Berkshire Sanctuaries Partner with Health Centers to ‘Prescribe’ Nature for Patients
Michael P. O'Connor
LENOX—Mass Audubon’s Berkshire wildlife sanctuaries will partner with a pair of South County community health centers to help share with their patients the healthful benefits of nature and the outdoors. Support is being provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) through its Cultural/Social Rx initiative.
The wildlife sanctuaries will work with East Mountain Medical and MACONY Pediatrics, both located in Great Barrington, to support physical and mental health through connection with the natural world and guided activities that promote well-being, stress reduction, exercise, and a sense of community.
The MCC initiative calls for the Mass Audubon properties to provide rack cards, flyers, and other informational and engagement materials for the health centers to make available to their patients and families. In turn, they will be allocated vouchers for free admissions, programs, and other opportunities to visit the sanctuaries.
The Berkshire wildlife sanctuaries include Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield, Pleasant Valley in Lenox, Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, and Tracy Brook in Richmond.
Mass Audubon West Director Becky Cushing-Gop thanked the Massachusetts Cultural Council and said, “We are grateful to our partners who play an integral role connecting patients with our nature programming and membership opportunities.
“The idea that a patient could join weekly bird walks, happiness hikes, or canoe trips as part of a balanced wellness plan makes so much sense and we hope this partnership model will continue to grow,” Cushing-Gop noted.
For more information, please visit www.massaudubon.org/pleasantvalley.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.