Final Summary: Campus Greenspaces and Future Research

In the last few weeks of the summer, Darrien and I zeroed in on greenspaces near the William & Mary campus. Specifically, I worked on a map of campus greenspaces, which will soon be promoted to students. The purpose of the website is to increase student knowledge of greenspaces around campus that they can visit for different activities. There are categories for Relax, Run/Hike, Sport, Socialize, Study, Eat, Bike, and Explore. Many of the greenspaces, such as the Sunken Garden, fall under several of these categories. Students can search by greenspace name, category, tag (such as hammock, benches, or quiet), or general location.

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ParkRx: Prescribing Outdoor Parks for Mental Health

Professor Dorothy Ibes, our research advisor, has been working to create a database of parks in the Greater Williamsburg Area that can be prescribed to patients by medical professionals and psychologists. There is substantial ecotherapy evidence supporting the hypothesis that spending time outdoors can be healing and that the outdoors are an untapped medical resource. The hope is that getting the medical community involved in encouraging people to spend time outside can increase awareness of the benefits of outdoor time on mental and physical health and start a movement within the broader medical community to include nature in treatment plans for patients.

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Researching Ecotherapy: Some Interesting Discoveries!

Darrien (my research partner) and I spent much of our time this summer compiling scientific research on different fields within ecotherapy. These include: animal-assisted therapy, benefits for children, economic benefits, exposure to greenspaces (including living near greenspaces), forest bathing, gardening, green exercise, indoor plants, indoor light therapy, viewing images of nature, window views of nature, nature views, nature walks, negative ion exposure, plant scents, sounds of nature, and wilderness therapy. I had not heard of several of these research topics before this summer, so it was interesting to learn how widespread the research in ecotherapy is, especially because it gets very little attention or acknowledgment.

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Abstract: Ecotherapy and Park Prescriptions healing through nature

Hello, my name is Alexis Jenkins and I am a sophomore at William & Mary. I am an anthropology and environmental science double major and this summer I will be assisting Professor Dorothy Ibes with her research in the Parks Research Lab.

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