ANNAPOLIS, Md., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Can nature heal us? The TKF Foundation has announced $4.5 million in grants to six projects across the country in an effort to answer this question by measuring the healing effects of nature on people. TKF's National Nature Sacred Awards Program is one of the first national projects of this scope and size.
In 2008, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population lived in urban environments. By 2030, nearly two-thirds of the world population will do the same. And while each day finds more and more public green spaces, there is still a gap in our understanding of the impact of these spaces — places of restoration and renewal — on individual and community wellbeing and resilience.
Each of the projects will research these impacts. These new awards will help the TKF Foundation to create both a bed of empirical knowledge about the transformational power of nature in urban settings and an emboldened community of people to carry this message to policymakers.
"In a time when we are more and more surrounded by the built world, beset by ever increasing stress and overwhelmed by technology, the need for open and sacred places in nature is more important than ever," said TKF Foundation Founder Tom Stoner.
The six projects:
Landscapes of Resilience — In Joplin, Mo. and Queens, N.Y., researchers are exploring how nature can help influence and strengthen personal and community restoration and resilience in times of crisis — including in the aftermath of severe weather events.
Naval Cemetery Landscape — The project in Brooklyn, N.Y. will construct a sustainable landscape, complete with high levels of biodiverse activity, that will allow visitors to escape from the built environment and achieve psychological restoration.
The Green Road Project—The Institute for Integrative Health will build an outdoor space designed to promote healing among wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. It will include a stream-side path as well as places for contemplation and commemoration.
A Greenspace a Day — This project in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Md. region will study existing Open Spaces Sacred Places funded by the TKF Foundation to examine their impacts on immune system, health, and productivity, across different greenspaces and different populations.
A Nature Place: Quantifying Benefits of a Healing Garden among Hospital Populations — In Portland, Ore., Legacy Health System's four-season garden at its Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Care Unit will combine traditional medical expertise with the healing effects of nature to help patients, their families and even health care professionals under stress.
Mechanisms and Design Elements of Restorative Nature — Researchers in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Md. region will work to determine exactly what it is about nature that has such tremendous effects on our brains and our health, and then create guidelines for the future design of natural spaces.
In conjunction with the grantee announcement, the TKF Foundation has also launched NatureSacred.org, a site focused on studying and promoting the healing power of nature.
For more information about the awards, visit NatureSacred.org.
About the TKF Foundation
TKF is a private nonprofit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. We believe that everyone needs to "be in nature" as nature both heals and unifies us. The Foundation partners with organizations to create Open Spaces Sacred Places which increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections. These sacred places reawaken and reaffirm the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human well being.
SOURCE TKF Foundation