Nature brings more joy, happiness, freedom, inspiration and creativity into our lives – and even wards off depression, anxiety and stress.

We need nature for our personal health and wellbeing, and for our families and communities. Time spent in nature reduces stress and increases happiness.

“A growing body of empirical evidence is revealing the value of nature experience for mental health” – Nature

Proven health benefits of nature include reduced headaches, allergies, blood pressure, poor mental health, in addition to increased psychological well-being, life satisfaction and self-esteem – to name a few.

“With rapid urbanization and declines in human contact with nature globally, crucial decisions must be made about how to preserve and enhance opportunities for nature experience” – Nature

Whether winding through cool forested gullies on foot at Mt. Cole, photographing resident robins in the Wellsford Forest, or soaking in the sunshine on a mountain peak in the Pyrenees, our western nature haven has a nurturing place for all of us.

Expert recommendations to create new national parks:

The VEAC recommendations include almost 60,000 hectares of new national park and reserves for the Mount Cole and Pyrenees Ranges (near Beaufort and Avoca), and the Wombat (near Daylesford) and Wellsford (near Bendigo) Forests. In addition 19,000 hectares of regional park allow almost all forms of recreation.

Under legislation, the Victorian Government was required to formally respond to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Final Report, on the first sitting day six months after being tabled in Parliament. The VEAC report was tabled on 15 August 2019. Legally a response was required in the last sitting week of February 2020, and is now well overdue.

Image © Sandy Scheltema