Freshspace – Helping #GirlsGetOot in Local Nature Spaces

Last month, Scottish Natural Heritage and Young Scot launched a new campaign inspiring young women to get outside. Freshspace, which was created in Scotland’s Year of Young People, has been co-designed by young women to highlight and address the issues that stop girls spending time outdoors. The project aims to promote the range of health and wellbeing benefits that our natural environment can provide for teenage girls aged 14-18 in Scotland, and includes a series of unique animations.

Freshspace Campaign #GirlsGetOut

The origins of the Freshspace project

Local greenspace and time outdoors can have benefits for everyone but sadly, teenage girls don’t always take advantage of their local nature spaces.  Studies have shown that girls aged 15-17 are significantly less likely to be active outside than their male counterparts with physical activity in females dropping much further than it does with males of the same age. Freshspace was created to identify key barriers that young girls face in getting active outdoors and to engage young women in the health and wellbeing benefits that come from time in nature.

Freshspace Campaign #GirlsGetOot ©Lorne Gill/SNH

©Lorne Gill/SNH

Working with young women to create the Freshspace animations

At the beginning of the project young women took part in a number of insight sessions to discuss the barriers to participation in nature-based activities and to learn more about how teenage girls connect health and wellbeing with time outdoors. Young Scot then collaborated with these individuals to design and developing short animations for young women aged 14-18.

As well as initial help with focus groups, each stage of Freshspace involved young women to ensure the format, look and language of the animations created matched the target audience and could relay the key messages in a relevant and engaging way.

“What I love most about being outdoors is its ability to boost your mood, the sense of adventure and of course the fresh relaxing air. It was an honour to contribute to help spread such an important and significant message – go outdoors!”

Alex O’Reilly, 15, Project Volunteer

Research with the young female volunteers found that issues such as gender expectations, social pressures or body image and perceived costs of getting outdoors all factored into whether girls would spend time in nature. Based on some of these key barriers, the youth panel helped choose what topics and themes the animations should be and worked alongside designers at the Stand Agency to achieve the final story board messages.

Freshspace AnimationFeedback was also key to the final outcome and participants provided valuable insight into the visual elements of the animations including how young women should be presented in the animations and the environments they were in.  Those involved were keen to avoid stereotypes by avoiding females wearing excessive pink clothing or giving characters a sporty disposition and to emphasis diversity in terms of ethnicity and body shapes to ensure all girls could relate the animations.

The project allowed girls to collaborate on all aspects of the development process from initial topics, animation style and the promotion of the campaign giving input into the campaign targeting and the hashtag.

Girls say on the grass in Glasgow ©Lorne Gill/SNH

©Lorne Gill/SNH

The full report on the development of the Freshspace project, including how young women have helped co-design the messages and final campaign look with the Stand Agency, can be found at

How you can get involved and help #GirlsGetOot

We want to promote the benefits that a little time outdoors can bring so we’d love everyone to get involved and show how even simple changes can make a difference. Share our messages on your social media and follow the hashtag #GirlsGetOot for ideas on how to engage.

We have also created a partner toolkit to highlight our key messages, provided image resources and give some suggestions on how you can share the message. You can find this here. 

If you’d like to share our animations, you can find all of these within our YouTube playlist entitled Freshspace – #GirlsGetOot. Our animations have also been created in Gaelic and will be accompanied by Gaelic language promotion on our twitter and other channels. The Gaelic version of these is also available to share or embed from our  ÀiteFallainn – #ClannNigheanAirChuairt  YouTube playlist.

You can also see the different ways in which Scottish Natural Heritage is promoting local nature, greenspaces and the outdoors to teenage girls by following the campaign hashtag, #GirlsGetOot across social media.

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