Community Healing Initiative

How to heal and unify urban communities grappling with discord, division and lost hope?

Nature is essential to our health and wellbeing. This is the case for everyone — urbanites and rural-dwellers; nature lovers and nature skeptics alike. For instance, walking past trees and green lowers our blood pressure and cortisol levels whether we are aware of it or not. So for many of us, the verdant places we call home offer us a silent advantage — an advantage not equally afforded to all.

It’s this dearth of access, this inequality, that our Community Healing Initiative seeks to help address by working with neighborhoods, community leaders and other organizations to help create contemplative nature spaces, Sacred Places, where they are lacking.

What it is


History and experience has taught us that for green spaces to be truly embraced, the process defining how they come about is deeply important to their longevity. To their becoming real community spaces.

Here at Nature Sacred, we’ve spent the last 25 years honing a process, a model and team of experts adept at helping bring communities together to determine the vision for their space, and translate this vision into a landscape design. These initial collective visioning exercises are managed via a formal charrette process to ensure community stakeholders are engaged. It’s this process, too, that can work to help foster cohesion long before new Sacred Place is built.

Through the Community Healing Initiative, Nature Sacred serves as a consultant to the community while sharing our process, model and team of experts to create Sacred Places where they are needed most.

Explore the Research

Outcomes


Yoga in the Garden at the Intersection of Change in Baltimore, MD—a nonprofit that deals with poverty-related issues in the communities of Sandtown-Winchester and surrounding communities.

By partnering together, we work to:

  • Improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals
  • Build unity — foster community social cohesion 
  • Rekindle a sense of pride in place — community agency
  • Reduce crime and engender peace. 

How it works


Based on program needs, we assemble a team of Nature Sacred experts with vast experience in community healing through nature. This is your Nature Sacred Design Team — a hand-picked mix of Nature Sacred Design Advisors, DEI Advisors, staff and relevant Firesouls from our Nature Sacred Network guide the 5-stage methodology. Together, we work to:

  • Identify goals, vision and objectives — and drive on them through design 
  • Draw in community input through a collaborative, facilitated charrette series 
  • Guide the process: managing the methodology, scope and all stakeholders
  • Ensure that the design remains community-led, community-centric — and reflective of the Nature Sacred design principles
  • Invite all community members into nature — ensure they feel welcomed and accepted 
  • Engage the community through communications and relevant promotions 

A Network for Good


By virtue of creating a Sacred Place, as Firesoul, you’re automatically folded into our Nature Sacred Firesoul Network — a nationwide alliance like-minded peers and community leaders. Here, you can:

  • Tap into the collective knowledge of like-minded Firesouls committed to helping their urban neighborhoods thrive 
  • Share ideas, ask questions and collaborate on ways to best serve your community
  • Get inspired by programming ideas and solutions piloted in urban communities similar to yours
  • Leverage road-tested tools, models and resources already proven to work to bring neighbors and communities together.

Gallery of Community Healing Spaces


The Sacred Place at Kirby Lane Park, Baltimore MD
Mural at Kirby Lane Park, Baltimore MD

Want to learn more?

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Experience how a community garden
helped a city rebuild itself after a devastating tornado.

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Just how does nature help us heal?

Explore the Healing Power of Nature Report

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