Swimming children. Photo: Siru-Leena Mikkola.

The main objective of the project was to promote the health and well-being of children and young people by increasing their levels of green exercise.

The project Moved by Nature was active from 1st July 2017 to 30th June 2019.

The project was implemented in the Forssa region located in Southern Finland. The Häme Nature Centre was reformed as part of the project. It is located in Tammela, in the immediate vicinity of the national parks of Torronsuo and Liesjärvi and the Eerikkilä Outdoor Resort. Other nature sites belonging in the scope of the project includedthe Melkuttimet nature conservation area, the Folk Park of Saari and Forssa National Urban Park.

The sites are located at a 60–90-minute drive away from Helsinki, Tampere and Turku.

Moving happy in the nature

Generation Z, born in the 2000s, is used to living with technology. Digitalisation is part of their everyday lives in every way possible. The connection between people around the globe created by social media enriches and expands the world of Generation Z. At the same time, it has been argued that children and young people are less connected with nature than they used to be. Still, today nature photographs are being eagerly shared on Instagram and spontaneous physical activity is increasing its popularity. It is now the right time to invest in green exercise and young people raised in cities and towns – for the sake of wellbeing and health promotion as well as the development of inspiring and inviting services in nature.

Three quarters of Finnish children in secondary school age do not get enough physical activity to keep them in good health. They spend less time doing physical activity than the national recommendation of one hour a day. In the same cohort, every fourth child is overweight or obese. The high price of exercising in sports clubs and the increase in screen time may lead to exclusion from physically active way of life at an early age.

The concern over physical inactivity is worldwide, so any modes of operation or service concepts for promoting physical activity among children found effective attract even international interest. The international interest towards the health and well-being effects of natural environments is also increasing. At the same time, Finnish national parks and other nature destinations attract increasing numbers of foreign tourists.

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Funding

The budget of the project was EUR 357,000. The main funding for the project was provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with the Regional Council of Häme acting as the national funding agency. Additional project funding was provided by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland and Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort (formerly known as Eerikkilä Sports Institute), the City of Forssa and the municipalities of Tammela, Jokioinen, Humppila and Ypäjä.

Cooperation partners

The Moved by Nature project was created in collaboration between Parks & Wldlife Finland and Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort and the municipality of Tammela. Other key partners in addition to Eerikkilä included the SMEs linked to nature tourism in the Forssa region, the various service areas of the Forssa region municipalities, and other organisations and operators promoting the well-being and outdoor activities among children and young people.

Children playing in the snow. Photo: Lassi Puhtimäki.

More information from

National Park Superintendent Tuula Peltonen
Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland
tuula.peltonen(at)metsa.fi

Last updated 29 May 2020