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Nature's Impact on Human Health Toolkit

tncfsInspiring Communities

As a growing body of research links improved community health in cities with nearby nature and green infrastructure, climate change and an urbanizing planet threaten the health of both nature and people in cities. Now, more than ever, nature-based solutions need to be implemented at scale. But, how does one validate the relationship of nature and human health to inspire communities to invest time and resources?

Collaborating for Nature

The USDA Forest Service (USFS) and The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) North America Cities Network are collaborating on a project entitled Nature’s Impact on Human Health. As part of this project, TNC, the USDA Forest Service and several partners are developing a resource toolkit to help practitioners with limited access to formal researchers to demonstrate the human health effects of green interventions in their communities.

Currently in its third phase of revisions, the toolkit is a package of peer-reviewed instruments, a rapid health assessment tool, and basic guidance to help toolkit users identify how people feel about their own health in general and as a result of nature engagement, what nature-based health-related needs are important in a particular community, and how individuals rate their nature experiences, among other things. It is designed to assess an intervention’s impact within four human health and well-being domains: physical activity/health, mental health, social cohesion, environmental exposures.

With Knowledge Comes Value

  • Measuring the impact of a green intervention enables understanding of its effectiveness, informs future program adjustments and provides evidence to enhance storytelling.
  • Clear and authentic communication is an essential component for community dialogue, new and continued funding opportunities, and policy development.
  • The vetted toolkit provides one resource for a variety of disparate stakeholders to rally around and to build a constituency of supporters for interventions.

Project Partners

Health Equity Works, Nashville Health, National Park Service, National Recreation and Park Association, Northwestern University, Washington University in St. Louise, Wilderness Society, Willamette Partnership

For information contact Rachel Holmes at The Nature Conservancy, rholmes@TNC.ORG, 973-420-8954

Date Prepared
Sep 24, 2020
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