in use of social media which together with text messaging have become an integral part of how individuals interact with their social groups.
Children are amongst the ones that are the most affected with low levels of physical activity observed in the US and the UK (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002;Reilly et al., 2004). A UK study of 6,500 children aged seven to eight, found that only 51% achieved the recommended hour of physical activity each day. Another study revealed that the average British child gets their first mobile phone aged around 12, but nearly one in 10 has one by the age of five. Similarly, a 2008 study in Spain found that just 48% of six to 18 years old did at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

In such articulated times, where human connections and virtual connections are merging in a vortix of new paradigms not yet clearly defined, the best thing we can do is to find a balance between the two worlds.

Time spent outdoors is one of the most consistent predictors of children’s physical activity (Sallis et al., 2000). Among primary school- aged children, active free-play  that takes place outdoors in the child’s free time may potentially be the major contributor to children’s physical activity (Burdette et al., 2004)

The solution is very simple and unfolds through a few simple steps: slow down, unwind and enjoy some free and relaxed time in green spaces.

Research suggests that playing in natural spaces supports children’s attachment to their local environments (Wells and Evans 2003; Wells and Lekies 2006). Equally, children’s use of their local spaces develops an appreciation of natural systems, a sense of connectedness, and fosters imagination and creativity.

Also, studies suggest that the impact of life stress is lower among children with high levels of nearby nature than among those with little nearby nature (Wells and Evans  2003).

The project is founded on three main pillars:

Explore

Biophilia Project it's an appeal to explore, to be curious, to go beyond.

Learn

Biophilia Project it's a time and a space where the process of learning unfolds naturally and by doing that, it becomes more powerful.

Connect

The Biophilia Project promotes human connection and the biophilia concept, to find a balance with the virtual life brought by modern technology.

.. and intends to create a network of outdoor hubs in proximity to schools, where outdoor learning, free play, and self-led initiatives come together to support strong communities, wellbeing, and resilience.

Why are free play and self-led initiatives so important?

Free play and self-led initiatives have become in modern days, less and less part of our growing process.
In modern times, we generally are told how to do far too many things, from the moment we are born. Even how to play.
However, play is a natural built-in process that has served our species for a long time. Through play emerge our educational instincts.

The natural environment for learning, the one where learning really thrive, is a space where individuals have the opportunity to have much free time and space in which to play and explore; (b) can mix freely with others of all ages; (c) have access to culturally relevant tools and equipment and are free to play and explore with those items; (d) are free to express and debate any ideas that they wish to express and debate; (e) are free from bullying (which includes freedom from being ordered around arbitrarily by adults); and (f) have a voice that is heard in the group’s decision-making process. (Peter Gray Ph.D.)

Why do I need a special hub. Can I simply go to the park?

Self-directed play and self-directed learning can happen anywhere and anytime, however, due to the complexity and structured dynamics of modern society, these natural processes tend to be taken away from us.

Children need the time and space for this kind of play and learning to happen.
This is what the Biophilia Project is all about.
We offer support to create that unstructured environment where child-led/youth-led initiatives can successfully thrive.

It’s free.

It’s fun.

It’s Biophilia.