A Dose of Nature in a Time of COVID

Please joins us for the second in the "Nature and Wellness: A Strategy for strength during a Pandemic" series brought to you by the Bi-State Conservation Action Network of which University of Illinois Extension is a member. Support for this series is provided, in part, by a grant to the Rock Island County Extension & 4-H Education Foundation from the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund.

A Dose of Nature in a Time of COVID

The conditions of modern living (work and life pressures) threaten the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans. And this is especially true in the time of COVID. There is mounting evidence, however, that exposure to places that include access to green infrastructure and other forms of nature can reduce the symptoms of stress and promote recovery from mental fatigue. Some of the research has produced startling results: individuals who have more exposure to urban nature live longer, are less likely to produce low-birth-weight babies, and engage in less aggression and violence. William Sullivan, PhD, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the University of Illinois’ Smart, Health, Community Initiative will consider these recent findings and discuss the implications for, and importance of, having everyday contact with nature.

More about our presenter: William Sullivan, PhD, Professor and Wadsworth Head of Landscape Architecture at University of Illinois 

William Sullivan works to create smarter, healthier, more sustainable communities. He is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the University of Illinois’ Smart, Health, Community Initiative. 

Sullivan and his students examine the benefits that come from having regular exposure to landscapes containing nature. They examine this issue by measuring exposure to varying landscapes -- the level of green infrastructure in neighborhoods, or the amount of nature on campuses, or the density of vegetation in urban spaces. They measure the impact of these places on people’s hormones, heart rates, brain waves, psychological states, and ability to pay attention.

Sullivan is a Senior Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment, a Fellow in the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, Adjunct Professor at National Taiwan University in Taipei, and is a member of the University of Illinois’ Education Justice Project. He holds a PhD from the University of Michigan with a concentration in Environment and Behavior.

More about the series: 

2020 has been an unusual year for us all. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many of us in ways not previously challenged but it has also brought about opportunities and upsides. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that there has been a national increase in the use of outdoor spaces and people connecting with nature. As winter approaches the mid-West, we want to continue to encourage people to commune with nature as a form of self-care, source of wellness and comfort while facing life's challenges. 

Join us as we hear from experts on the benefits of nature to our health and well-being. This series will be sure to inspire you to bundle up and head outdoors this winter and you will see that it just might be what the doctor prescribes.

Event Date(s)
Rock Island
Event Time
Noon - 1 PM