AsPr Mardie Townsend



Honorary Associate Professor


Faculty of Health


School of Health & Soc. Dev.


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 1997


Research interests

Associate Professor Townsend is involved, in collaboration with Parks Victoria and other partner organisations, in investigating the benefits of contact with nature

for human health and wellbeing. Current and recent research includes: an

investigation of health and wellbeing outcomes of differing levels of access to

nature for residents of high-rise housing; a study of mental health benefits of

hands-on nature based activities in primary schools; a nature based intervention

program for people suffering depression, anxiety and/or social isolation; an

assessment of health benefits of a visiting companion animal program in an acute

care hospital; several projects exploring the health and wellbeing outcomes of

bush adventure therapy programs in Australia; several projects exploring the

benefits of environmental volunteering; and a project assessing the valuing and

use of parks in high and low SES areas.

Other recent research undertaken by Associate Professor Townsend has included:

several studies of the use of parks and open spaces; a study of the cumulative

impacts of policy change on two small Victorian rural communities; a study for

the UK Housing Corporation on the housing needs and aspirations of British

women between 2000 and 2020; and a study of the role of physical activity and

sport in building social capital in rural communities.


Public Health Association of Australia

International Union for Health Promotion and Education

International Association for Ecology and Health

Teaching interests

Unit Chair HSH736

Unit Chair HSH740

4 PhD students

1 masters major project student

2 masters minor project students

1 honours student


Human Nature Connections : 'The importance of green spaces and urban parks for health and wellbeing'. Invited keynote presentation at Agencies for Nutrition Action Conference, Wellington, NZ, May 2009 'A World without Parks?' It Makes You Sick to Think of it!' Invited keynote presentation at Parks Forum Conference, Auckland, NZ, May 2008. 'The Nature Connection', Presentation to the 'Stirring the Possum' Public Forum, run by the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources, at The Sanctury, Adelaide Zoo, April 2011. Healthy Environments, Healthy People: The effect of biodiversity on health and wellbeing of individuals and families in rural communities, Presentation to Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Board, Brush with Biodiversity Conference, Kingscote, KI October 2010 Climate Change and Human Health, Presentation to the Frankston City Council Community Workshop, May 2010 Healthy Parks = Healthy People? The Importance of Nature and the Outdoor Life, Presentation to the City of Melbournes Melbourne Conversations Public Forum, April 2010 Investing in Wellbeing: Healthy People, Healthy Business, Presentation to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia Forum, March 2010


1999 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Achievement in


2004 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Excellent Contributions to

the Community

2005 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Achievement in

Teaching and Learning


Associate Professor Townsend is involved in a range of School, Faculty and University committees:

She is a member of the following Deakin committees and groups:

Deakin University Environmental Policy Sub Committee

Deakin Graduate School of Business Advisory Board

School of Health and Social Development School Board

She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal EcoHealth, and regularly reviews articles for the following journals: Health Promotion International, International Journal of Consumer Studies, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, and Urban Forestry and Urban Greening.


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Promoting appreciation of cultural diversity and inclusion with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen garden program

Karen Block, Dr Lisa Gibbs, Ms Susie Macfarlane, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2015), Vol. 9, pp. 2-9, Journal for multicultural education, Bingley, Eng., C1


'Ecological embeddedness' and its public health implications: findings from an exploratory study

Ms Marina Lewis, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2015), Vol. 12, pp. 244-252, Ecohealth, Berlin, Germany, C1


The act of giving: a systematic review of nonfamilial intergenerational interaction

A/Prof Tess Knight, Prof Helen Skouteris, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr Merrilyn Hooley

(2014), Vol. 12, pp. 257-278, Journal of intergenerational relationships, Abingdon, Eng., C1


Parenting and place : pilot study exploring experiences of women from inner and outer Melbourne suburbs

Dr Fiona Andrews, Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2012), pp. 1-11, 5th Health Citites : Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities : Book of Proceedings 2012, Nerang, Qld., E1


Volunteering in nature as a way of enabling people to reintegrate into society

Liz O'Brien, Amanda Burls, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Mr Matthew Ebden

(2011), Vol. 131, pp. 71-81, Perspectives in Public Health, United Kingdom, C1


Incorporating sustainability into community-based healthcare practice

Dr Rebecca Patrick, Ms Teresa Capetola, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr Lisa Hanna

(2011), Vol. 8, pp. 277-289, Ecohealth, New York, N. Y., C1-1


Health promotion and climate change : exploring the core competencies required for action

Dr Rebecca Patrick, Ms Teresa Capetola, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Ms Sonia Nuttman

(2011), Vol. 27, pp. 475-485, Health promotion international, Oxford, England, C1


Using a qualitative approach to research to build trust between a non-Aboriginal researcher and Aboriginal participants (Australia)

Mr Yotti Kingsley, Rebecca Phillips, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson

(2010), Vol. 10, pp. 2-12, Qualitative research journal, Melbourne, Vic., C1


Nature and health

A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Mr Matthew Ebden

(2009), pp. 151-159, Understanding health : a determinants approach, South Melbourne, Vic., B1-1


Rediscovering nature in everyday settings : or how to create healthy environments and healthy people

Ms Cecily Maller, Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2009), Vol. 6, pp. 553-556, EcoHealth, New York, N. Y., C1-1


Cultivating health and wellbeing : members' perceptions of the health benefits of a Port Melbourne community garden

