Power Of Wilderness Experiences As A Catalyst For Change In Young Offenders

Professor Jules Pretty, Jo Barton and Rachel Hine were involved in ‘The TurnAround 2007 Project’, initiated by the Wilderness Foundation UK to help seven vulnerable young people in Chelmsford and mid-Essex. This nine-month project used the power of nature and wilderness experiences a catalyst for change, enabling the young people to re-evaluate their destructive lifestyles and gave them the self assurance to take responsibility for their future.

Senior Research Officer, Jo Barton, explains: ‘The programme consisted of monthly workshops and weekly life coaching but the key element was getting them in touch with nature and away from negative distractions in their usual urban environments.’

‘This involved two wilderness trips – one to the Isle of Mull in Scotland and one sailing on the Thames. The first took place at the beginning of the project and the second at the end. The difference in behaviour was amazing!’