The webinar Wellness from nature experience, on February 2, 2022, was organized as part of the project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail which is funded within the framework of South-East Finland – Russia CBC Programme 2014–2020.
LAB participates in the development of the protected area of Kyrönniemi, near the Finnish-Russian border, in Russia. The webinar was organized so that experts in Finland could come together and give their insights to help in the creation of the nature destination.
Steps towards the creation of Kyrönniemi nature destination
Deputy chairman Natalia Kaliagina and project assistant Marina Grigoreva, from the All-Russian Society for Nature Protection (VOOP) introduced the environmental surveys and trail plans of the future ecological route of Kyrönniemi accomplished in 2021. Year 2022 will bring more tangible actions: construction of pathways, installation of informational signs and creating an audio guide. The history of Mikael Agricola will also be incorporated into the nature experience. (Kaliagina & Grigoreva 2022.) This spring VOOP’s representatives will visit nature destinations in Finland with LAB’s project team to get first-hand ideas for the next development stages.
How to create nature experiences with wellness effects?
Specialist Matti Tapaninen from Metsähallitus introduced nature activities and travel trends in the national parks of Finland. Metsähallitus has systematically monitored visitors for 20 years. During these years there have been demographic changes in visitors as particularly the share of visitors over 65 years of age has increased and people are more often visiting national parks alone. (Tapaninen 2022.) The changes in visitor profiles should be considered when developing nature experiences: elderly people appreciate accessibility and for the people visiting the parks alone, being able to enjoy the tranquility of nature is important.
Senior Scientist Henna Konu from Natural Resources Institute Finland presented multiple factors and trends affecting the wellbeing benefits of nature from physical, psychological, social, economic, and environmental points of view. Meaningful wellbeing tourism experiences include for example possibilities of self-development or self-fulfillment. (Konu 2022.) The trend seems to be that nowadays people are not only looking for relaxation from nature but also ways to develop themselves. Nature experiences can enable for example socialization, physical exercise and learning new skills.
The Head of Services of Retkipaikka, Karoliina Säkö (2022) talked about the experience design in nature services by providing interesting examples of nature activities such as reindeer yoga, wine in the woods and spending a night in a tentsile (“sky tent”) or in hammocks. The information provided beforehand is part of the experience. It does not matter how attractive the site is or how good the services are, if people cannot find information about them. (Säkö 2022.)
The discussion throughout the webinar emphasized the need to understand the growing trend of people seeking silence and balance in their busy lives. Providing these opportunities and enough information about them is clearly essential when developing nature sites.
Tuuli Mirola, D.Sc. (Tech.) works as a principal lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management at LAB University of Applied Sciences. She is the project manager in the Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail project.
Kaisu Isomäki, ICT engineer and BBA, works as a project planner in the Business Unit of LAB University of Applied Sciences. In her work, Kaisu strives to solve problems with her technical expertise user-centered approach in mind.
Holmes, T. 2018. Person carrying black backpack in road. Cited 8.2.2022. Available at https://unsplash.com/photos/LCSnly3Duwo
Kaliagina, N. & Grigoreva, M. 2022. Project presentation: Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail. Presentation in Wellness from nature experiences webinar on 2 Feb 2022.
Konu, H. 2022. Nature-based wellbeing experiences. Presentation in Wellness from nature experiences -webinar on 2 Feb 2022.
Säkö, K. 2022. Experience design in nature services. Presentation in Wellness from nature experiences -webinar on 2 Feb 2022.
Tapaninen, M. 2022. Nature activities and travel trends in the national parks of Finland. Presentation in Wellness from nature experiences -webinar on 2 Feb 2022.
Ungurs, K. 2021. Black hammock between trees during daytime. Cited 8.2.2022. Available at https://unsplash.com/photos/Swx7m3rzSiM
Link 1. Kurenniemi. 2021. The project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail. 2021. Cited 3 Feb 2022. Available at: https://kurenniemi.com/
Link 2. LAB. 2021. The project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail. Cited 3 Feb 2022. Available at: https://lab.fi/fi/projekti/kurenniemi-cultural-value-russia-and-finland-through-m-agricola-trail