The Healing Power of Parks

There’s no arguing the benefits of a public park system – from the increased physical activity to higher property values to a greater impact on tourism, parks play a key role in the health and wellbeing of our community. The Trust for Public Land has produced all sorts of studies and reports outlining the many benefits of public parks.

But what if, in addition to all those economic benefits, parks made us a kinder and more compassionate people? That’s the idea posed by Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children and Nature Network, in his recent blog post “Six Ways Nature in Our Lives Can Reduce the Violence in Our World.” Louv is quick to point out a connection to nature won’t heal all our social ills, but he does point to a body of evidence and research that supports a definite power in spending time with nature – especially for children.

He offers up six reasons why “meaningful relationships with nature may — in concert with other approaches — bolster mental health and civility, and reduce human violence in our world.” Among them are the physical and mental benefits of green exercise, a potential decrease in bullying and domestic violence and helping children learn empathy.

The Conservancy has a great upcoming event that helps connect children to their local parks: the Teddy Bear Picnic on March 10 in Hampton Park. It’s an opportunity to introduce children to our local parks and help them establish a lifelong love of green space.

Do you believe in the power of nature to reduce violence in our world? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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