It is a January day in the land around Dalapottberget in the Fäboda forests outside Jakobstad, in Österbotten. The sun is rising above the horizon and the sun rays give the tree tops a warm colour. The breeze is fresh and the temperature a few degrees below zero. This winter there is a shortage of snow and snow flakes are a rare sight. Here and there you hear gurgling water. Even if it doesn't feel like January, it's a beautiful day and the sky is blue, vast and immense. The Fäboda forests consist of rocky outcrops covered with lichen, gnarled dwarf pines and small mires.
Johan Tonberg, who runs the company Outside Kallan, meets us at a parking area at the end of a forest road. Johan is one of the reference entrepreneurs at the Nordic Nature Health Hub and is going to take us through on his programme Mind&Nature. He tells us that more and more of his customers are interested in relaxation and presence exercises in nature. Health professionals, such as psychologists, have also been interested in programme services in nature. Outside Kallan is not yet associated with health care services, but the opportunity to do so exists.
As a nature entrepreneur, Johan is not only an entrepreneur, but also a kind of ambassador for our cultural and natural heritage. And there is plenty of cultural heritage in the area. The archipelago is full of stories: "If you go Öuran, you will find a great deal of history. The same goes for Tolvmangrundet”. There are lots of dwellings, fishing sites and piloting places, stories of arms smuggling and wrecks. And of course, 'Hysigubbi', the Hälsingön ghost.
We finish our walk with a fire, lunch and pancakes. Johan and Outside Kallan borrow LINKURA meters from the Nordic Nature Health Hub project and we sit and consider the possibilities of measuring the health of Outside Kallan's customers. The LINKURA meters measure stress and recovery. The customers
also get a form to fill in where they report feelings of -being. By combining a physical measurement with the individual's subjective experience of his or her well-being, it is hoped to obtain a reliable outcome as to how nature stays affect the nature entrepreneurs’ customers. The research is conducted by Umeå University. When we say goodbye to Johan and leave Dalapottberget, the January sun is already going down. Compared to a normal working day, we feel much more relaxed, even though we have done a lot.
/Text & Photo: Sara Kåll-Fröjdö & Maria Hofman-Bergholm/Yrkeshögskolan Centria, 2020