#HealthyTreesHealthyLives

American Grove's message for January is #HealthyTreesHealthyLives. In search of knowledge, we dove head first into the  research of Dr. Kathleen Wolf from the University of Washington. She writes, “The evidence grows! Plants do much more than beautify our built environments. They contribute to our health, well-being, and quality of life! While we may have intuitively known this for some time, recent scientific evidence has confirmed these ideas and expanded our understanding of nature’s benefits. People and plants are entwined by threads that reach back to our earliest experiences, as individuals and as a species.” With the help of Dr.Wolf, we are exploring the many aspects of human health that benefit from greenspaces.

“Encounters with nearby nature help alleviate mental fatigue by relaxing and restoring the mind," she writes. "Within built environments, parks and green spaces are settings for cognitive respite, as they encourage social interaction and de-stressing through exercise or conversation, and provide calming settings. Having quality landscaping and vegetation in and around the places where people work and study is a good investment. Both visual access and being within green space helps to restore the mind’s ability to focus. This can improve job and school performance, and help alleviate mental stress and illness.”

After reading Linda McGurk’s article “Why Children Need True Learning,” we were curious about how Forest Kindergartens could positively affect the growth of future generations. Dr.Wolf helps us quantify the important mental and physical benefits nature plays in developing children: "Educational theory suggests that contact with nature facilitates children’s development of cognitive, emotional, and spiritual connections to social and biophysical environments around them. Ecological theory also suggests that contact with nature is important for children’s mental, emotional, and social health because imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development, and social relationships are encouraged in outdoor activity, all of which improve the child’s mental health and function. Among older children, exposure to nature encourages exploration and building activities, which can improve problem-solving abilities, ability to respond to changing contexts, as well as participation in group decision-making. Younger children often use outdoor settings having plants, stones, and sticks as props for the imaginative play, which is key to social and cognitive development. One study of children’s play found that a cluster of shrubs was the most popular place to play on an elementary schoolyard because it could be transformed into many imaginary places: a house, spaceship, etc."

However, nature is advantageous for all ages. Patients struggling with long-term chronic illnesses can be prescribed nature's medicine. According to Dr. Wolf, "Studies have found that nature experiences can be of particular benefit to dementia patients. Exposure to gardens can improve quality of life and function of dementia patients by reducing negative behaviors up to 19%. Those patients who have access to gardens that are designed to positively stimulate the senses and promote positive memories and emotions are less likely to express negative reactions and fits of anger. After gardening activities, dementia and stroke patients exhibited improved mobility and dexterity, increased confidence, and improved social skills."

So after reading the immense research from  Dr.Wolf, the facts are irrefutable. She says, "The brain, complex and vulnerable, is the only organ that undergoes substantial maturation after birth. This process is shaped in part by a response to stimuli in our surroundings (including both negative and positive conditions), and continues throughout our lives. Substantial research shows that natural scenes evoke positive emotions, facilitate cognitive functioning, and promote recovery from mental fatigue for people who are in good mental health and can also provide respite for those who experience short-term and chronic mental illness." So bundle up, and enjoy all nature has to offer!

To learn more about urban health visit Dr.Wolf's websites Green Cities : Good Health and Nature Within.

Vibrant Cities Lab

While at the Partners in Urban Forestry Conference this year, we learned first hand about this amazing initiative to display and share the benefits of urban forestry in simple and effective ways. Check out their user-friendly site for case-studies and other valuable resources.

Upcoming Webinars & Podcasts

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  • Thursday, Sept 28 at noon (Eastern) Charlie Schweik, PhD, University of Massachusetts, will discuss UAS's ("Drones") and their impacts on Urban Forestry. If you are interested in the influence and implementation of technology in the arboriculture field this is not a webcast you want to miss!

    Join here with the 9 digit code 970-082-427

  • Join the Forest Health team on Oct 4, 1:00 pm US/Eastern as they spend an hour on this weeks topic plaguing the health of our nation's forest. This webinar will discuss the biology, ecology, and management of the native fall cankerworm. Management strategies in the urban and rural environment will be covered.

