2023 Planning Conference

Conference Description

Knowledge of the benefits of engagement with nature on health is emerging rapidly, and from many sectors of society. However, understanding and application of the positive effects of nature on physical, mental, social, and spiritual health have not yet fully permeated traditional healthcare systems, nor the awareness of the general public, especially – and most concerningly -- for historically underserved groups who have lacked access to the benefits that nature engagement provides. In 2022, an interdisciplinary research/practice group from across the country created the “Nature and Human Health-Alliance” (NHH-All) to launch a ‘national movement’ on this topic.

The goal of our first Planning Conference is to guide activities to promote understanding and communication of the health benefits of nature for all people. Our objectives are to:

  1. Identify existing resources and gaps that NHH-All might fill;
  2. Gain insights about the dynamics and approaches of other social and environmental movements to develop efficient strategies for this movement;
  3. Identify priorities, leadership structures, and actions for the long- and short-term; and
  4. Gather input from related academic disciplines and other ways of understanding and communicating aspects of NHH.

This will lead to developing our mission and vision statements, and establishing our long- and short-term scopes of work, which will be refined and articulated as strategic and action plans after the meeting.

2023 Planning conference group picture

Group photo

The Conference will be held in the UU NEXUS Center, and on the campus of the Jordan River Nature Center, on the west side of Salt Lake City. A Reception will provide an informal arena for conference participants to exchange ideas with people involved with NHH from the UU campus and community groups in Salt Lake City. Below are details on activities. Venues, and facilitators.

The Nature and Health-Alliance is supported by the REI Cooperative Action Fund, the University of Utah’s College of Health, and Tracy Aviary.

Image Gallery

Conference Participants

  • Stacy Beller-Stryer Parks Rx America
  • Marc Berejka REI Cooperative Action Fund
  • Tim Brown Tracy Aviary
  • Amaya Carrasco University of Vermont
  • Danielle Endres University of Utah
  • Howie Frumkin Trust for Public Land, University of Washington
  • Carlos Andres Gallegos-RioFrio University of Vermont
  • Myra Gerst University of Utah
  • Janelle Hillhouse REI Cooperative Action Fund
  • Peter Kahn University of Washington
  • Bita Kash Houston Methodist University
  • Josh Lawler University of Washington
  • Sara LoTemplio Colorado State University
  • Jay Maddock Texas A&M University
  • Laura Mylan Children and Nature Network
  • Nalini Nadkarni University of Utah
  • Nooshin Razani University of California San Fransisco
  • Jennifer Roberts University of Maryland
  • Dart Schmalz University of Utah
  • Natalie Slater University of Utah
  • Fiona Summers University of Utah
  • Heather Tanana University of Utah
  • Linda Tomasso Harvard University
  • Eric VanEpps University of Utah
  • Edward Walker University of California Los Angeles
  • Kathy Wolf University of Washington

Outside Experts

We have invited 4 “other experts” to share their knowledge on topics that have the potential to add value to Nature and Human Health. These experts will be presenting for 45 minutes during the Conference, and they have provided materials to provide context. We’ve posted articles from each of these experts, and invite you to read these before the Planning Conference as background.

We recognize there are many other fields that could add value to the conference, but could not fit live presentations into the conference agenda. We provide videos for you to view prior to the Conference from representatives of other fields (spirituality/religion; art/aesthetics) to explain connections to NHH.

Danielle Endres

Danielle Endres

Environmental Rhetoric

Professor of Communication and Director of the Environmental Humanities Program at University of Utah|

Edward Walker

Edward Walker

History of Social and Environmental Movements

Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Sociology|

Eric VanEpps

Eric VanEpps

Consumer Behavior

Associate Professor of Marketing at Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management|

Heather Tanana

Heather Tanana

Indigenous Perspectives

Visiting Professor at UCI Law/Associate Faculty at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health|