I thought I would share this video about the camp I was talking about in my blog post on Moodle. Camp Olson (YMCA) was truly and amazing experience and I think it offers kids so many opportunities from the overnight trip to horseback riding through the woods. It was great way to enjoy nature.
February 2013 Archives
After finishing Steven's case study, I decided to draw what could be incorporated into rooms with some potted plants and bird aviary for the therapeutic landscape theme. I had some difficulty in putting the images right into the blog so I had to put them into a pdf file instead.
A great article on how we can look at the value of nature from a ROSI and ROI point of view
I have been thinking a lot lately about the disappearance of silence. My friend recommended that I check of the work of Gordon Hempton, a sound artist. He records sounds from nature. There is a great interview with him from The Sun magazine. http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/417/quiet_please
Also, I have included a poem from Pablo Neruda and a photo!
I am sure everyone is familiar with the tragedy of 9/11. A healing garden was created around the World Trade Center Educational Tribute building. So many people suffered as a result of that terrible event so when I saw this article, I thought, 'what a beautiful and perfect application of the healing garden.' It would be a neat experience to visit that garden someday and talk to people about their experiences in the garden and if/how it helped them heal.
I happened to find this poem which I really enjoyed. I have a favorite tree that I see twice a day going to and returning from work. I have named it the Grandpa tree. It is a massive oak tree and its presence is very calming and reassuring.
I hope you enjoy the poem.
I really liked looking around this healing landscape network website. The particular article the link above takes you to references the Bloedel Reserve; a very well known healing landscape near Seattle, Washington. What I think is so cool about it is the fact that it wasn't built originally as a "therapeutic landscape" because no one even used those words yet when it was built. The architect knew it brought him feelings of well-being, and over the years it developed into a landscape that's used for therapies. It's a really beautiful place if you look at the pictures! :)
While contemplating therapeutic landscapes for children this week, this song popped into my head. My parents had this record and as a child I listened to it often. I found a lot of photographic montages to go with this music on youtube- but found them kind of distracting so I settled for the simplest, to let the music speak for itself.
Reading about therapeutic landscapes it's easy to imagine well-designed patios and natural spaces off of therapy rooms at suburban clinics or small groups of people in a group counseling session walking slowly across barely visible trails in a rural forest covered with a dense mat of fallen pine needles. But how do you integrate therapeutic landscapes into the world of large, sterile, urban hospitals? What does that look like? Is it even possible?
Henry Ford Hospital shows that it can be done and the results are breathtaking...
In the excerpts from last week, I loved reading about how gardens used to be included in monasteries and other healing places as a form of therapy for sick individuals that would go there. When I was in Guatemala last year, I found an old monastery that had been turned partly into a museum. One of my favorite places there was the large garden surrounded by archways. The garden had a big fountain in it, which I'm not sure was original to the design. However, with the beautiful flowers, greenery dripping from the archways, and the sound of water, it was a truly relaxing place. I don't know if it would have had therapeutic use, so it may have actually been a healing garden. Whatever the definition of the place, it was absolutely beautiful. I'm sure that when the area was actively a monastery, everyone loved being in the garden as much as I did when I was there.
It seems like many others in this class have been a fair number of places. I wonder, has anyone else been to a therapeutic landscape or healing garden, new or old?
*Monastery garden ruins in Antigua, Guatemala
This is a link to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, which is, in itself, an interesting idea. The part of the website that I focused on was the Post-Occupation Evaluation (POE) done at places that were built using Evidence-Based Design (EBD) in order to ascertain whether or not the place had an impact on the outcomes in mind (e.g. reduce stress in people undergoing treatment for cancer).
This is a little dry for the blog, but I thought it was worth exploring. One interesting story highlighted was the story of Teardrop Park in New York. The park was declared a failure by the Parks and Rec board, however, a POE was done on the space. It turned out that Teardrop Park was embraced by New Yorkers as a place that provided a function for them that positively impacted health outcomes. So, while a "failure" under one evaluation model, under another, that took into account different functions and uses (such as passively viewing the park), the park was a success.
Thinking forward to research questions and ideas, this website made me wonder what other projects have been written off that might have actually been contributing positively to people's health, while not meeting another evaluation end. I am in a Program Evaluation class right now, and I am wondering if questions related to health outcomes impacted by nature could be incorporated into our evaluations of mental health programs. I'm also wondering if I went around my town, if I could find parks and evaluate their success using the POE model that this webpage discusses, and make a solid, evidence-based argument for continuing to support and enhance our park system.
In learning about therapeutic landscapes as well as healing gardens, the story of Van Gogh initially came to mind. He checked himself into the St. Paul asylum in 1889, and remained a patient there until 1890. Most of his paintings at this time were either drawn from his window looking out, or on the property of the hospital of the surrounding landscapes. What interests me about this time in his life is the paintings he created were dominantly of the nature surrounding the hospital, and had a happier tone than those painted of the interior of the hospital itself. These scenes provided him with a sense of calm, as he had a deep connection with nature. This tells a similar story as some of the studies we have read about, and just how important it is for there to be landscapes, gardens, and integration of nature in spaces for healing.
This University's Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series posted a whole web page online about healing gardens. I think this website relates to this week's readings because it sums up the main points that can be found in Susan Erikson's "Restorative Garden Design" paper.
The goal of a healing garden is to make people feel better. This is why each healing garden needs to tailor to a specific audience because different people feel better in different environments.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a Green Play Yard, which is a "garden" geared towards children of multiple ages. The garden is split between three sections for three age groups and each section entices children to play with nature in a hands on manner. The image I posted is one I took in the pre-school age section. Kintzley's Ghost Honeysuckle is used to create a natural tunnel for the children to run thru. It provides a social place for children to play in while also surrounding them in nature.
Hey guys...I came across this video, so I thought I'd share it with you!
Here is a link to video about children and nature made by 13 year old young women Miranda Anderson - link for article below
This is my first blog entry ever. Apparently you can teach old dogs new tricks.
I wanted to share with the group 2 news stories pertaining to interacting with nature.
1.healing by interacting with nature
This photo of Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is courtesy of TripAdvisor">picture
Interesting recent article in New York Times by Roger Ulrich - the research scientist who did the seminol work "A room with a view" in therapeutic landscape
Designing for Calm
I was immediately reminded of this video/article I stumbled upon recently when I looked at Emi's post. This artist, Michael Grab, creates art through nature by balancing rocks into ridiculous formations that seem impossible. His website/business is called Gravity Glue, so he views gravity as glue to hold the rocks together. If you read the article it's interesting to hear him describe how he feels inherently connected to the rocks he's working with. It's as if he can just feel them and the flat tiny spaces that allow him to balance rocks on top of others. The video is a little slow-going, but I think it's really interesting if you have a few minutes to watch. I had never heard of this kind of art before I discovered this article. Enjoy! :) http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/04/168612594/a-very-very-very-delicate-balance
For last week's personal nature activity, we were asked to think about an environment in nature that we feel best. I love the ocean, and I am unable to hear or experience it much living in this part of the nation. I thought of that while I was in Hawaii recently so took a video of the sun setting on the beach.
Nature is not just about what you see, it is also what you can hear, feel, smell, and just experience. I knew that looking at the video would not be the same, but it could help me remember. The sun felt so warm on my face and arms and the sand and lava rocks poked and pinched under my feet in my sandals. The way the air smelled briny as tiny splashes of foam sprayed me.
There is a lot of natural beauty around me here that I absolutely appreciate. However, sometimes it's nice to visit a tropical place, especially in the middle of winter with an impending blizzard, even if that visit is only in my memories. Do you have somewhere that you escape to in your mind?
One of my favorite books is "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. I enjoyed the simple story and pictures as a child, but only as an adult have I truly appreciated the deeper meaning of the book.
The tree that continues to give to the boy, first her apples and leaves, then her branches, and finally her trunk, is reflective of nature overall. Nature gives and gives and gives and asks for nothing in return. Even when the tree seemingly has nothing left to give, she offers her stump as a resting place for the boy who has taken everything.
We can all learn something from the tree and from nature in general. If everyone tried to give to others the world would be a better place. And for those who do give it's important to realize we can always give a little more. We should be aware of what we take. It's easy to take nature for granted but the growing body of evidence around climate change and nature deficit disorder shows that we forsake the natural world only at our own peril.
This is a response to the video Tim posted of the beagles. I've tried to leave comment there a few times and its not uploading...I'm not sure why.
What struck me most about the video was the look of fear and something like sorrow on the dog's face- emotions that people share that were so readable and vivid on the dog.
One of my favorite dog poems is about human/animal communication and features the happiness dogs experience in nature:
SPRING by Mary Oliver
I lift my face to the pale flowers
of the clean rain. They're soft as linen,
clean as holy water. Meanwhile
my dog runs off, noses down packed leaves
into damp, mysterious tunnels.
He says the smells are rising now
stiff and lively; he says the beasts
are waking up now full of oil
sleep sweat, tag-ends of dreams. The rain
rubs its shining hands all over me.
My dog returns and barks fiercely, he says
each secret body is the richest advisor,
deep in the earth such fuming
nuggets of joy!
Andy Goldsworthy is one of my favorite environmental artists.
He explores nature and natural shapes and processes through
his artistic expression. Art is a fundamental outlet for connecting
to the environment. After reading through many of the readings,
I was reminded of the importance of integrating art into our healing
practices. This video is a compilation of his art set to music (not made by me).
I highly recomend the documentary, Rivers & Tides, about the artist.
The Peace of Wild Things
By Berry Wendell
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I thought that this poem told in such a beautiful way of the peaceful and uplifting effect that nature can have on us when we are weighed down with worries and stress. For me, being out in nature is often a form of meditation. It is a special place to just be, to feel, hear, and experience life around me at that time and I also experience a certain freedom in that. Many of the research articles that we have been presented with have also indicated that nature is an effective way to decrease stress. In over one hundred studies, according to Ulrich (1993), decreased stress was listed as one of the significant benefits of being out in nature (Kahn, 1997).
Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things." "Poetry Foundation." n.d. Web. 6 February 2013. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171140
I've had this classic Wendell Berry poem on my fridge at times. I feel like the ending, "what we need is here" epitomizes nature based healing-- the patience that's granted in the act of slowing down to observe. And the middle section about finding the tree within the persimmon seed is a great adjunct to last week's journal assignment.
The Wild Geese
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.
I was interested in the reference made in our readings to art in a mental health setting, and went looking for more information. This is a blog and open conversation between a doctor and a researcher about findings related to that original concept - that realistic nature scenes have an observable impact on patient anxiety.
I know that there are some of us who aren't thrilled with the idea of "science-ifying" nature, and science-ifying art probably doesn't sound great either. But here is the cool thing: this researcher found a way to express her findings and tie it to a bottom line dollar amount in terms of money that can be saved by introducing realistic nature art into mental health settings. And while I philosophically question the need to attach dollar values, pragmatically, I'm thrilled. It is so much easier to have health-related conversations when there is an observable outcome or change in outcome, a somewhat immediate outcome or change in outcome, and best of all, when you can say that you are saving an organization money by doing something that they will want to do anyway - namely, decorate.
This conversation basically argues that there is nothing wrong with seeking evidence to support claims about art, and nothing wrong with trying to identify the characteristics of art that seem to be associated with making it "work." Again, with my general reservations about quantifying art, I think that the ability to do so gives people access to art (and nature) in a way that they might not have had previously!
My research question going forward would be about the details concerning the findings. Are there particular materials that people are drawn to? Does something that uses natural materials have a stronger draw than a realistic picture of nature, for example? How does a photograph compare to a water-painted natural scene? I would be interested in understanding if there is something about a piece of art that had been very clearly touched and created by an individual hand, which I would think of as appealing, applying theories about our desire to gravitate to other humans. For example, I would be interested to know if a highly realistic vision of nature, as presented in a beautiful photograph, is capable of the same intensity of effect as a painting.
I just thought I would share a few thoughts on libraries and nature. One of my dreams at Magrath Library is to offer a tool library. Just down the street is the St. Paul Graduate and Family Cooperative Housing, and many of the residents have small garden plots. It would be wonderful if we had a few boxes of shovels, trowels, and other tools for them to check out and use in their gardens. This is an idea I have right now to help bridge nature and libraries.
We have a wonderful Andersen Horticultural Library at the UMN Arboretum. I do hope you will visit the collection, which has amazing botanical prints, one of the largest collections of seed catalogs in the United States, and many more treasures, including the amazing array of Nakashima furniture.
Having learned about our interactions with nature thus far, I wanted to incorporate not only life on land but also life in water because life and nature just does not stop here where it is dry. Life on, in, and around the coral reefs--the largest located in Australia--shows an intricate and diversifying pattern of biological life. One thought that jumped out at me was the fact that some of the things that can destroy one way of life can have a rippling effect on others if there is not a balance put in place for human interactions with nature. Here in this video, I remembered listening to a documentary about coral reefs being a natural barrier for protecting the shores of land masses; the documentary that I had seen is a little obscure right now, so I hope you all enjoy the video. Because the world is also made out of approximately 3/4 of water, I thought this video showed a spectacular array of life beyond the land we live on.
I thought that this video would be a good one to share. You might look at it and wonder why I shared one about dogs. However, just like humans, animals need nature for their well-being too. This video definitely shows the importance of nature, and what can happen if one is deprived from it.
I found this Ted Talk (For those who are not familiar, go to www.ted.com, there is something for everyone!) about beekeeping in urban environments that is cohesive with the idea of bringing nature into our homes. When we think of the longevity of our flowers, pants, fruits and vegetables, bees are not usually the first thing that comes to mind, but they are a crucial part of how the food web works.
I just watched this wonderful animated interview with Maurice Sendak and Terry Gross - thought it appropriate for first blogging example as it relates to the heart-felt attachment we have to nature and life
I feel like all our readings so far have discussed how we are connected with nature and how nature makes us feel better. Over the summer I heard this lovely song by Locklin Road and I think it perfectly sums up what we have learned so far.
"The earth sings out to me
every bird and every flower
growing closer every hour
here is all I ever need"
I think these four lines are the most important out of the whole song. More importantly they fit in right with the biophilia hypothesis. These lyrics remind me of "Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?" In this article Grinde & Grindal Patil (2009) found that the biophilia hypothesis has merit and that the availability of nature correlates positively with health.
This song and topic has meaning to me because I have spent my whole life growing up in the outdoors and I would not trade it for anything. It pains me to see my three year old second cousin sitting in her parent's house playing with her iPad. She and many other children do not get the opportunity to go outside to play and appreciate nature because they have been sucked in by technology. Although the biophilia hypothesis may impact her and she may like flowers she does not get the opportunity to advance on it because she has spent her whole life inside.
I think it is really important to interact with nature. I feel like we are not truly experiencing life until we can go outside and be happy.
Michael Moore goes to Norway