72 Seasons is one of our more creative research projects, where we designed a concept to help people and volunteers connect to the natural world about them, and where we adapted the idea of 72 Seasons for the UK.
In Japan there is an ancient natural calendar, which notes the seasons, not just four of them, but 72 of them as the natural world changes regularly. It is an ancient natural calendar in Japan and possibly not on the radar of many people. We thought this could be the perfect fun tool to engage people as we collectively explored how the seasons changed for us and what impact that had on wellbeing.
What we found was an adaptable tool which can help people connect to the more subtle changes in the natural world all around them. By taking people into that moment, that instant, people were able to connect with nature, and feel soothed by nature, sometimes even inspired by nature.
Co-created with 200 volunteers, the 72 Seasons of the UK are now a resource which can be shared wider. In 2020 we worked with the wonderful artist Cath Ford ( you can find Cath in the attic here!) to draw all the seasons and in 2022 we developed ways to reach a wider audience. We look forward to continuing to develop 72 Seasons and to help many more people in the UK to connect with nature and improve wellbeing at the same time.
See more about it in our video, filmed during the November lockdown in 2020, while the original project was taking place:
If you would like to learn more about the project, we are pleased to release a bank of resources:
The full report of the project in 2020 and analysis of impact on wellbeing of the original co-creation piece of work can be found on this link:
The addendum to the full project, taking place in 2022, explores how 72 Seasons could work with two audiences who did not originally take part in the project, and who were missed due to Covid restrictions. This report looks at working with participants from an Asian British background and working with participants who did not use the internet.
Finally, in 2022, we have written an inspiration toolkit, to inspire you to do something similar and to share our processes and our learning.
You can download the 72 Seasons Toolkit here:
You can follow along with the seasons as they change through our social media channels below:
On Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/72seasons
On Twitter : https://twitter.com/kirstyevaluator
On Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/72seasonsuk/
Frequently asked questions:
How do you take part in 72 Seasons?
Originally, we had a project where the people involved completed wellbeing surveys before and after taking part in noticing nature for three months.. This group of people helped us to prove that 72 Seasons can help you connect more to nature which, in turn, can help you improve your wellbeing. It works by encouraging people to slow down and take notice of what is happening around them in nature in their everyday life.
Since that project ended we have been thinking about ways to share this wider. In 2022 we tested some offline methods and decided to do two things. One is to share the seasons online, live and as they happen, to encourage more people to take part. The other is to continue to develop a product which means people can share the gift of 72 Seasons with their friends and family. This second part is still a work in progress! Don’t worry though, we won’t forget and you will be the first to hear about it.
How can I explore 72 Seasons using the ones shared?
In any way you like, there are no rules. In the past people have tried to replicate the images, to find the season or to look for what is similar in their area. Some seekers (people who are looking for the seasons) have drawn their own seasons, taken photographs or kept nature journals. We love to see how people have made them their own so please do share.
Can you send a list of all the seasons?
No, sorry. We deliberately don’t share the seasons as a whole; they work best for your wellbeing when we send them just a few at a time.
Will you change the seasons?
No, these are now ‘fixed’ seasons, but we know of at least one group who are planning to use our seasons to monitor climate change in their area so they are adaptable.
Will these seasons work for the whole of the UK?
We don’t know yet, we do suspect that those people living on the south coast will find the dates are approximately four to five weeks behind them, and those in the north of Scotland will be four or five weeks in the other direction. If anyone decides to test that theory out, please do tell us the results!
Can I share the seasons?
You can also read our blog posts relating to the seasons here: