Park Rx Program


Park Rx black-logo

The Parks Research Lab here at W&M is working on expanding our local chapter of the National Park Rx Initiative.  The goal of the Park Rx program is to encourage health care providers to write park prescriptions for their patients; there is abundant evidence that being outside has positive impacts on both mental and physical health.  Mental health problems like depression have been on the rise, and a likely contributor to this has been our increased time spent indoors.  Along with medication, being outside can greatly help lessen the symptoms of mental diseases such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD/ADD and physical diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

A big part of my research this summer has been recruiting local health care providers to join the Greater Williamsburg Park Rx Program, and so far our efforts have been pretty successful.  As of now, we’ve recruited 12 health care providers and we’ve scheduled a training session for mid-August.  We’ve been in close contact with the head of the National Park Rx Initiative, Dr. Zarr, and we’re excited to see our program expand even more.

You can like the Parks Research Lab Facebook page here to learn more about our lab and the benefits of being outside.



  1. That’s a really neat program! I hope that it finds a foothold here in Williamsburg, Our campus has had some issues with mental health in recent years, so I hope that this methodology finds its way onto our nature-full campus!

    I’m also a huge fan of our local Waller Mill park. I’ve gone there myself several times over the years to relax and meditate.

    From the biology point of view, I’m curious if any studies have been done to examine what effect nature has on the brain? Is it just serotonin/dopamine release, or what?