Nature Contact & Human Health Group

Mission & Goals

People derive many psychological and physical health benefits from being in nature. The Center is supporting a forum that brings together researchers and practitioners from the medical, public health, design and planning, parks and recreation, and environmental fields from the academic, public, private, and NGO sectors, to assess evidence linking nature to human health, and explore the implications for policy and planning.

The goals of this project are to:

  • identify knowledge gaps and delineate important directions for future research
  • incubate and facilitate research projects
  • raise the profile and awareness of the strong links between health and the natural environment
  • highlight and share the latest research findings about the health benefits of natural spaces
  • identify challenges and needs in the fields of public health, planning, parks, and the environment; and
  • support and launch policies and programs that promote and enhance the health benefits of natural spaces, from urban greenspace to wilderness.

Our major accomplishments to date are publishing a research agenda to promote further study of the human health benefits of nature contact; and hosting a symposium that showcased the latest innovations in research, policy, and practice supporting the nature-health connection.

First meeting at the Ravenna Brewery


Jesus Aguirre Seattle Parks and Recreation
Stanley Asah UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Liz Baxter North Sound Accountable Community of Health
Marc Berejka REI
Joshua Brandon Outdoor Consulting
Greg Bratman UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Sara Breslow UW Center for Creative Conservation
Michelle Caulfield Office of Sustainability and Environment, City of Seattle
Matt Chadsey Earth Economics
Sterling Clarren UW Department of Pediatrics
April Claxton Recreation Northwest
Bobby Cochran Willamette Partnership
Hannah Cohen-Cline Center for Outcomes Research and Education
Kathleen Conner Seattle Parks and Recreation
Betsy Conrad Kaiser Permanente
Kitty Craig The Wilderness Society
Monica Cuneo Portland State University, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Kris Ebi UW Public Global Health
Pam Emerson Seattle Public Utilities, Drainage and Wastewater, System Planning and Green Infrastructure
Garrett Esperum Discovery Park Advisory Board
Liz Exell UW College of the Environment
Hannah Frenkel UW Northwest Center for Public Health Practice
Howie Frumkin UW School of Public Health
Amber Fyfe-Johnson College of Medicine, Washington State University
Victoria Garcia Tamayo Kaiser Permanente, Washington
Danette Glassy BestStart Washington/Mercer Island Pediatrics/UW School of Medicine
Philip Govedare UW School of Art
Ben Greuel The Wilderness Society
Anne Guerry Natural Capital Project
Anjum Hajat UW School of Public Health
Hanaa Hamdi Trust for Public Lands
Kit Harrington Fiddleheads Forest School, UW Botanic Gardens
Marnie Hazlehurst UW School of Public Health
Thatcher Heldring Spitball
Emily Henke Oregon Health & Outdoors Initiative
Chris Hilton The Nature Conservancy, WA
Lauren Honaker UW College of the Environment
Emily Howe The Nature Conservancy
Ben Hughey Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
Nancy Huizar Sustainable Seattle
Jessie Israel The Nature Conservancy
Andrew Jay Tiny Trees Preschool
Janine Jones UW College of Education
Catherine Jordan Pediatrics and Extension, University of Minnesota/Children & Nature Network
Peter Kahn UW Department of Psychology, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Ben Klasky Islandwood
Katherine Kreis PATH
Dave LaClergue Office of Planning and Community Development, City of Seattle
Josh Lawler UW Center for Creative Conservation, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Mandy LeBlanc Group Health Cooperative
Martin LeBlanc Sixkiller Consulting LLC
Phil Levin The Nature Conservancy, UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences,
Robert Liberty Portland State University, Urban Sustainability Accelerator, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Paulina Lopez Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition/TAG
Edna Maddalena BestStart Washington
Edgar Marcuse UW Department of Pediatrics
Yuta Masuda The Nature Conservancy
Rob McDonald The Nature Conservancy
Corll Morrissey Islandwood
Nalini Nadkarni University of Utah
Laura Nelson UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Chip Nevins Seattle Parks and Recreation
Dan Nordstrom Outdoor Research
Julian Olden UW Center for Creative Conservation, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Ben Packard UW EarthLab
Sara Park UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Caroll Patrice City of Seattle
Kathleen Phan UW College of the Environment
Danielle Purnell Seattle Public Utilities
Tom Reeve Trust for Public Land
Susanne Rockwell Seattle Parks and Recreation, City of Seattle
Nancy Rottle UW Department of Landscape Architecture
Amir Sheikh USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station, UW Department of Urban Design and Planning, UW Bothell
Michael Shiosaki Seattle Parks and Recreation
Contance Sidles Seattle Audubon
Carey Simmons The Trust for Public Land
Jon Snyder Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development
Dan Stonington WA Department of Natural Resources
Skip Swenson Forterra
Pooja Tandon UW Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development, General Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s
Craig Taplin Seattle Children’s Hospital
Jessie Thoreson Western Washington University
Tierney Thys California Academy of Sciences
Ann Vander Stoep UW School of Public Health
Usha Varanasi UW College of the Environment, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Marc Vogl The Mountaineers
Sean Watts Seattle Parks Foundation
Leslie Webster Seattle Public Utilities
Saul Weisberg North Cascades Institute
Katie Weiss Tiny Trees Preschool
Steve Whitney Bullitt Foundation
Daniel Winterbottom UW Department of Landscape Architecture
Kathy Wolf UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences; USDA Forest Service, Pacific NW Research Station
Spencer Wood UW Center for Creative Conservation
Kyle Yasuda UW Department of Pediatrics, BestStart Washington
Ken Yocom UW School of Landscape Architecture

Conversation at the Ravenna Brewery

Many thanks to the REI Foundation for supporting the Nature and Health Working Group 

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