BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Peg Schofield, HTR
NJ - OPEN
NY - Anne Meore, LMSW, HTR
PA: Patti Loughridge, HTA
Elections and Awards
Janelle Zigon, HTR
Michelle Marquez (NY)
Mona Gold, HTM (PA)
Marsha Stamm Gayl, HTR
Members at Large
Megan Fainsinger – NJ
Elle Lobatto – NY
Mandy Swope-Joos, HTR – PA
Phyllis D’Amico, HTR
Pam Young, HTR;
Even with the crazy weather patterns, I think it’s safe to say: Spring is here! Hooray, another chance to “dig in” to nature and dream of the gardens of beautiful flowers and succulent veggies to come.
We were treated to some early season delights at our last MAHTN meeting at Greenworks Farm on March 19th. How lovely to see our members, old and new, learning the hydroponic growing methods used in the vocational HT program there. How wonderful to taste the results of their work in the beautiful salad offered for lunch to our members. Many thanks go to Bette Walters and her brother Brad, for their generous offerings that day.
Now on we go! Join us June 5th at our next members meeting in Suffern, NY at Good Samaritan Hospital, hosted by Anne Meore. Don’t miss this chance to tour the Garden of Hope.
Mark your calendars! Our annual MAHTN Conference will be held Friday, October 21, at Medford Leas Retirement Community (medfordleas.org), in Medford, NJ. We are gathering an exciting group of speakers who will offer new ideas to spark your HT programs. You will learn the new ways that effective marketing strategies and the use of available technology can enhance and grow your HT business. In addition, we will tour the greenhouse and community gardens on this beautiful campus, which is also an arboretum!
Come be a part of all our educational events, geared toward your personal growth as a HT professional. We are always looking for new sites to visit and ideas to share. Please step forward to help our great organization continue to grow. Feel free to bring a friend to the next meeting!
I look forward to seeing you soon. Warmly,
Peg Schofield, HTR
1. Learn more about the research on the restorative power of nature, and promote additional, needed research. Within the health care and wellness community, growing interest in the benefits of nature for children and adults is based on a growing body of scientific research (though more is needed), and alarm about what some medical experts call the pandemic of inactivity.
2. Prescribe nature. Recommend green exercise in nearby nature to your patients and their families. Use one of several nature-prescription pads supplied by different organizations, including C&NN. (Note: some health providers prefer the word “recommend” to “prescribe.”) Attend one of the Nature Champion training sessions offered by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).
3. Educate parents and kids. In your office, offer brochures and display posters about the health benefits of outdoor play in nature. Provide information on where parents, grandparents and other caregivers can get outdoors. NEEF offers reproducible brochures for your office and other useful resources and information.
4. Go a step further. On their first visit, send families home with a picnic or gardening basket or daypack filled with a guide to local trails, maps, a compass, a magnifying lens, a trowel. Enlist local outdoor gear shops and bookstores to donate the gear and reap the praise. (Send out a press release; this would be a good story for a local TV station and a great way to educate the public.)
5. Provide outdoor safety information: For example, provide Web site addresses or printed material on how to avoid ticks, noxious plants and other risks of nature, including the use of pesticides and herbicides on lawns. Parents have valid concerns about dangers outside, so they need knowledge about how to reduce those risks. At the same time, they need your help understanding the great risks of a sedentary lifestyle.
6. Suggest nature as an added strategy to reduce ADHD symptoms in some children. Researchers at the University of Illinois suggest nature time as an added or alternative therapy for some children diagnosed with ADHD and other, similar conditions. Also, let parents know how nature can help many children without attention difficulties do better in school.
7. Encourage family bonding and community-building, through shared nature experiences. Many of the health issues facing young people today are rooted in their family and community lives and in accumulated toxic stress. Suggest nature time as a cost-effective bonding agent for parents, children, grandchildren and friends. Hand out C&NN’s family nature club toolkits, encouraging multiple families to head outside together. See C&NN’s resources including Together in Nature: Pathways to a Stronger, Closer Family.
8. Create a nature-smart office environment for your patients, your staff and yourself. Use biophilic design principles in your office, clinic or hospital. Create an outdoor play and learning space on the grounds of your practice, and encourage families to create natural play spaces in their own yards and neighborhoods – urban, suburban and rural. Set an example for your patients’ homes and gardens.
9. Spread the word. Help organize your community to confront the pandemic of inactivity and connect kids and families to green exercise. Get involved with or help start a regional campaign. More than 100 already exist in North America; these groups are your nearby allies. Dr. Rosen writes, “We must be willing, as a health-care profession, to leave our silos and work together with those colleagues in education, government, and environmental planning who value nature as a key to optimal health.”
10. Hike thyself. Be restored in nature.
About the Author:
Richard Louv is Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization supporting the international movement to connect children, their families and their communities to the natural world. This article is reprinted with permission from C&NN. He is the author of eight books, including "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" and "The Nature Principle." His ninth book, "Vitamin N," will be published in April, 2016. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal.
(C) Copyright Richard Louv. All rights reserved.