Pictured is The Roosevelt Arch, located at the North entrance and constructed in 1903 to be the impressive gateway to Yellowstone National Park. It is inscribed with a phrase from the legislation that established Yellowstone as history’s first National Park, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.” Unfortunately there are those that are still unable to experience these “Benefits." It is the Mission of the Outdoors for Everyone Project to alleviate this situation.
by David Mills, Founder
It’s easy for me, simply from personal experience, to say that there are great benefits to being exposed to nature. John Muir, known as the Father of the National Parks System, had a sense of the effects of the outdoors when he wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings” long before the research of today verified the positive aspects of a “nature immersion.” While it has always seemed obvious to me that time spent in the outdoors has a positive impact, what I didn’t realize until investigating the topic was the vast amount of research validating the importance of exposure to the natural world.
Of particular importance to the Outdoors for Everyone Project, is that not only are there benefits to being physically outdoors, but there are important benefits that can be derived from exposure to indoor environments enhanced through nature-based design. In other words, research shows that benefits can be derived from simply viewing photos of the outdoors even though an individual may find themselves in a hospital, senior home, or classroom. Since this is the thrust of the Outdoors for Everyone Project, “bringing the outdoors to those that can’t for one reason or another experience it for themselves,” it’s rewarding to know that the science backs the idea.
The research comes from a wide array of sources: academic, scientific, and governmental. Titles can range from the straightforward “The Health Benefits Of The Great Outdoors” to the more technical sounding “Functional Neuroanatomy Associated with Natural and Urban Scenic views in the Human Brain: 3.OT Functional MR Imaging.” Here’s an excerpt from the aforementioned study “. . . the idea that the differential functional neuroanatomies for each scenic view are presumably related with subject’s emotional responses to the natural and urban environment, and thus the differential functional neuroanatomy can be utilized as a neural index for the . . .“ To put it a bit simpler, the conclusion of this study is really nothing more than . . . nature tends to make us feel better.
To reiterate, this growing body of research correlates more time in nature – or in home, work, school, or hospital environments enhanced through nature-based design AND the simple act of viewing photos of nature, with a vast and impressive number of benefits. Fortunately, and thanks to the Outdoors for Everyone Project, the benefits are available to everyone, not just those able to, as John Muir puts it “climb a mountain.”
It is not my intent to offer an exhaustive treatise on this subject, but rather to offer a few basics and to encourage the reader to investigate further. In light of ever changing locations (links) to any particular item on the internet, and since we are not interested in maintaining these correct locations (links) on this website, only a few references (links) are cited. A simple Google search of “The Benefits Of The Outdoors” will reveal much of the information referenced here. In the end, the main impression the reader will come away with is the importance of the Outdoors for Everyone Project in enriching the lives of its audience.
Benefits From Exposure To The Natural World.
As mentioned prior, and of particular importance to the Outdoors for Everyone Project, studies such as can be found in the Neuropsychologia Journal point to the positive benefits of simply looking at photos of nature. It’s probably accurate to say that most of us take the benefits of exposure to the outdoors derived from the most basic act of looking at photos, for granted. But for those denied exposure to the natural world for whatever reason, what we take for granted can be the tonic for a myriad of issues, from just feeling down to recovering from surgery. In many ways the outdoors is the magic elixir for a better life. And while much is beginning to be done to encourage those who are already able to get outdoors to do so and reap its benefits, let us not forget those that can’t, for one reason or another, experience the therapeutic, inspirational, and educational benefits of the outdoors for themselves.
Research Conducted By The Following Entities.
And many more . . . encompassing a vast number of scientists, researchers, educators, doctors, and health care professionals from physiological anthropologists to neurologists.
Study Results Found In The Following Publications / Locations.
Many articles can be located in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, www.nlm.nih.gov and various peer-reviewed academic journals on health, well-being, and adult and childhood development.
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