Nature Sacred unveils its first strategic plan as an operating foundation

By Alden E. Stoner,
Nature Sacred CEO

How Nearby Nature Can Heal Us

Nature heals. It reconnects us to our human spirits. It connects us to one another as we are all a part of nature. Thus, nature is for all.

We have seen over time that the further we as humans get from nature, the more unwell we both become; and inversely, the closer we get to nature, the healthier we become. 

At the beginning of our strategic planning process in early 2020, some of the most pervasive public health issues occupying our thoughts were the opioid crisis and the increasing ranks of those suffering from mental health issues, often triggered by loneliness. The latter can be twice as harmful to one’s physical health as obesity. Then came a new pandemic of COVID, and attention to an existing epidemic of systemic racism in this country. Meanwhile, there are more people living in cities than ever before, about 80% of the population, meaning most of us are surrounded by more concrete, less grass and fewer trees. We are at risk.  

As outlined in our Healing Power of Nature report, science has proven nearby nature can alleviate depression, stress and mental fatigue. It can improve cardiovascular health, obstetrical outcomes and reduce crime. And now more important than ever, it can address symptoms of burnout, which most of us, especially frontline workers, are feeling daily. 

In our hearts, we always knew this was true. Science is catching up to the age-old wisdom.


Never before have parks made front-page news as they have in the wake of COVID. As the pandemic forced the closure of museums, shops and businesses across the country, parks were the last to close and the first to re-open. This crisis highlighted the need for fresh air to breathe, trees to marvel, another place to be outside our homes. Spaces to practice mindfulness. 

Critically, not all have access to nearby nature. Addressing inequities in nature has been a part of our work since the beginning. We have partnered with communities in the creation of contemplative greenspace where there is little or none. But there is much more to be done. This plan approaches diversity, equity and inclusion more intentionally than ever before. 

Over the years, many have debated as to whether nearby nature is an amenity or a necessity. We believe the debate is now over.

– Alden Stoner, CEO Nature Sacred

The strategic plan you see here is the output of a journey – a labyrinth walk of sorts.

We asked questions to many people and of ourselves on where we can help most, how we can do better, what problems we can address, and most importantly, how we can show up as the best versions of ourselves in the world each and every day.

This work is a moving meditation for us as we dream forward, meanwhile responding to the reality of the times. 



Our newsletter shares the latest on our work to cultivate the creation of meaningful greenspaces in every community.