Did you know that exposure to nature decreases anxiety, depression, and negative rumination; while at the same time increasing well being and creative problem solving? Scientific studies from Stanford University (Gregory Bratman) and NIH (David Pearson), among others, have recently verified the benefits of a connection to nature.
People with disabilities and underserved populations often don’t have the same access to nature preserves and environmental education as the general public. The Lewisboro Land Trust Access Nature Program reaches out to people with disabilities and the underserved to provide an easy, comfortable, safe experience with nature while educating on the benefits gained. We design each program to fit the needs of each individual group, sometimes using educational naturalists, or work programs, and even pairing up with local high school students.
In the past three years the Lewisboro Land Trust has completed its Access Nature pilot project. We have run a dozen Access Nature programs with the intellectually challenged, the mentally ill, non-English-speaking immigrants, and persons with brain disorders and injuries who live in our local communities. The response to our programs has been overwhelmingly successful. In addition to the benefits of exercise and nature we have found these programs stimulate cognitive functioning, socialization, a desire for more information, greater self esteem and self-reliance, and the confidence to enjoy nature on their own.
Now we are embarking on our second phase to grow this program. The need is there and the results are clear. We have an ambitious 3 year plan and by 2020 will be offering 20 of these programs a year. We plan to expand into other populations with disabilities and the underserved. We have witnessed the need and the rewards of this outreach program first hand. It is our wish to be able to offer this program to a greater constituency.
Donations to Access Nature can be made through the Donate link here. If you would like your donation to go directly to fund Access Nature indicate so with your check (payable to LLT, POB 496, South Salem NY 10590) or online donation and it will be restricted for Access Nature.
Access Nature Committee:
Gigi Guthrie- Access Nature Program Coordinator