Analyzing Greenspace on Campus with the Parks Research Lab

Hi everyone!

My name is Abigail Bradford, and I’m a junior double-majoring in Environmental Science and Classical Archaeology.   This summer I am very excited to have the opportunity of working with Dr. Ibes and other student researchers in the Parks Research Lab.  Last semester, I took an Environmental Science seminar called Campus Parks Research with Dr. Ibes.  In this seminar, we tested the effects of varying levels of “indoor green” on a person’s mood.  This included placing students in one of four inside spaces with varying levels of green, the greenest being the Millington greenhouse and the least-green being a windowless room in Millington.  Our results were very compelling: the rooms with “indoor green” improved participants’ moods significantly more than the control room.

The success of this research compelled me to seek out further research with Dr. Ibes.  This summer, we plan on achieving three main objectives in the Parks Research Lab:

  1. Creating a campus greenspace map to be put up on the William & Mary Health and Wellness website
  2. Training healthcare providers and peer Park Ambassadors to use the Park Rx tool
  3. Coordinating and pilot-testing a research study on greenspace and mental health to be conducted in the fall with the William & Mary Psychology Department

The research conducted through the Parks Research Lab is very unique in that it has a direct application to students here on campus.  Since we go to a high-stress school, it’s important for us to take time for our mental well-being.  Spending time outdoors has consistently shown to have a positive effect on mental and physical health.  We as William & Mary students are very fortunate to be in an area with so many outdoor resources, so if stress from summer research ever seems too much, take a break and step outside!

I am really looking forward to the opportunity of working with the Parks Research Lab this summer.  If anyone has questions about good parks to spend time in, or if anyone wants to go kayaking sometime, let me know!