Ellen Mascard Engagement & Volunteering Officer
About Ellen Mascard:
Ellen is an Engagement & Volunteering Officer for Highdown Gardens and the Great Outdoors campaign at Adur & Worthing Council. Ellen has experience in community engagement, education and events within the environmental sector, and has worked for the National Trust, Wakehurst Place and Kew Gardens.
Ellen has been part of the Environmental Services Department since March 2021, and has been focussing her time preparing for Highdown Gardens reopening, coordinating returning volunteers, and organising events for the Great Outdoors.
When she isnt working at Highdown Gardens, Ellen is pottering and propagating in her own garden, or playing for her local girls football team. She has also recently gained her PADI scuba diving qualification, and can't wait to dive further abroad than Brighton Marina.
Public greenspaces were classed as official areas in the mid 18th century, with the belief that they could have a positive effect on people's health. Fast forward 180 years to an increasingly urbanised population, greenspace has never been more important for our mental health, especially throughout the pandemic.
Why nature is good for our mental health is quite complex and not fully understood, however research shows that nature stimulates our senses, creating a soft fascination which puts our busy minds at rest. Spending time in greenspaces improves mood and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
So what positive interactions can we have with our greenspaces, and how can that improve our psychological well-being?
Mindfulness is the practice of noticing what's around you using your senses in the present moment, with the aim of helping you to feel less stressed. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness in a natural outdoor environment enhances stress reduction, and it is officially acknowledged by Mind as a way to relax.
If you are interested in practising mindfulness come along to the 'Bureau of Noticings' event at:
Storytellers Laura Mugridge and Andrew Allen are back after 100 years of travelling the globe, and need help with creating an inventory of the surrounding area. The pair will send you on a path that encourages participants to be mindful of their surroundings through the fine art of noticing.
Exercising outdoors improves mood and self esteem, as well as reducing anger and depression. Studies have shown that physical activity in outdoor greenspaces, compared to indoors, increases vitality. Green activity can also motivate further exercise as nature creates a sense of escapism.
If you would like to take your choice of exercise outdoors, why not sign up to a yoga session at Highdown Gardnes? The sessions will focus on 'resetting your nervous system, releasing tension and tuning into the elements around you'. See:
Engaging with wildlife:
Greenspaces also provide an excellent opportunity to interact with animals and wildlife. It's thought that engaging with animals in their natural habitat improves people's mood and has a relaxing effect, for example the joy of listening to ducks by a pond or spotting the first daffodil of the year.
The Big Butterfly Count will be taking place until the 8th August. Adur & Worthing's Park Rangers need your help to spot as many different types of butterflies as part of this initiative, and will be bringing butterfly ID charts along to each Great Outdoors Ranger event to assist you.
Photo: Monarch butterfly
Parks are important recreational hubs that are enjoyed by locals from dawn to dusk, from early morning dog walkers, to sunset photographers.
Here in Adur and Worthing we have over 80 parks, many of which are hosting a variety of morning, afternoon, and evening events this summer. Look no further for the ultimate guide on how to make the most of your local parks throughout the day.
Are you an early riser? Get your day off to a good start by running in your local park. Parks offer a safe, off-road, natural, and attractive environment for runners to improve their fitness and wellbeing.
Good news for all Parkrun enthusiasts - the famous 5k community runs are back! The free-for-all events are due to recommence from Saturday 24th July 2021, and will be returning to:
If you would like to try outdoor running, but need a helping hand Active8 are running Couch to 5k courses at Beach Green from September: see the Active8 website for details. The small group sessions are open to adults of any fitness, and offer free childcare to encourage busy parents to get active. The course is part of the Active Park Project and requires a £10 deposit which it returned upon completion of 6/8 sessions!
Lounging around on a sunny afternoon, listening to the birds, scoffing sausage rolls, cheese sarnies, and mini apple pies ... no park visit is complete without a picnic.
If you would like to avoid the cooking part but enjoy the eating bit, park markets are for you: Coronation Green will be serving up street food with a beautiful view of the River Adur when it hosts Freewheelin FEASTival on 7th and 8th August.
Parks also provide habitat for wildlife and open green space, making them perfect for an afternoon of engaging with nature and playing sports.
This summer residents will have the opportunity to learn about nature in their local park by joining in with events such as bushcraft skills, butterfly surveys, and arts sessions led by Adur & Worthing Park Rangers. The Rangers will also be delivering Big Games days. These high activity sessions will include rounders, disc golf, and timed obstacle courses. Perfect for youngsters to burn off some excess energy and for families to socialise this summer.
You can find out find out more about the different events taking place across Adur and Worthing's parks at:
As day turns to dusk, parks become magical places for live entertainment. Adur and Worthing's parks are hosting some exciting performances for all the family this summer including:
- Circus Wonderland at Adur Rec from 14th to 18th July,
- Tom's Midnight Garden ballet at Beach House Park from 14th to 15th July.
Live music is also returning to green spaces:
Photo: Buckingham Park, in Shoreham
Photo: Homefield Park
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Page last updated: 22 July 2021