Published: 12 July 2016

Engaging with nature: SHTM researchers win ‘Best Paper’ award

Surrey lecturer wins ‘Best Paper’ for research exploring how engaging in outdoor activities can lead to a more environmentally sustainable attitude in everyday life.

Sustainable Tourism lecturer Dr Paul Hanna and two former Masters students at the School Sarah Wijesinghe and Ilias Paliatos are thrilled to have been awarded ‘Best Paper’ at the South Downs National Conference yesterday. South Downs Research Conference 2016

Their paper ‘Battling nature to save it: outdoor adventure activities and understandings of sustainability’ examines how outdoor activities, such as mountain biking and rock climbing –despite having immediate negative environmental impacts – can help individuals achieve a greater understanding for and appreciation of nature. Hanna et al. argue that connecting with the outdoors in an active way encourages people to engage in more sustainable practices in everyday life, thereby having a broader positive effect on the environment.

The conference took place on 6 July and brought together researchers, students, practitioners and academics to explore research across all disciplines in showcasing the special qualities of the South Downs National Park – a beautiful and environmentally-rich part of the country.

Dr Hanna says of winning this award: “It was great to receive the prize for best paper and more importantly for it to be a project I have been working on with two former MSc students. Hopefully it can be the start of a bigger research agenda in this area.”

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