Open Voices Blog

News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities

“Always live your life to the fullest…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

06/03/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Crispus Attucks Park in Washington, D.C. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“But I am here. Healing. Mending….” #Benchstories, #Naturesacred

05/27/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the UMMS-Rehabilitation Orthopedic Institute in Baltimore, MD.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places

umms-5-27-16

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Nature Sacred community spaces open and thriving

05/24/16 | View Comments

A Brooklyn Nature Sacred community space opens to the public.

The curving walkway in the new Naval Cemetery Landscape. Source: Menelik Puryear

The curving walkway in the new Naval Cemetery Landscape. Source: Menelik Puryear

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“May those who walk here…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

05/20/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Placesbench-story-5-19

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“God has healed me…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

05/13/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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Nature Sacred Research Collection Now Available

05/10/16 | View Comments

How do we build more contemplative spaces in cities?

The global population is increasingly urban. More and more people are moving to cities for opportunities and resources, each region facing different challenges. City budgets are tight and communities have many needs. In the U.S. the ‘baby boomer’ population is aging into retirement. Globally, demands to compete and succeed in professional and personal lives can lead to mental and physical health decline. Inequality can hinder access to healthy places to live and thrive.  Across these situations and demographics, a quiet moment in a nature space provides health benefits, sometimes extending into the long-term. Despite the known benefits, funding for green spaces in the midst of these needs can be challenging.

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“Life is a Treasure…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

05/06/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Stadium Place – Thanksgiving Place Labyrinth. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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Stewardship of Civic Sacred Space

05/03/16 | View Comments

“I’ve found that it’s usually the process of coming together as a community that makes a place sacred, not simply the existence of green space.”

A visit to Tanner Springs Park tends to include observing water life.

Portland’s Tanner Springs Park provides stormwater management and community engagement benefits.

 

Outdoor environments, particularly in cities, can deliver transformational benefits to users and surrounding communities. The experience of nearby nature can offer sanctuary, solace, and places for mindful reflection. Civic Sacred nature spaces can aid in community healing and connection.

What does it take to support and foster a community green space? In areas with a lack of funding or community engagement, it can be challenging. In many instances, challenges are overcome because of a few dedicated community leaders. Stewards of these spaces could be an initial community leader, one who volunteers to maintain a garden, or one who regularly visits because they recognize the value and healing within. Green spaces can be a powerful community powered mechanism for recovery after natural disasters or social need response.

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“Walk softly and marvel at all creation” #Benchstory #Naturesacred

04/29/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at UMMS Rehabilitation & Orthopedic Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

UMMS-4-28

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Track your own nature experience

04/26/16 | View Comments

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Since the 1970s, health and nature research has integrated self-report questionnaires in understanding human experience. Analysis and design of these kinds of surveys has advanced tremendously, as well as methods to quantify changes in the human brain and body. But, much of what is known over the last few centuries has been based on conscious self-expression from philosophers and poets. Contemporary writers such as Rachel Carson, Jane Austen, and Jack Kerouac share personal accounts of a nature experience. In the past decade, powerful insight and meaning is gleaned from the breadth of experiences documented in Nature Sacred’s Bench Stories.

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    TKF Foundation
    ©1999-2016

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    About Us

    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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