The large, clean and unspoilt nature areas of Læsø give more to the visitors and islanders than most of us realise. With 6 times as much nature per capita compared to the average in Denmark – and much nature of a high quality and variety of species.
Plants, mushrooms and animals that we can gather and use for food, drink, skincare, medicine, decorations, to keep warm and much more. In the vast state areas we are allowed to gather plants and mushrooms for ourselves. Meat from the grazing and caretaking animals or the delicious animals of the sea we can all buy. The wild nature challenges our senses of tasting, smelling and seeing, and Læsø’s clean surroundings provide us with foods of high quality.
Exciting nature phenomena and animal and plant species, many of which are rare elsewhere, but which are abundant here. There are also many opportunities to experience the course of the year, the powers and variety of nature, smells and sounds and experiences that increase the urge to learn more and take care of our nature.
Such beauty – incredible colours, wonderful colour combinations, odd shapes – as the inspiration of great art, scientific close studies or calming breaks.
Silence. Absolute silence. Or just the sounds of nature. It is estimated that each year, noise kills close to 500 Danes due to hypertension and thrombosis. Silence is worldwide considered to be a resource that is becoming still scarcer – but not on Læsø!
Darkness. Pitch-darkness. On Læsø, there is almost no light pollution which gives us the privilege of a starry sky, of which townspeople only see a small fraction.
The horizon – and the greatness of the sky. From the flat island we can really see the high sky with clouds and colours of all kinds. Many people rarely see the horizon – and the open space has some kind of effect on most of us …
Improved health and quality of life
Even though many of us today spend most of our time inside, we are still indeed related to the people, whose body and brain were developed in the wild nature. And if we do not spend enough time outside in nature, then we may become sick.
Recent research supports the assumption that being outside and being active in nature can improve our health and quality of life in several ways. Without stating references, I can at random mention that:
Children in nature day care have improved motor skills, fewer days of sickness, improved learning ability and are more social than other children.
Natural light can help prevent osteopsathyrosis, adjust the biological clock and improve the quality of sleep. Especially in the winter months, it is important to stay outside for at least one hour to avoid winter depression, among other things.
Only a 20 minutes’ stay in nature – also with no physical activity – causes the blood pressure to fall.
As it has been proven that nature also improves your mental health, psychotherapists around the world have started including nature in their therapy – for instance for patients with an eating disorder, ADHD, depression, stress and exhaustion.
Maybe you have on your own body experienced the calming effect of gathering mushrooms, amber and berries – or of taking a walk in beautiful natural surroundings without a lot of man-made things around you. In the company of nature, we use our primeval reptile brain more. During your walk you have given the parts of your brain that your stressing daily life probably asks too much of, a much-needed break.
The nature of Læsø is like a big, healthy pill with only a few side effects – so get out there and enjoy a healthy and happy life!
By nature guide Karin Krogstrup