News and Events
Fresh air, lush foliage, open space, and sunshine. Time spent outdoors isn’t just good for the soul—research at UW EarthLab is showing it’s also good for the mind and body.
Even in the Pacific Northwest, where the weather is often, let’s say, less than optimal, getting out into nature brings with it a host of health benefits.
And there are plenty of options in the Seattle area, even in the heart of the city.
At least two decades of research confirms what might seem obvious for many residents of the Pacific Northwest: time in nature is good for you. It can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression and anxiety, and even reduce nearsightedness in children.
But how often should you interact with the natural world? Where? And for how long? Is gazing at the stars from your backyard enough to reap rewards?
A global study has concluded that people are essential to conserving the pollinators that maintain and protect biodiversity, agriculture and habitat.
“There’s increasing awareness of the importance of pollinators to our quality of life,” lead researcher Rosemary Hill said. “That discussion is often reduced to how to protect bees, and how to expand the amount of land managed as conservation reserves.
According to the best available evidence, connecting with nature offers considerable promise in addressing a range of health challenges. Pooja S. Tandon, a pediatrician and researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital, assistant professor at the University of Washington, and active member of UW EarthLab’s Nature for Health initiative, and Kyle Yasuda, the 2018 president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics and co-founder of BestStart Washington, penned an opinion piece in the Seattle Times about how outdoor play is correlated with physical activity, improved motor skills, better vision and vitamin D levels — especially in children.Read more
The Center, with the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, was awarded a four-year Title VI grant in September in part to build regional expertise on the Salish Sea. A key initiative includes support for Social Science for the Salish Sea, a project co-led by staff at UW EarthLab and the Puget Sound Partnership, that brings together over 40 social scientists and environmental practitioners from diverse disciplines, organizations, and Tribes and First Nations in the region to outline a research agenda aimed at improving our understanding of the human dimensions of the Salish Sea.Read more
Time spent in nature can reduce anxiety and help you sleep better at night, experts have found. It also offers promising benefits for a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity.
But there are still many questions about how time in nature can help with these health conditions, and others. A new University of Washington initiative announced this week seeks to advance research on these questions, connecting academic researchers with pediatricians, childcare providers, mental health practitioners and others who work with various populations on critical health issues.
One fall day on Washington’s Mount Rainier, Josh Brandon and a group of fellow active duty platoon leaders discovered something about the outdoors that could improve the lives of veterans.
It was September 2009 and the group had decided to make a late-season summit attempt of Washington’s highest peak as part of a team-building exercise. The platoon leaders, who were all members of the same infantry company, began their climb in the early morning hours.
Dedication. Passion. Determination. Resilience. Pride. The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars exuded these feelings and many others during the Conservation Scholar Summit, where individuals shared connections with their communities, cultures and environment. Most significantly, they planted their banners of belonging to the environmental movement — a fitting conclusion to the scholars’ summer.
ECOSS was fortunate to host two Doris Duke scholars this summer: Pheng Lor, a UC Berkeley student focusing on conservation and LGBT studies, and MaKail Crawford, hailing from Wesleyan University working on classics and Latino studies.
Join us for a day exploring the connecting between nature and human health at our 2018 Nature and Health Symposium and Dough Walker Lecture.
Nature and Health Symposium
This annual one-day symposium held each fall brings together professionals and community leaders in the fields of health, conservation, design and planning, and education to learn from each other and explore common goals and collective strategies related to the human health benefits of being in nature, from gardens to wildlands.
We’re living in the Anthropocene, or the epoch in which humans are—for the first time—the dominant driver of global change related to climate and the environment. As polar ice melts, sea levels rise, and storm and wildfire seasons get longer and more intense, climate projections suggest the Earth will be several degrees warmer by 2100. Although most Americans say climate change is an important topic, research shows fewer than half see it talked about in the media and just one in five discuss it with their peers.Read more