Open Voices Blog

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

This Portland Hospital System is Using Nature to Help its Employees Combat Stress

05/02/17 | View Comments

Workplace stress can be brutal. Its effects, researchers have repeatedly found, are both broad and deep, impacting our health, job performance — relationships. In fact, a 2015 working paper from Harvard and Stanford Business Schools reported the alarming fact that work-related stress accounts for more deaths than Alzheimer’s or diabetes. Yet, aside from the occasional gym membership, most US companies are doing little, if anything at all, to help their employees cope.

But there are exceptions. Legacy Health, which operates multiple hospitals, including Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, runs an innovative HR program that incorporates nature as a critical component of its efforts to combat workplace stress. It’s led by the hospital’s medical director of employee health, Dr. Minot Cleveland, who is serious about his commitment to getting Legacy’s employees — from surgeons to administrative staff — outside.

A Horticultural Therapist’s Influence

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“God, you have me crying over you…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

04/28/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places at The League for People with Disabilities in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories come from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“You are ok. Everything will be ok!” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

04/21/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Washington Parks and People – Meridan Hilltop Gathering Place in Washington, DC. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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Riots, Respite and Renewal in West Baltimore

04/12/17 | View Comments

From the outside, it could be easy to make assumptions about Sandtown-Winchester—the West Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was fatally arrested two years ago today. Vacant, dilapidated homes and boarded-up storefronts tell a candid story—a story of persistent poverty, crime, and misfortune. Yet, if you look closely, bright glimmers of promise and progress dot the urban landscape in some surprising ways.

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Running from Tigers and Deadlines

04/10/17 | View Comments

In the cities of 2017, nearby nature provides opportunities to enjoy the scenery, relax, sit quietly, commune with others, and self-reflect. For early human ancestors, a stroll through the neighborhood might have been a bit more stressful. A run-in with a tiger or a warring tribe causes blood pressure to spike and stress hormones to shift. Are today’s pressures comparable to our ancestors’? Today, and in the past, the places we inhabit and the events we experience influence our bodies and minds in sometimes imperceptible ways.

The city is a place for crowds, technology, traffic, AND nature. Source: wikimedia

Understanding Stress

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“Yet I am here. We are here.” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

04/07/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the National Park Foundation: Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, D.C. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places. (Photo by Len Spoden)

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“Unconditional love is for us all…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

03/31/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Baltimore, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

 

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“Dearest Park…..keep up the great work…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

03/23/17 | View Comments

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

Crispus Atticucks 2-24

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“A wonderful day to love and to listen…” #Naturesacred #Benchstories

03/17/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

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“Chronic Illness back again…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

03/10/17 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at A Nature Place, Legacy Emanual Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places. 

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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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