Berkshire Sanctuaries Partner with Health Centers to ‘Prescribe’ Nature for Patients

Release Date:
November 17, 2020

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.

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Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.

Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at