The Health Benefits of Nature


Medical research from around the world has documented the health benefits of getting out in nature. The Conservation Foundation’s new Nature Rx initiative strives to educate the community and promote the efforts of healthcare facilities, park districts, and forest preserves to engage people with the outdoors and the other living beings that share the places we call home. Through workshops, media, engagement activities, and educational materials, we are educating people about forest bathing and the physical and mental health benefits of getting out into nature, and exploring the endless ways a connection to nature improves our quality of life.

Nature Rx Initiatives

  • Establish partnerships with healthcare providers and insurers to promote using parks, and forest preserves as an important component of every day health.
  • Provide local experiences that encourage people to connect with nature and spend time outdoors (such as guided hikes, nature therapy walks, and sensory activities).
  • Work with businesses to establish wellness programs that incorporate nature-based outdoor activities.
  • Provide educational workshops to local communities, churches, schools, and businesses about the health benefits of outdoor activities.
  • Expand children’s programs to get children interacting with the outdoors.
  • Educate and work with property owners to bring more natural elements into their home landscapes through our Conservation@Home program.

Nature Rx

Program Objectives

  • Improve the physical and mental health of our communities.
  • Improve access to public open space for populations who use parks and forest preserves infrequently.
  • Increase participation in existing Nature Rx programs.
  • Establish collaboration between healthcare facilities, parks, and forest preserves to promote nature therapy and outdoor activities to their constituents.
  • Identify new ideas and approaches to promote health and reduce medical expenses.

For more information about these programs or if you have any questions, please contact your county’s Program Director at (630) 428-4500 or email [email protected].

Special thanks to the DuPage Foundation, the Nayar Family Foundation, Kane County Grand Victoria Riverboat Foundation external grant, and the Hamill Family Foundation (via the Fox River Initiative) for their financial support of The Conservation Foundation’s Nature Rx initiative!

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