Pittsburgh Parks Prescription: Improving mental and physical health through nature

by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

Have you ever noticed that a walk in the park can put you in a better mood? Or perhaps you find that you feel happier on a bright sunny day, and during the summer months when the days are longer? Well, there’s a reason for feeling that way! Research shows that spending time in nature has definite physical and mental benefits, resulting in an improved sense of overall mental and physical well-being.

The Pittsburgh Parks Prescription (Parks Rx) program aims to support the health and wellbeing of children and families by encouraging regular park use and contact with nature. The program first launched in 2016 in partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and has recently partnered with Adagio Health as well as they begin to implement park prescriptions into their services. For the past several years, Parks Rx has continued to engage community members and encourage Pittsburghers to embrace nature and all it has to offer. 

Parks Rx invites children and adults in every neighborhood to explore and enjoy their local parks. The program provides park activity ideas, resources for local park amenities, and education about the benefits of spending time in nature. Parks Rx also comes in handy for educators and healthcare professionals seeking to share resources and inspiration to get active outdoors and connect with nature. 

This year, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is delighted to announce that with the support of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Parks Rx program will continue to grow! Through DCNR funding, the Parks Conservancy and its partners will have the opportunity to increase sites issuing park prescriptions and provide training to healthcare professionals, teachers, early childhood educators, and park and recreation professionals.  

If you’d like to learn more about the Pittsburgh Parks Prescription Program, visit our Parks Rx webpage or contact Kathryn Hunninen, Senior Manager of Special Initiatives, khunninen@pittsburghparks.org.  

The Pittsburgh Parks Rx program is supported in part by financial assistance from the Environmental Stewardship Fund under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. 

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