People are being asked to contribute money to the BC Parks Foundation to help it offer gifts of guided nature therapy sessions to doctors and nurses in the western province of British Columbia. Health care staff are working long hours in enormously stressful situations as the pandemic drags on.
“These wonderful people are giving a lot of themselves to keep us healthy and we are asking British Columbians to send them gratitude in the way they can use most – stress relief,” said Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation.
Sessions will be virtual
Each public contribution of $25 will go toward providing a doctor or nurse a 90 minute session with a guide. Because of COVID-19 restrictions the guides cannot meet the health care worker in person. Instead, the doctor or nurse will go to a park, beach, green space or even a backyard and connect with a guide via Zoom or phone. The guide will invite them to slow down and to get in touch with the sights, sounds and smells in nature.
This type of therapy is inspired by the Japanese shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” The foundation holds that “a strong body of research demonstrates that time in nature boosts immune function and life expectancy and lowers the risk of developing a host of conditions from heart disease to diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety.”
If this crowdfunding campaign to offer nature therapy to doctors and nurses is successful, it could be expanded to include other health care workers. The foundation says the sessions will run as long as there is the money to support them. to give back to them,” says Day.
The BC Parks Foundation is a charitable organization which supports the provincial park system in British Columbia. It has also fostered a national program to encourage doctors to prescribe time in nature to patients with conditions like depression and anxiety.