Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of programmes that aim to promote good mental and physical wellbeing through outdoor activity in a natural environment. At St Nicks, ecotherapy is offered through various group activities and is underpinned by one to one mentor support. We currently offer activities every day of the work week, which are listed below and are all fully funded, donations welcome.
Green Exercise: Beginners’ Cycling – Mondays 10-12noon from St Nicks – current course ends 25th June 2018 Led by a qualified instructor, set off from the Environment Centre and explore the various cycle paths in and around York. Bring your own bicycle and helmet, or borrow them from us free of charge! This activity is suitable for all who are interested in cycling but may not have ridden a bike for some time or want to gain confidence. Our Green Exercise programme is part of a city-wide bespoke range of activities, which is co-ordinated by York Mind and funded by City of York Council. It is free and open to all York residents aged 18+ who feel they would benefit from improving their wellbeing.
Bearing Fruit – Mondays 1pm-3pm, year round at St Nicks
Pruning fruit trees in winter with Bearing Fruit
Be part of our community orchard at St Nicks Nature Reserve; managing exisiting wildlife habitats and creating new ones. Help us look after our established fruit trees, soft fruit sites and newly planted Yorkshire heritage apple trees. Learn conservation skills such as scything, pruning and hedge laying from our experienced tutors. This group is a follow-up for a 2010-2012 project of the same name.
Discover Nature – Tuesdays 10am-12pm at St Nicks Join a safe and nurturing environment in which you can learn more about the natural world. Sessions are run by an qualified tutor and are seasonally themed as each week focuses on a different species or habitat with the opportunity to participate in wildlife-based activities, animal surveys and field trips planned around the migration of birds and animals throughout the year. We also arrange talks from local experts! There is always something new to learn with our Discover Nature group.
Nordic Walking in Hull Road Park
Nordic Walking – Technique and Skills – Tuesdays 1-2pm, year round from St Nicks
Before joining our regular walking sessions, participants are asked to attend a four week block skills session which, by the end of the block, everyone will receive a NWUK Freedom Passport, enabling access to all Nordic Walking groups across the city including our own session as described below. Nordic Walking is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. There is a nominal fee of £5 to receive your NWUK Freedom Passport. Classes and pole hire for these sessions are free.
Nordic Walking – Walking session – Tuesdays 2-3pm, year round from St Nicks Come and experience the freedom of Nordic Walking! Evidence confirms that connecting to nature with green exercise improves both self esteem and mood, as well as emotional and physical resilience. All sessions will be coached by a qualified NWUK instructor. Nordic Walking maximises a walking workout by using up to 90% of the skeletal muscles and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Classes are free with own poles or £2 Pole Hire.
Writing poetry inspired by nature after a walk out on the nature reserve
Connect to Naturewith Creative Writing – Wednesdays 10am-12pm, year round at St Nicks The nature based Creative Writing group is run in partnership with York St John University, Converge and the Discovery Hub and is led by a qualified tutor. Each session starts with a short walk around the nature reserve followed by an introduction of a theme for the mornings writing. The sessions are an exciting way to develop writing styles and skills while making new discoveries about nature through observations of the reserve and the changing seasons.
Green Exercise: Advanced Cycling – Wednesdays 1-3pm at St Nicks – current course end 27th June 2018
Led by qualified instructors, set off from the Environment Centre to discover green routes around York and further afield. A step up from the beginners cycling group, this group is suitable for those wanting to cover longer distances, work on increasing speed and gain confidence cycling on the roads. Bring your own bicycle and helmet, or borrow them from us free of charge! Our Green Exercise programme is part of a city-wide bespoke range of activities, which is co-ordinated by York Mind and funded by City of York Council. It is free and open to all York residents aged 18+ who feel they would benefit from improving their wellbeing.
Eco Book Club – Thursdays 10am-12pm over the winter months at St Nicks St Nicks Eco Book Club is a friendly social session for those interested in books and literature with a link to the natural world. There is no pressure to read the book independently, the experienced tutor will pick abridged chapters for the group to enjoy as a shared reading experience each week. This will be followed by a walk around the reserve and discussion of the chosen chapter of the week. Refreshments will be served following each week guided walk with the opportunity to explore themes in more detail over tea and coffee. Each session will end with a nature inspired poem or thought for the day.
Insect home made by the woodwork group
Woodworking – Thursdays 10am-12pm over the spring and summer months at St Nicks
Led by an qualified tutor, sessions focus on developing woodworking skills through making items such as bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog homes and benches that can be used around the St Nicks nature reserve. There will also be opportunity to develop finer carpentry skills, learning how to make stools, spoons or more decorative items according to participants interests. No previous experience is necessary and all tools and materials will be provided.
Get Gardening – Thursdays 1:30-3pm, over the spring and summer months, held within the gardening compound at St Nicks The Gardening group is run in partnership with York St John University, Converge and the Discovery Hub and is led by a qualified tutor. People of all abilities are welcome. Learn how to garden creatively in different settings using a variety of means including the use of a polytunnel, container planting and making the most of smaller spaces. Growing activities include introducing natural pest control, feeding, plant care, re-potting, vegetable growing, herb gardening and seed collecting.
Plot to Plate – Fridays 2-4pm, year round (earlier finish in winter) at the Holgate Allotment Site Help to manage our allotment and learn the principles of organic gardening and the benefits of eating seasonally. The site has raised beds, fruit tress, a variety of vegetables and a wildflower area that runs alongside a beck. This group is partially peer led.