The session started with individual reflections on ways to cultivate mental wellness, focusing the group on the topic for the evening. Melanie Eckner from Uptown Coastal Initiative started the presentations by sharing a historical perspective of Uptown’s coast as a model for people’s health and happiness.
Teresa Horton, Research Associate Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology at Northwestern University, presented on the health benefits of nature and shared research findings about the various health benefits people experience after spending time in nature. While many people understand this concept intuitively, research provides the support needed to have an impact on policymakers and other institutional decision-makers.
Vincent Gomez, Manager of Horticultural Therapy Services at the Chicago Botanic Garden, presented on horticultural therapy and health benefits of therapeutic horticulture. Following his presentation, Vincent led a hands on workshop to plant succulents and arrange cut flowers. For many participants, this was the highlight of the evening! Participants cheerily talked and laughed in small group while enjoying the sights and smells of the fresh flowers, soil, and sand.
About Out and About Uptown's Coast
Out & About Uptown's Coast partnered with the Uptown Coastal Initiative to raise awareness of Uptown's lakefront and parks through nine experiential, educational sessions that offer attendees rich opportunity for meaningful engagement with the ecology and culture of this Great Lakes coastal community.
The project connected residents, workers, and visitors, and strengthen links between the well-being of the coastal ecosystem and the health and well-being of those who live, work, and visit Uptown’s coast.
Highlighting local expertise and creating a space for diverse attendees to learn about and explore the area together, each session’s unique lens targeted different subjects and circle back to universal accessibility to and stewardship of Uptown’s coast across a spectrum of disciplines.
At the close of Out & About Uptown's Coast, the Uptown Coastal Initiative team created a toolkit highlighting the different approaches taken and lessons learned to help inform future programming as well as participant stewardship and engagement around sustainability in the coast.
For more information about Out and About Uptown's Coast, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.