Nature gave strength to the elderly

This year the theme of the National Elderly Week in early October was “Nature Gives Strength”. Geopark, in cooperation with the municipality of Jämijärvi, took the elderly on excursions to Geopark sites.

The municipality of Jämijärvi, together with partners, organized a diverse program for each day of the Elderly Week. The aim of the Geopark excursions was to encourage older people from Jämijärvi to get to know Geopark and its destinations and enjoy the well-being effects of nature.

Photo: Pekka Kauraharju, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Wellness trail in Niiniharju

On Monday morning, October 4, 2021, people gathered in Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas, where the municipality’s welfare manager Toni Ojala guided easy exsercises at the beginning. The locals were already familiar with the destination, but Geopark Ranger Kristiina Peltomaa brought a new kind of content and depth to the trip with her knowledge of Geopark and nature. In the landscapes of Niiniharju people walked a route along which Suomen Latu’s question boards about wellbeing (in Finnish) were attached.

Photo: Pasi talvitie, Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas

By the question boards with beautiful nature photos they stopped to consider the factors that affect one’s own well-being. The questions challenged hikers, for example, to think about what brings joy to everyday life, what is good in life and what beautiful can be seen at that moment.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

After the walk, the snacks offered by Geopark were eaten by the campfire. Lomahotelli Jämi delivered mouth-watering offerings to the lean-to, where the representatives of the municipality took care of the campfire, atmosphere and serving. There were thirty participants in the trip.

Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku

A trip to Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

On Wednesday morning, 6 October 2021, the hikers left Jämijärvi towards Kauhanevan-Pohjankangas National Park on a charter bus financed by the municipality. Geopark Ranger Kristiina Peltomaa got the hikers to the atmosphere during the trip by telling about Geopark and the day’s excursion destination, Kauhaneva. The representative of the municipality on the trip was Pekka Kauraharju.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

In Kauhaneva people divided into three groups. Kristiina took the group, who moved at a calm pace, on a short route, whose recently renovated structures make the mire nature easily accessible. On the way, they watched birds with binoculars and Kristiina also told about other inhabitants of the mires. Participants were happy with what they got to see and experience in the mire thanks to the wide plank trail and other structures.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Geopark Ranger Päivi Nummijoki continued with another group to the beautiful Kauhalammi and to the Nummikangas observation tower, where they admired the unique mire landscapes that open from the tower. During the trip, Päivi told stories, among other things from the medieval Kyrönkangas road along which hikers hike in the national park.

Photo: Päivi Nummijoki, Nummikangas observation tower, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Some of the hikers went on their own to go along the Kauhalammi trail. The Rangers’ spouses kept a campfire at Salomaa, where the hikers had snacks offered by Geopark. Delicious snacks were prepared by Kotipata Karvia. After the coffee, Kristiina led the crowd to the edge of the mire, and told about it. Before going home, Kristiina guided some exercise, which the participants approached with humor. There were forty participants on the trip.

Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Joy and gratitude from nature

The Geopark excursions for the Elderly Week clearly brought joy to the participants and humor was present all the time. The weather favored the hikers, and the atmosphere was sunny among the participants as well.

“It is very good that Geopark was involved in providing experiences for the elderly in Geopark’s nature. The hikers exuded positivity and gratitude. It’s great that the Geopark flag is fluttering in such a positive situations. Geopark is a gift for the residents of the area.”, Kristiina summed up the feelings after the excursions.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #geopark #globalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks #unesco #lauhanvuoriregion #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #hyvinvointialuonnosta #sdgs2030

The excursions were organized as part of the rural-funded Kestävää kehitystä Geoparkissa project.

 

Text: Laura Koivumäki

Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhalammi, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Last photo: Pasi Talvitie

Nature gives strength and joy