Get 'Healthy Outside,' Win Prizes!
Campaign Promotes the Importance of Nature to Mental Health and Well-being
Win prizes! Join the Healthy Outside Campaign Challenge!
This spring quarter, Healthy UC Davis officially launches “Healthy Outside” – a campuswide initiative to improve our community’s physical, mental and emotional health and well-being by spending more time in nature. Representatives are partnering with a variety of stakeholders from across the UC Davis community to highlight the vast resources, programs and initiatives related to staying healthy and well outdoors.
“Most of our campus community missed the last two spring quarters at UC Davis,” says Stacey Parker, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden director of public horticulture and Healthy Outside lead. “It’s really quite a spectacular time of year, so we want to celebrate all that our campus and community recreational spaces have to offer.”
Throughout the pandemic, our outdoor spaces became a safe haven. Now, with many returning to campus and resuming — for the most part — where they left off, the campaign seeks to create awareness that improving one's physical, mental and emotional well-being can be as simple as including nature in their everyday routines. Scientific research supports the claim — the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden offers an introduction to the topic on their Nature Rx webpage.
“Over the last few months we’ve gathering multiple resources and consolidated events that UC Davis has to offer outside," says Stacey Brezing, director, Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being and Healthy UC Davis lead. "Please let us know if we have missed any and we would be happy to add them to our growing list!”
The Healthy Outside campaign extends to all campus locations including UC Davis Health.
"In the current climate, we all need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically, and outdoor activity is proven to improve mental health and reduce stress," said Janel Scott, program manager UC Living Fit Forever. "We're excited to work with Healthy UC Davis and their Healthy Outside campaign to encourage the UC Davis Health community to spend more time outdoors."
A quick visit to the campaign web page reveals dozens of possibilities, many that may be new to even the most seasoned UC Davis community member. The buckets of options include “Move Outside,” “Restore Outside,” and “Grow Outside.” Activities range from popular Healthy UC Davis walking loops to sustainable at-home gardening resources curated by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. In addition, a campus resource map suggests points of interest where folks can hold informal outdoor meetings, watch animals or reflect and replenish to name a few.
“Keep in mind that ‘Healthy Outside’ isn’t about rigorous outdoor exercise, although it could be,” says Connie Tan, program coordinator of Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being and Healthy UC Davis. “It may just be stepping outside to get a breath of fresh air.”
Participate in the Launch of the Healthy Outside Initiative
To help launch the initiative and build awareness, Healthy UC Davis partners are encouraging the UC Davis community to join the Healthy Outside Campaign Challenge from March 28 through June 3 via social media or by submitting testimonials. Anyone can participate in the campaign by using #UCDHealthyOutside and/or tagging @HealthyUCDavis in Instagram posts that feature outdoor spaces or activities on or beyond campus. Including background information such as a personal history with the location or program is also helpful.
Don’t have a public social media account or prefer to keep it private? Submit a testimonial via the online form on the campaign website. A variety of prizes will be awarded each week for those that participate.
“What we don’t want to do is pretend that everything is normal again. It’s not,” says Parker. “But we hope that by everyone sharing how they improve their health and well-being outside, we can create a community that honors the importance of nature, place and gratitude for where we are in this moment.”
Note: If, after perusing the campaign website, you see something missing, or would like to include a prize from your organization, email the Healthy Outside planning committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.