In 2016, our Health Care Provider Pilot Program was an innovative community campaign working with Whatcom County healthcare providers to engage the public and give them a “Parkscription” to a local park with a web-based mapping tool. Our publication Parkscriptions Health Care Provider Pilot Program Review 2016-2021 (PDF) gives a broad summary and outlines our Reflections and Next Steps for the first five years of program development.
Essentially, we determined that we need to create programming for the public. Read all about it…
Parkscriptions is an evolving program. Through the pandemic, we looked for ways to create programming to get people outside in small groups. We made a valiant effort, but the timing wasn’t right. More on this later.
In 2022, our staff started working with two teachers at Options High School, Joe Wooding and Eddie Vulic, with their 9th & 12th grade Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students. Elizabeth Nelson, our Director of Programs, met the students weekly in local city parks during fall and spring quarters.
The primary goal of the program is to improve students’ connection with nature. Our shared mission is to educate students on using positive coping skills through incorporating their five senses while in nature to learn about the natural environment and what it means to be a steward with a relationship to place. Together, we support the development of students as they learn how to use the health benefits of nature to improve their emotional and behavioral health in tandem with becoming environmentally conscious, resilient, responsible, and productive citizens as aligned with the goals of the AVID classes.
Read our publication Parkscriptions Pilot Program at Options High School (PDF) for the 2022-23 school year. We are offering this program for a second year, with funding from a State of Washington’s Recreation and Conservation Office “No Child Left Inside” grant for the 2023-24 school year. Also during this year, we are working to expand the program throughout the Bellingham School District, meeting with district staff and other members of our community.
Currently, in addition to our work with the AVID students at Options High School, we offer custom wellness experiences for individuals, small groups, and corporate retreats to learn the health benefits of nature and provide an opportunity for team building in a natural setting. We are constantly evolving and expanding our programming for more people to “Get Your Dose of Nature.”