How nature can benefit your mental health
By Debbie Frances,
Churchill Fellow Ken Parker (CF 1995) has been recognised in the National Park Authority’s #70People70Years campaign in June.
The celebrations are to mark 70 years since the designation of the Peak District as the UK's first National Park and highlights the contributions of those who have been particularly influential during this time.
Ken worked for the Peak District National Park between 1972 and 2008. He began his career there as a landscape architect and led the first Landscape Character Analysis, which identifies and explains the unique combination of elements and features that make landscapes. This approach was subsequently adopted by the Countryside Commission nationally and has become standard practice across the country.
In 1995 Ken was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore local involvement in the conservation of nationally significant landscapes in Austria and France. This experience had a profound impact on Ken’s career at the Peak District National Park.
“I persuaded the Park Authority to allow me to seek EU and national funding for new programmes of work which applied the lessons from my Fellowship. This was mainly through seeking funding from the new national and EU economic development programmes that were coming on stream in the late 1990s.”
On his return, Ken devised and managed a series of pioneering projects. He was integral in the £3.75 million New Environmental Economy, an initiative that created new products and services that used environmental assets as a key element in stimulating growth in the local economy. It engaged 625 different businesses and helped many to develop new products and services. New collaborative marketing initiatives were set up as a result, including a network of new Farmers' Markets.
Ken says: “To be chosen as one of the 70 people who have made a significant contribution to the 70 years of the Peak District National Park is a fantastic honour. If there is a theme to my contribution it has been to inspire a partnership approach to making the conservation of the environment something that everyone living and working in the area can contribute to. It is great to have that philosophy endorsed as a distinctive contribution to our first 70 years.”
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