    Join via this link- no registration necessary! 

    Fall cankerworm biology, ecology, and management in urban and rural landscapes — Webinar Portal
    This webinar will discuss the biology, ecology, and management of the native fall cankerworm. Management strategies in the urban and rural environme…
  • Join me for lunch this Thursday @ 12 (central-standard time) by tuning into this month's webinar. The topic of discussion will be The Status of Our Urban and Community Forests: Municipal Forestry Baseline, Trends, and Dashboard. Dr. Richard Hauer, from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, will communicate recent findings that illustrate changes in urban forestry over the past 40 years. I am looking forward to learning about an upcoming project involving an interactive evaluation of municipal forestry programs. 

    Register here!

    Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: The Status of Our Urban and Community Forests: Municipa…
    Log in to learn about the latest status of municipal forestry in the United States and trends over time. During the past forty years, much has been l…
  • The Sustainable Urban Forest: A Step-by-Step Approach

    Michael Leff will lead Penn State's Community Forestry Management Monthly Webinar Series to discuss a handbook to a successful urban forest. This webinar will serve as an orientation to this guide designed to help urban forest managers assess the state of their urban forest, identify issues and opportunities, and chart a path toward long-term sustainability.

    TOMORROW: August 15, 2017, 12 PM – 1 PM (Eastern Time)

    Join the free webinar here

    (Enter the webinar as a guest by typing your name in the name box and click the “Enter Room” button.)

    Adobe Connect Login
  • Join Chris Peiffer, Director of Urban Forestry Consulting Services, Plan-It Geo, LLC on Tuesday July 25th to learn about relavent assessment tools, plans, and technology available to improve tree inventory of your local forest. This one hour webinar will begin at noon (eastern time) and is free to all tree enthusiast. Register here.

    Meeting Registration: Tree Assessments, Plans, and Technology: A Smart Investment for PA Communitie…
    Meeting Registration: Tree Assessments, Plans, and Technology: A Smart Investment for PA Communities - Completely Free Web Conferencing and Meeting S…
  • Thursday July 20 at noon (Eastern) Janusz Zwiazek, PhD, Professor and Tree Physiologist, University of Alberta, will discuss “Tree Growth & Response in a Changing Climate” on our next 'Urban Forestry Today' webcast. Viewing is free and always entertaining! Access US Forestry Today for more info

    Urban Forestry
    The benefits associated with our urban trees are vast and include carbon sequestration, property value enhancement and numerous aesthetic values. It…
  • Citizen Science and Open Data  in Urban ForestryOpportunities and Challenges
    Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | 1:00 - 2:15pm ET
    National Urban Forest & Science Delivery Team discuss theories and policy of urban forestry while providing  promoting the strength of urban communities. 
  • i-Tree Webinar with Dr. David Nowak, USDA Forest Service, on "i-Tree: the State of the Science"

    Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)

    This month, please join Dr. Nowak, as he discusses the science that is powering i-Tree, and looks at the planned future features of scientific research that i-Tree will offer to users.

    Plan to join this one-hour, interactive session, and learn about the importance and value of science, as we move forward on bringing urban forest inventory and analysis tools to the marketplace.

    For more information on i-Tree 2017, please visit www.itreetools.org/.

    PRE-REGISTRATION is required for this session in order to provide the most streamlined user experience.  VISIT https://goo.gl/WsyOj4 TO REGISTER for this FREE webcast.

    For more information, go to the Urban Natural Resources Institute website.

  • Sustainable City Network upcoming webinar, The End of Tree Plague, will take place July 7th & 8th 10 am PDT . This 4-hour 2-day course discusses prevention and removal techniques on the invasive tree pests. Tickets for this online training course can be purchased here.

    The End of Tree Plagues - Webinar Series
    Course Description Instructor Peter MacDonagh, FASLA, PLA, ISA, LEED, RHS How do we blunt Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) losses, stop the next tree plag…
  • GreenBlue Urban podcasts explore the effect of stormwater on urban environments with the help of renown guest speakers. This most recent episode can be accessed here.

    Trees, Stormwater and the Built Environment.
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