Post Date: 2/13/2017
The Health & Outdoors Initiative recently released new guideline on health considerations for outdoor education providers. This “Health and Outdoor Education Guideline” is designed to assist outdoor education providers in incorporating human health considerations into their programming. It is intended for use in any outdoor education program currently or potentially engaging K-12 populations facing health inequities and lack of access to outdoor recreation.
To see the “Health and Outdoor Education Guideline,” visit Oregon Public Health Institute here.
The guideline includes:
- Suggestions for adjustments and additions to outdoor education curricula, delivery, and engagement strategies to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities.
- Strategies for tracking the health outcomes of outdoor education programs and communicating those outcomes to families, communities, potential funders, policy makers, businesses, and others.
Research continues to show that getting people into the outdoors and bringing the outdoors closer to people increases access to opportunities for physical activity, reduces stress, fosters community and social relationships, and improves air quality. By intentionally integrating a health focus into curricula and program design, outdoor education providers can bring these benefits to participants while they are engaged in on-site activities, and also help them develop the habits, perspectives, and skills that will allow them to make the connection between health and the outdoors in their independent lives.
Post Date: 9/7/2016
Actions are underway to implement the Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors (Action Framework). There are four action areas:
- Empower communities with the resources and tools they need to:
- Reduce barriers to getting outdoors;
- Develop more parks, trails, and trees;
- Improve access to existing green spaces; and
- Scale the programs that get people outdoors.
- Develop the communications strategies and tools to provide information about the health benefits of being outdoors;
- Maintain a “policy playbook” of opportunities to weave health and the outdoors into all policy; and
- Create a research agenda to further the base of evidence on the health-outdoor link and provide the evaluation tools communities need to measure results.
Here are some of the accomplishments since the fall 2015 launch of the Action Framework:
- Oregon Public Health Institute was selected to coordinate the overall initiative, with the Oregon Community Health Worker Association leading engagement with community health workers across the state.
- Partners in Hood River launched the Latin Explorers program where community health workers are helping more people get outdoors more often in a culturally-relevant way. Next Door, Inc. is coordinating the effort with funding from Providence Hood River Hospital and REI. The program also includes new public transit routes from Hood River to Mt. Hood, and in-depth evaluation work done by the Providence Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.
- Latino Outdoors and Sierra Club led an outdoor trip leaders training for community health workers in Hood River.
- Partners in Baker City are expanding the Hike it Baby program with funding from the OSHU Knight Cancer Institute.
- Willamette Partnership is developing a database of how national health and outdoors programs are measuring progress.
- The Health and Outdoors Initiative is talking with partners in Washington to construct a shared research agenda.
Special thanks to the following organizations for their support of the Health and Outdoors Initiative:
- Kelley Family Foundation
- Bullitt Foundation
- US Forest Service
- Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions
- Pacific Birds