End Summer, Enter Fall


Though technically fall won’t be around for a month or so, the fall semester is quickly approaching, which means my research for this summer is coming to an end.  Or is it??

I’m actually going to be continuing research with Dr. Ibes and the Parks Research Lab next semester because the project we’re undertaking is so massive.  The literature review I’ve been working on has proved much more extensive than I think either of us had imagined, and I’m excited that I get to see the project through to completion.  My goal for the research next semester (and probably the spring semester, as well) is to start an executive summary on the different characteristics of nature and what areas of mental and physical health they affect.  For example, when looking at which studies focus on or discuss socialization, no other environment is discussed more than college campuses.  Increased socialization decreases depression and boosts self-esteem, so colleges should seek to accommodate outdoor socialization as much as possible.  As far as my research has gone, no studies or analyses have attempted a summary like this, so this will definitely be a useful tool for the PRL to utilize when designing new research projects, and hopefully William & Mary can refer to this analysis when looking for new innovative ways to redesign parts of campus.

If you’re interested in the research we’re doing at the PRL, you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram (or, of course, you can email me or shoot me a Facebook message and I’d gladly answer any questions you might have).  Have a great final week of summer, have fun moving in, and enjoy your fall semester!


  1. conorsmith17 says:

    I love your research topic! I think that outdoor space is something a lot of people take for granted and research like this proves the importance of the outdoors in human well-being. This especially shows the importance of parks in cities. From my experience, it seems like a lot of people who grow up in rural or suburban areas sometimes get overwhelmed when they move to cities and I would bet that increased access to good parks can help combat this stress.

  2. nenewberry says:

    I find it very neat as well as interesting that you chose a picture of a hummingbird to headline this post. My research concerns how birds are valued in suburban housing markets and it seems to me that you are at least implying that birds have some value to parks and people. How much value would be very exciting to figure out and some studies have actually attempted to do so already, but require more repetition to be more broadly applicable. It would be interesting to know more about how people value parks like this in cities and to see if that value changes much among people of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Might the value of parks be improved by specifically landscaping for native wildlife (birds, butterflies, etc.) typically seen as desirable and what aspect of people’s park usage for mental health could those animals improve?