What are the links between our environment and our health and well-being?


The Well World project explores how different environments influence our physical and mental well-being and considers whether spending time in areas of high biodiversity promotes well-being. The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) is directly supporting school students in the UK to explore their own local environments.

The Well World project has developed from the work of students in Canterbury, Kent, who were inspired to explore the question, ‘Does biodiversity make us happy?’, by comparing the impact on students who spent time walking in a small area of orchard on their school site to other students who walked in less biodiverse areas.

Working to make greenspaces around schools more biodiverse and accessible to students has never been more important. We are living in a world where people are becoming more disconnected than ever from nature and projects like this are a fun and engaging way to counteract this problem. Helping young people to connect with local biodiversity and learn more about it is a vital first step to engaging them in conservation.

Dr Ed Turner, Curator of insects, Museum of Zoology,
University of Cambridge

Taking part in this project has been incredibly rewarding both as a teacher, but also as a biologist. It has been wonderful to watch successive sets of sixth formers discover the trials and tribulations of taking part in real research from planning to evaluation and experience the thrill of finding out something new. I am now able to reference our research in the classroom and pupils can experience the importance and relevance of experimental work on their doorstep. After twenty years in the classroom this experience has reminded me of my love of science, not just my love of teaching it.

Sam Goodfellow, Biology Teacher

There are three parts to the research:

Through the Well World project we are excited to learn more about how exploring their local environment can shape students’ physical and mental well-being. Their research can be used to positively influence their schools and local communities.

A resource guide is now available in the documents section. An introductory video will be available on our You Tube channel very soon.

Schools from Cornwall, Dartford, Harrogate, Kent and Oxfordshire are currently working on their Well World projects, if you would like to join them please send us an email.

Professor Becky Parker

Director, Institute for Research in Schools

Cookies on the IRS website
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.