Sometimes being a turf farmer is dirty work – it’s certainly not a pastime for the faint-hearted.
Our Coolabah team’s daily grind, from a production perspective, is totally dictated by Mother Nature, which, at times can be gruelling, unpredictable and relentless.
The celebration however, of the magic our turf products create is indeed the driving force that keeps us motivated. The 'instant awesome' that an instant lawn landscape delivers every time, and the reality of helping clients and communities achieve their green dreams, defines the passion and purpose of our Coolabah 'Why' and our 'Wow'.
Whether it's a backyard, local park, sports field, school yard, caravan tourist park or even a road side vegetation project, the promise of producing a sustainable, turnkey landscape solution for every client, and the subsequent environmental, physical and mental health benefits, is what constantly inspires and motivates us.
In this fast-paced, modern world where mental health issues are at an all-time high, we are passionate about pursuing our ‘green space’ crusade to make our society a better place to live, work and play.
At Coolabah Turf, we don’t just grow grass; we change lives… and take pride in our commitment to build healthy communities... one green space at a time!
A primary focus of our corporate vision is to provide simple pockets of lush green space for passive play, so our kids can disconnect from the online world and reconnect with others, face to face.
We are passionate about re-engaging communities to recognise the importance of our connection to nature play and the outdoors. And to build community ovals to support grass roots sporting clubs to provide a place for our regional youth to feel a sense of belonging in a special and safe space outside familiar family ties.
Reconnection to nature is just one benefit of healthy green open spaces and from this comes a multitude of health benefits.
There’s an abundance of evidence featured in a recent online article in Yes Magazine highlighting the fact that simply being outdoors (in green space) can have many psychological and physical benefits, including:
- Increased levels of vitamin D
- Reduction in ADHD symptoms in children
- Improved critical thinking
- Improved emotional and mental health
- Reduced stress levels and enhanced social interactions
The health industry also recognises the many benefits of green space for healing, and time in nature (even just looking at green space through a window) has shown to speed the health recovery process, as well as reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of cancer.
A US based study, dating back to the late 1970s-early 80s, revealed patients with a window view of trees healed from surgery much faster than those with a brick wall vista.
We have been privileged to supply our turf for green space projects at both the Bendigo and Echuca hospitals. The aim of both projects was to not only improve the visual amenities of the surrounding landscapes, but also to help increase the speed of recovery for patients and to provide a happy, connected-to-nature space for staff to enjoy their workspace.
You can see the stunning visual impact of the green space created at Echuca Regional Health pictured above.
When it comes to green space and physical health the evidence is profound, with a recent US study revealing that adults could reduce their blood pressure by simply spending just 30 minutes or more each week walking in a park.
Another study looking at the link between nature and cancer stated that patients who took long walks in nature over two consecutive days had an increase in their all-important cancer-fighting cells.
This evidence is hard to ignore and is enough to motivate us all to take some time each day to get outdoors, in green space, particularly in the cooler months of winter when we are inclined to hibernate more.
A recent Lawn Solutions Australia article confirmed turf grasses play a critical role in the general health and welfare of our nation and pointed to studies that have shown green space provide pockets of cool, clean and calm that are critical to optimal health, and offer an environment free from the stresses of the daily grind.
Lawn Solutions Australia has actually contributed funding towards a world-first study that will measure the actual benefits that green space has for the community.
The $3.2 million, five-year project entitled Greener Cities, Healthier Lives has been funded by the Research Council Horticulture Australia’s Green Cities fund in partnership with the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab, which is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong (UOW).
The research aims to provide measurable evidence of the health benefits of green space and the minimum amount of local green space – parks, gardens, trees and turf – needed for favourable health and societal outcomes.
The data collected will provide the first systemic evidence on the benefits of green space from birth to older age, and ultimately give industry and policy makers some solid numbers to work with when it comes to planning and infrastructure.
Many countries around the world are already prioritising regular exposure to green spaces and recent research out of Japan – one of the most stressed and overworked nations in the world – is shining a light on the many benefits of spending time in forests and nature.
The Japanese term Shinrin-yoku (translated as Forest Bathing and first coined in the early 1980s) relates to a national pastime where walking in a cedar forest has been shown to lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and blood pressure, and support the immune system much more than 40 minutes of indoor activity could do.
Specifically, the science has shown that trees and plants emit compounds knows as phytonicides, that when inhaled provide therapeutic benefits similar to a massage. The act of Shinrin-yoku also aids in opening up all your senses to a multitude of associated benefits.
Amazingly these phytonicides can change our blood composition - increasing our protection against cancer by boosting our immune system and lowering blood pressure.
Forest bathing has now been adopted as an official health prevention tool in Japan. And in other countries such as the UK studies have shown that using green space in urban areas, and incorporating diverse vegetation and wildlife, improves the health and wellbeing of all who dwell there.
With a focus on mental heath, another UK study revealed that simply providing green space created greater opportunity for enhancing psychological wellbeing, and countless other studies identified that just walking in nature causes us to stop worrying, solve problems more easily, be more inspired and become more social.
There are so many other benefits of increased green space across our communities including reduced noise and heat, improved air quality and greener and cleaner towns and cities.
The colour green, known for its calming properties helps to reduce stress levels, which leads to lower levels of blood pressure across the board and a decrease in rates of depression.
Families who walk in the park often also report better quality of life and a reduction in problems with child behaviour. Residents of high-rise housing with access to open green spaces were found to enjoy a range of health benefits including better mental health, immunity to disease and greater productivity in their working lives.
Not to mention that lawn turf is the safest surface for outdoor leisure activities, games and sports, particularly for our children.
And of course, mowing your lawn also gets you outdoors and provides valuable cardiovascular exercise – that is Forest Bathing right there!
So what are you waiting for? There are so many reasons to head outdoors!
But don’t despair if you don’t have a forest nearby - research has shown that it doesn’t matter if you live in the city, as any green space will do the trick.
And if time is an issue for you, apparently just 15 minutes of Forest Bathing will do you good, as long as you are opening all of your senses (using Shinrin-yoku) to all that surrounds you.
So how can we all tap into the benefits of Forest Bathing and spend more time in a green space?
Try committing to a daily, or weekly habit of spending time in nature and tune into the effects it has on your physical and mental health.
It doesn’t matter what sort of activity you choose, and importantly it does not need to be a fast-paced and energy-sapping work out. Forest Bathing evidence shows that by simply slowing down in nature (e.g walking 1km in one hour) can have the biggest impact. Or you could just try taking off your shoes and walking barefoot on your very own turf lawn, or any public green space.
The David Suzuki 30x30 Nature Challenge encourages us to spend 30 minutes a day outdoors for 30 days to kick-start a new habit. It states that it is essential we reframe our traditional view of nature as just a place for leisure and sport towards one that emphasises a full range of physical, mental, and social health benefits.
One thing is for sure, there is already a large body of evidence confirming that green space is a huge contributor to improved health outcomes across all our communities, so make a commitment to spend more time in nature this month and share your positive results with our Coolabah Community.