January 25, 2018

DuPage Environmental Summit Shows Benefits of Nature

“Nature Rx: How Spending Time in Nature is Good for Our Mind, Body, and Soul” was the theme for the Conservation Foundation’s DuPage Environmental Summit.

This year’s featured speaker was Dr. Teresa Horton from Northwestern University.

“We use energy and neuro-resources to pay attention to our tedious, dull, everyday work. And what has been found is that when you spend time outside your brain relaxes and the pathways that have been working so hard to keep you focused can relax so that’s why it’s called an attention restoration hypothesis because it means you are restored, you can come back and go back to work,” explained Dr. Horton, who’s an associate professor.

Horton discussed her research on how a simple daily walk or potting a plant can drastically change behavior, from decreasing aggression and stress to improving attention and physical health.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that there are real cost saving benefits to saving green space because it helps reduce health care costs in the long run because it helps prevent major health problems.”

Over 350 were in attendance at the Northern Illinois University’s Naperville campus, which included conservationists from environmental organizations and the forest preserve districts in the area

“A lot of people think that conservation is just for the people that are ‘tree huggers’ but it’s not, it’s for everyone,” said Jan Roehll, the DuPage County program director for the Conservation Foundation. “And [Dr. Horton’s] research shows that benefits of being in nature are so great and they found it beneficial for children that are have ADHD and also people that have mental health disabilities. It’s not only physical it’s also mental.”

This was the 14th year of the DuPage Environmental Summit.

You can watch all of the presentations from the environmental summit on the Conservation Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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