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Health and Outdoors Initiative Is Rolling

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Develop the communications strategies and tools to provide information about the health benefits of being outdoors;
  3.  Maintain a “policy playbook” of opportunities to weave health and the outdoors into all policy; and
  4. 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:

Special thanks to the following organizations for their support of the Health and Outdoors Initiative: