Recharge Your Brain in Nature

Special exhibition in Haltia 30.4.2021-31.3.2022

This year, the theme at the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is nature’s impact on our wellbeing.

Studies have shown that nature promotes our wellbeing in many ways; our senses are heightened, blood pressure is reduced, the welfare of our brain is improved, and our immune system gets a boost – in fact, simply breathing in the forest air is beneficial for our health. Therefore, it is always a good idea to enjoy a refreshing visit to nature and also to protect the nature all around us – by protecting nature, we also protect ourselves.

Haltia’s new Recharge your brain in nature exhibition, opened on 1 May 2021, introduces you to the health impacts of nature and inspires you to enjoy these beneficial effects in a more conscious manner. The exhibition provides you with an opportunity to, for example, pick mushrooms, admire your personal mindscape, smell the scents of nature, set out on an actual nature trail and, through all of this, understand how comprehensively nature actually nurtures us.

While exploring the Recharge your brain in nature exhibition, you get to use all your senses to observe how nature affects us humans, even if we have grown up in an urban environment. In addition to information, the exhibition also offers tips and inspiration on how each of us can, for example, activate our senses in nature in a more conscious manner.

After completing the exhibition tour, you can set out directly from Haltia’s front door to the nearby Maahisenkierros nature trail (2 km) to reflect on the exhibition and think about the information and tips you have received. The nature trail (opens summer 2021) runs in the magnificent lake uplands of Nuuksio, in the midst of the beautiful, rocky old forests. The trail is accessible and thus also suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The most impressive part of the trail is an accessible lookout deck with breath-taking views over Lake Pitkäjärvi and the rolling forests of Nuuksio.

Nature has a positive impact on us all, and you do not have to be physically fit to enjoy its effects – just spend some time in nature. You can apply what you have learned in the exhibition to all your future nature excursions – take a brochure with you from Haltia or download it from our website, and you will be able to come back to these topics whenever you like.

The exhibition is implemented in cooperation with the Finnish Brain Association and Folkhälsan.

Come and see!

Entrance ticket and audio guide 13/8 €
Reserve your tickets in advance from our online shop

Free entrance with the Museum Card

OBSERVE: It’s safe to visit Haltia’s exhibitions >>

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Recharge your brain in nature!

8 ways in which nature nurtures, inspires and strengthens you

1. Nature improves your balance

Nature is filled with different stimuli and invites even adults to play – which is good for your brain. When was the last time you balanced on seaside rocks or on a fallen tree trunk? Do you sometimes skip and jump on rocks and roots along a path? And who would not love duckboards! Walking in a mire by hopping from tussock to tussock, without dipping your shoe in the damp moss, also takes a lot of skill. Nature encourages us to challenge our balance, which, as a result, improves our sense of balance over time. At the same time, our eyes are put to work, as there is far more need for three-dimensional perception in nature than on the flat, even streets and floors of an urban environment.

A woman laying down on a tree

2. Nature teaches you to find what you are looking for

This is something that anyone who has ever picked mushrooms has certainly discovered! At first, it seems there is nothing to find. Suddenly, however, you notice a tiny yellow chanterelle in the middle of all the moss. You crouch down to pick it up, and notice another one, and a third and a fourth…

All of a sudden, there are mushrooms everywhere! Similarly, a bird enthusiast can easily spot even the tiniest birds in the landscape. In essence, the brain adapts and conforms to the situation – it only needs a moment to tune in and learn to find exactly what you are looking for in the terrain.

A human is picing mushrooms in her hand in the forest

3. Nature activates your senses and sparks creativity

Are your fingers mainly touching a keyboard or a phone screen, day in and day out? Are your eyes constantly staring at different-size displays and your ears numb with the humming of traffic or electrical equipment? In nature, you can use your senses in the actual environment for which they were developed. You can rest your eyes on a forest, water body or the horizon, listen to the wind and the sounds of nature, and let your hands feel different natural materials. Picking mushrooms and berries feels nice, and it is always a good idea to touch different surfaces, such as cones, rocks, bark or the lovely, cool moss.

Moreover, you can let your creativity run wild and do some handcrafts in nature. For example, you can create artworks with bright-coloured autumn leaves and even make a crown of the leaves of a maple tree! You can also create miniature worlds of rocks, cones, sticks and branches – do not hesitate to take ideas and inspiration from children.

Two cows made of cones

4. Nature calms you down

What is your favourite mindscape like? What can you see or hear, and what is the weather like? What about the season? Studies have shown that nature has a calming effect on us, and it can even lower our blood pressure. Moreover, we all have a certain landscape, weather or season that may feel significantly more important and delightful to us than the others. Someone finds their mindscape at the sea, another in the forest, a third heads for a mire and the fourth to the fells. Someone may be afraid of the dark, while another grain strength from darkness. It is worthwhile to stop and think about your own mindscape. Perhaps it reveals something about you that you have never thought of before?

A woman is looking at the nature sight

5. Smells of nature nurture us and bring back memories

We Finns can consider ourselves lucky: many of us have been able to create at least some kind of relationship with nature already in our childhood. This may be, for example, rolling in damp autumn leaves, building a hut using the branches of a felled spruce outside grandma’s house, or flipping stones in a muddy stream. Memories based on the sense of smell are strong, and the scents of nature can quickly take us back to childhood memories and playtime in nature. Our odour memory works fast because the distance between the nose and the brain is short.

Many of us love the smell of the forest. According to research, different volatile compounds excreted by coniferous trees have soothing and antimicrobial effects. This means that the forests nurture us in a very concrete way – all we need to do is breathe in the forest air. This is why institutions such as sanatoriums for pulmonary diseases have traditionally been established in coniferous forests.

In the exhibition you can take a forest bath.

A finger presses a button

6. Nature brings us together

For our ancestors, fire has been a prerequisite for survival. People have gathered around campfires ever since they learned to control the fire. By the fire, people have stayed warm and dried off themselves, dined, rested, heard news, learned new skills, enjoyed themselves and even sung songs – it is natural for us to gather around a campfire to make new memories.

Human beings are social creatures, and it is important for our health that we do not feel lonely. In fact, a quiet moment around a campfire with our nearest and dearest is still an essential part of our outdoor culture, and for many, it is the highlight of the whole trip. The fire provides everyone with a chance to stop, rest and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet in the middle – or at the end – of an active day outdoors.

Trees on a fireplace

7. Give nature a hug

For us humans, physical contact is extremely important. However, it has been in short supply because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we have not been able to even hug our friends. A tree can serve as a substitute for a dear friend, as there are trees everywhere and they are safe to hug. Perhaps you could give a big hug to an old, silvery pine, warmed by the sun, and press your cheek and ear against the smooth trunk. Feel the warmth of the tree! While you are hugging trees, think about them a little closer. What have they seen in their lifetime?

A person hugging a tree in the forest in winter

8. Indispensable natural microbes

It is said that the human digestive system is like our second brain. Indeed, the wellbeing of our intestines has a massive impact on our health. Nature is full of microscopic microbes, which, according to studies, promote our health and boost our immune system, even though we cannot see them. By spending time in forests and eating berries straight from the plants, we can enjoy nature’s own healthy superfoods and also get health-promoting microbes into our system.

Our need for microbes is a concrete indication of the vital role that biodiversity plays in our lives. For example, the diversity of the nature around us has been proven to have an impact on the occurrence of allergies. In essence, preserving the biodiversity of nature is also critical for our own existence.

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