Mr Yotti Kingsley, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson

(2009), Vol. 28, pp. 207-219, Leisure studies, London, England, C1


Investigating health, economic and socio-political factors that need consideration when establishing Victorian Aboriginal land management projects

Mr Yotti Kingsley, David Aldous, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Rebecca Phillips, Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson

(2009), Vol. 16, pp. 113-123, Australasian journal of environmental management, Melbourne, Vic., C1


If the land is makes the people healthy : the relationship between caring for country and health for the Yorta Yorta nation, Boonwurrung and Bangerang Tribes

Mr Yotti Kingsley, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Rebecca Phillips, David Aldous

(2009), Vol. 15, pp. 291-299, Health and place, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Building collaborative partnerships: a key to increasing Indigenous Victorian peoples' access to country

Mr Yotti Kingsley, David Aldous, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Rebecca Phillips

(2008), pp. 32-41, Just policy: a journal of Australian social policy, Melbourne, Vic., C1


Older people's relationships with companion animals : a pilot study

Ms Lauren Prosser, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, A/Prof Petra Staiger

(2008), Vol. 20, pp. 29-32, Nursing older people, London, England, C1


Healthy nature healthy people: 'contact with nature' as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations

Ms Cecily Maller, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Ms Anita Narelle Pryor, Mr Peter Brown, Prof Lawrence St Leger

(2006), Vol. 21, pp. 45-54, Health promotion international, Oxford, England, C1


Men shouldn't decide everything: women and the public realm.

A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2006), pp. 100-105, Urban design futures, London, England, B1


'Dig in' to social capital : community gardens as mechanisms for growing urban social connectedness

Mr Yotti Kingsley, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2006), Vol. 24, pp. 525-537, Urban policy and research: an Australian and New Zealand guide to urban affairs, London, Eng., C1


Feel blue? Touch green! Participation in forest/woodland management as a treatment for depression

A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2006), Vol. 5, pp. 111-120, Urban forestry & urban greening, Jena, Germany, C1


Health and well-being naturally: 'contact with nature' in health promotion for targeted individuals, communities and populations

Ms Anita Narelle Pryor, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Ms Cecily Maller, Karen Field

(2006), Vol. 17, pp. 114-123, Health promotion journal of Australia, West Perth, W.A., C1


Children's mental health and wellbeing and hands-on contact with nature

Ms Cecily Maller, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2006), Vol. 12, pp. 359-372, International journal of learning, Altona, Vic., C1


Linking human and ecosystem health: the benefits of community involvement in conservation groups

Dr Megan Moore, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr John Oldroyd

(2006), Vol. 3, pp. 255-261, Ecohealth, New York, N.Y., C1


Pathways to health through Australian woodlands and forests: `Sign-posts` from recent research and practice

A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2005), pp. 49-70, 1st European COSTAction E39 Conference, Urban Forestry for Human Health and Wellbeing proceedings, Thessaloniki, Greece, E1


Outdoor education and bush adventure therapy: A social-ecological approach to health and wellbeing.

Ms Anita Narelle Pryor, Ms Cathryn Carpenter, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2005), Vol. 9, pp. 3-13, Australian journal of outdoor education, Milton, Qld., C1


Sport safety policies and practices in two rural Victorian communities

Meghan Casey, Prof Caroline Finch, Ms Mary Mahoney, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2004), Vol. 7, pp. 226-231, Journal of science and medicine in sport, Belconnen, A.C.T., C1


"Healthy parks, health people" and other social capital initiatives of Parks Victoria, Australia

John Senior, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2003), pp. 111-120, Urban Imperative, Urban Outreach Strategies for Protected Area Agencies: Proceedings of a workshop at the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress, Sacramento, Calif., E1-1


Countering localised impacts of globalization: some rural community development initiatives in Australia

A/Prof Erica Hallebone, Ms Mary Mahoney, A/Prof Mardie Townsend

(2003), pp. 221-239, Globalization, localization and sustainable livelihoods, Aldershot, England, B1


Using environmental interventions to create sustainable solutions to problems to health and wellbeing

A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Ms Cecily Maller, Prof Lawrence St Leger, Mr Peter Brown

(2003), Vol. 3, pp. 58-69, Environmental health, Kangaroo Ground, Vic., C1


Rural sports and recreational injuries in Australia: what do we know?

Prof Caroline Finch, Ms Mary Mahoney, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Tsharni Zazryn

(2003), Vol. 11, pp. 151-158, Australian journal of rural health, Carlton, Vic., C1


Playing their part: the role of physical activity and sport in sustaining the health and well being of small rural communities

A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Dr Jan Moore, Ms Mary Mahoney

(2002), Vol. 2, pp. 1-6, International electronic journal of rural and remote health research, education, practice and policy, Deakin, A.C.T., C1


"Roll Up and Spend Your Last Dime". The Merry-go-round of Children`s Extra-curricular Activities in Modern Society.

A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Gabrielle Murphy

(2001), Vol. 48, pp. 10-13, ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal, Hindmarsh, S. Aust., C1


Countering rural policy impacts: community development initiatives for local control

A/Prof Mardie Townsend, Ms Mary Mahoney, A/Prof Erica Hallebone

(2001), Vol. 21, pp. 16-27, Just policy, Collingwood, Vic., C1


An `upside-down` view of rural health care

Ms Mary Mahoney, A/Prof Mardie Townsend, A/Prof Erica Hallebone, Mrs Patricia Nesbitt

(2001), Vol. 25, pp. 102-113, International journal of consumer studies, Oxford, England, C1