Take a walk through the woodlands. Travel the campus trails. Wander through the Ambler Arboretum gardens. Stroll to the center of the Healing Garden labyrinth.
Breathe deep. Take a moment for yourself. Recharge. Reenergize.
The benefits from getting outside and engaging in outdoor activities for the mind, body and spirit are well-documented and help to create a lasting connection to nature and wildlife that help promote happiness and good health. The Ambler Arboretum of Temple University and the Ambler Campus are an excellent resource to reconnect with the world around you and reap the healing benefits of reacquainting yourself with the natural world. Think of it as "NatureRx."
What is NatureRx?
NatureRx is a grassroots movement focused on the idea that going outside to play and relax is good for you. Everything is branded in our world, whether it be the gas we use to drive our cars or the coffee we drink to fuel ourselves. Nature is really the only thing that doesn't have a brand. This movement was designed to bring humor and information into sync as a campaign to get more people outside for their own good.
The Ambler Arboretum of Temple University is a center for environmental and horticultural education, research and conservation and a community resource, modeling environmental responsibility and the art and science of horticulture while celebrating the achievements of women in horticulture, preserving the historic significance of the campus and highlighting the health benefits of nature, plants, and gardening.
The Ambler Arboretum offers everything from shade covered wooded walks to gorgeous formal gardens. What better way to take your daily dose of Nature than a stroll through one of our gardens?
The ideas behind NatureRx aren't only for our benefit. They are also designed to change people's mindset toward being a part of nature rather than separate entities. By being a part of the natural order of things, the realities and challenges presented by climate change and sustainable living become personal issues. At the Arboretum, we take our place within nature very seriously, but we try to do so in a fun and engaging way. Through community outreach and events for all ages, we show that there is a space for everyone at any level in the natural world. There are small changes that anyone can make to bring themselves into a more sustainable mindset.
Below we have a collection of some of the facts and figures on our NatureRX cards, and the citations to the real science behind them. Read to find out more, and prescribe yourself a little NatureRx at the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University today!
Did you Know?
When you are anxious or stressed out, your brain’s ability to capture and process information drops by as much as 80 percent. This is called the "Mental Noise Theory" and was developed by Dr. Vincent Covello to explain why stress affects the efficacy of communication during difficult times.
Research shows that spending just 20 minutes in nature helps lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead researcher of the cited study (see below) said "Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature."
Studies show that students who took a leisurely walk through an arboretum performed better in short term memory tests when compared to students who spent the same amount of time walking in the city.
Nature Rx is Part of our History
Elizabeth Hall a 1924 graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Hortiuclture for Women (PSHW) later went on to become a world-respected librarian for the New York Botanical Garden where she worked for more than 20 years but her first position after graduating as a Horticulture Therapist. While prior to this time there was an understanding of the value of gardens in healing settings, this may be the first time someone was hired with the title and specific tasks of working to improve patients' health through the act of gardening. In a 1924 edition of the Bulletin of the Bureau of Vocational Information, Louise Carter, the new PSHW Director writes: "Another position which is quite unusual has developed recently in the field of horticulture. Miss Elizabeth Hall, Radcliff College, 1921, will graduate in July from the School of Horticulture at Ambler. Early in the fall she will begin her work at the Pennsylvania Hospital, Department of Nervous and Mental Diseases, under the Department of Occupational Therapy. She will have complete charge of the gardens and greenhouses and will organize and supervise the work of the patients. It is a new department for the hospital of this sort, and it seems to offer many possibilities, for there is no work in the world more wholesome or more soothing to weary nerves than garden work." Learn more about Elizabeth Hall.
Read more about these NatureRX topics
by visiting the associated links below.
Covello, V. (2012). Risk Communication and Environmental Health: Principles, Strategies, Tools, and Techniques. In R. H. Friis, R. H. (Ed.). The Praeger Handbook of Environmental Health (pp 367 – 389). Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com.
Frontiers. (2019, April 4). Just 20 minutes of contact with nature will lower stress hormone levels, reveals new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2019, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190404074915.htm.
Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207–1212. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x