In celebration of National Public Health Week, Texas A&M Forest Service teamed up with the Center for Health and Nature, and the TAMU Campus Nature RX Network to offer a forest therapy walk to undergraduate and graduate students in the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Students took part is an immersive nature-based sensory experience at the Leach Teaching Gardens designed to deepen the sense of connectedness with the environment and promote strategies for positive mental health maintenance.
Following the walk, several students reported feeling an overall sense of calm and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Nearly all the students that participated reported that they plan to use forest and nature therapy strategies and the gardens on campus on a regular basis to help regulate their own mental health.
These forest therapy walks are part of a larger joint project by Texas A&M Forest Service, the Center for Health and Nature, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the City of College Station Parks and Recreation department to bring immersive forest therapy experiences to the BCS communities as well as to Texas A&M students on campus
In addition to providing opportunities for deepening a community’s personal connection to local nature, this project also collects data on user experiences and stress-levels, ultimately enhancing the body of evidence in support of forest and nature therapy as an effective mental health intervention tool as well as an effective public engagement mechanism for the Texas A&M University System.