“Research clearly shows that spending just a few hours in nature per week has tangible benefits for health and well-being, including improved mood and immune system functioning, as well as reduced stress levels.”
In my role as mental health promotion program director, I am working to impact multiple levels of influence regarding campus mental health and well-being. As the lead for Cornell Health’s clinical application of NatureRx, being able to highlight safe, beautiful natural areas for walking/running/hiking, sitting/meditating/ bird watching and exploring various gardens and other plant life has made it easier for our medical and mental health providers to actually prescribe nature to campus community members. Cornell Botanic Gardens is a natural partner and perfect “fit” for upstream, prevention approaches to student, staff, and faculty mental health and well-being. Additionally, as a person of color who is an avid outdoors lover, it is important to me that we extend the invitation to the outdoors to our students of color, many of whom have not yet been exposed to the beauty, wonder, and health benefits provided by nature.