Connecting the dots: the importance of nature for our well-being during COVID-19



From the Massachusetts Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network (Mass ECAN). 

We know that open and green spaces have many co-benefits for climate adaptation. They can also benefit fish and wildlife species, when habitat and functioning ecosystems are prioritized. But, in these COVID times, let’s take time to celebrate the amazing health benefits of being in nature.

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The importance of nature to our well-being has been widely studied. Now, more than ever, we need a boost for our mental and physical health, to help reduce stress and to build personal resilience during these difficult times. Doctors are recommending time outdoors for both kids and adults. But spending time outside is especially important for kids, in part to combat “nature deficit disorder.” 

Fortunately, one positive behavior change to come out of the pandemic is increased outdoor activity. With so many appreciating nature more than ever, this is the moment to help connect the dots between nature and public health, along with the many co-benefits for climate change, species conservation, community resilience, etc. 

Connecting these dots goes hand-in-hand with ongoing work to promote open and green spaces, nature-based solutions, and land conservation. Here’s to ensuring that this positive trend of connecting to nature sticks long after we emerge from quarantine. 

For more on the health benefits of time in the woods and "forest bathing," see previous WOW article "Wellness in Penn's Woods."