Beautiful old cottonwood tree in fall color near the San Juan River in New Mexico.
Cottonwood Tree Beautiful old cottonwood tree in fall color near the San Juan River in New Mexico. © Erika Nortemann / TNC

Newsroom

Science Proves Nature is Medicine for our Minds and Bodies

Free interactive conversation with critically acclaimed author of book about nature's benefits.

Author, journalist and podcaster Florence Williams.
Florence Williams Author, journalist and podcaster Florence Williams. © Luka Dakskobler

Time in nature make us happier, healthier and more creative. Want proof? Join The Nature Conservancy (TNC) when it hosts a free, interactive conversation with Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, and Terry Sullivan, TNC’s state director for New Mexico, on May 21st from 3 – 4 p.m. Mountain.

In her book, Williams shares the science about how our brain responds to nature. She calls them nature’s neurons and proves the remarkable ways spending times outdoors can make us better people and improve our quality of life. 

Williams’s inspiration came after moving from Colorado to Washington D.C. “There’s a lot I love about a big city,” notes Florence in her book. “It’s just that I noticed some dramatic things about my mood, creativity, imagination and productivity in different environments.”

Her research took her to Japan, Korea, islands in Finland and eucalyptus groves in California. Everywhere she went, science revealed the many benefits of spending time outdoors. For example, a walk in the forest slows your heart rate, relaxes your facial muscles and boosts productivity and creativity. Even smelling pine needles can boost your immune system! 

According to Williams’s findings, American children today spend half as much time outdoors as their parents did. Instead, they spend more than seven hours on a screen, and that’s outside of school.  

“Technology is an important part of our lives; however, science tells us that we need to prioritize spending more time outside,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing in nature – whether it’s walking around the block, eating a meal on the patio or hiking in the forest, I always feel better. We’re excited to offer this interactive opportunity for people to get hooked on nature.”

Recent studies have also proven nature provides relief for health issues like heart disease, depression, cancer, anxiety and attention disorders. The growing body of science has prompted some leaders and medical professionals to prescribe walks in the parks for their patients.

Williams added: “Bottom line: get outdoors and take your children with you.” 

TNC encourages following all health department guidelines when it comes to heading outside during the pandemic.

To join TNC TV – an interactive, online event featuring Williams and Sullivan on May 21st at 3:00 p.m. Mountain  – click here to register. Time will be given to answer some of your most pressing questions.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.