Open Voices Blog

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

“I want to stop doing drugs and stay stopped. Help me…” #Benchstories #Naturescred

09/09/16 | View Comments

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

intersection-of-change-9-09

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“I came here to think about love…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

09/02/16 | View Comments

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

Stadium 9-01-16

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“I’ve done a lot of bad things to myself…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

08/26/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Franklin Square Hospital Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.Franklin Sq 8-25

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What is Sacred?

08/23/16 | View Comments

In the past few decades a surge of scientific research provides evidence connecting human health with the experience of nearby nature in cities. data_slide_c

The experience of “being in nature”, personal and deeply felt, commonly evokes feelings of transformation and contemplation. Literature and traditions recount the importance of nature in personal realizations of inspiration, deeper connections, mindfulness, and extended social connections.

This personal experience is historically described as “sacred”.

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“I hope the childless woman got her wish…” #Benchstories #Naturesacred

08/19/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the American Psychological Association.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

Am Psych Association 8-19

 

 

 

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Healthy Minds and Strong Communities

08/16/16 | View Comments

A holistic, optimistic approach to health supports productive individuals, and livable communities where people can thrive.

Health is not simply an absence of disease or infirmity, but is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Wholesome living environments integrate the opportunities of built, social, natural, and (increasingly) online components to help people be at their best. One important aspect of health – mental function and wellness – is not only the outcome of personal and lifestyle situations, but is highly dependent on the natural and built environments that surround a person.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Each person’s health, specifically mental health and wellness, is intricately integrated with the social and built environments around them.

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“I Rock…” #TKF Foundation, #Naturesacred

08/12/16 | View Comments

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Baltimore Clayworks in Baltimore, MD.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.8012016 clayworks

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National Park Service in Cities

08/09/16 | View Comments

August 25, 2016 marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.

A thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. Source: Michael McCarthy.

A thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park. Source: Michael McCarthy.

For at least 11,000 years Native Americans have lived near the headwaters of “Mi tsi a-da-zi”, the Rock Yellow River. Not so long ago in 1872, the U.S. Congress and President Grant established the country’s first national park in this watershed. This grand ecosystem in Wyoming is our beloved Yellowstone– 3,468.4 square miles of lakes, canyons, rivers, mountains, and the largest supervolcano on the continent. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone, and is rightly held to be the first national park in the world, not just the United States’.

After 1872, 35 additional national parks and monuments had been established by several presidents. On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act into law officially forming the National Park Service (NPS). NPS was established to manage and prevent neglect of these sites, and ensured the health of the now 84 million acres of land, monuments, reserves and historical sites under NPS protection. In 2016, NPS manages 411 national treasures in the form of parks, monuments, preserves, bodies of water, and other historical sites.

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“I stopped to appreciate this lovely spot…”

08/05/16 | View Comments

 

Today’s Bench Story comes from the journal in the Open Spaces Sacred Places at the Northeast Interfaith Peace Garden in Baltimore, MD.  #Benchstories are collected from the journals found in all TKF Foundation Open Spaces Sacred Places.

NE-Interfaith-8-04

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The Importance of Nature in Older Populations

08/02/16 | View Comments

TKF Whitman Walker 0127We live in an aging population. Around 14% of the population of the United States is aged 65 years or older. By 2060, it is estimated that this number will double. As we live longer and elder populations rise, the benefits of living near green space become more and more apparent. At the same time, the number of people living in towns and cities hovers around 80% placing an even greater importance on both the availability of and easy access to urban parks and green space.

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    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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