behavior · children · environment · happiness · Nature

Make-A-Wish, Woodland Park Zoo grant a child’s wish to play with animals.

When 2 1/2-year-old Rylee, a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington kid, said she loved animals, we wanted to give her an unforgettable day at Woodland Park Zoo. Two weeks ago, Rylee arrived in a stretch limo, fed elephants Chai and Watoto, pet and fed the goats, pigs and bunnies, enjoyed a picnic and rode the carousel—and had a wonderful time sharing it all with her family. We’re so sorry to learn that Rylee has since passed. But we know that while we gave Rylee and her family the gift of nature, they gave us the gift of sharing one of Rylee’s last days with her. Go outside and play today—nature and time are gifts we should all treasure together. (Photo: Jessica Johnny Photography)

Photo: When 2 1/2-year-old Rylee, a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington kid, said she loved animals, we wanted to give her an unforgettable day at Woodland Park Zoo. Two weeks ago, Rylee arrived in a stretch limo, fed elephants Chai and Watoto, pet and fed the goats, pigs and bunnies, enjoyed a picnic and rode the carousel—and had a wonderful time sharing it all with her family. We’re so sorry to learn that Rylee has since passed. But we know that while we gave Rylee and her family the gift of nature, they gave us the gift of sharing one of Rylee’s last days with her. Go outside and play today—nature and time are gifts we should all treasure together. (Photo: Jessica Johnny Photography)

Biophilia is amazingly strong for all kids, and it’s simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking that this was a little girl’s last wish.

community · creativity · environment · music

Want to support music? Support green space and parks!

OK, maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but that’s the headline/thesis that Grist Editor Jess Zimmerman proposes in his short article about Seattle rapper Macklemore, and I gotta admit I like his thinking…

In this video for the Nature Conservancy, rapper Macklemore explains how municipal green space in his home city of Seattle influenced his career: He and his friends didn’t want to kick it at their parents’ houses, so they went and freestyled in parks. (Side note: Do people really still say “kick it,” or is Macklemore even older than I am?) We knew, of course, that Macklemore was into creative reuse, but who knew he had so many ideas about urban infrastructure?

The moral here is clear: Want more rappers? Make more parks. It’s just science.

I also love the fact that a hip hop artist is “kicking it” with the Nature Conservancy.

Do you know of any other artists who got their start playing in parks, beaches, or other urban green spaces? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

architecture · behavior · brain · design · emotion · environment · happiness · health · mental health · Nature · psychology

Using Nature Therapy in Prisons and Hospitals

I’m seeing lots of different examples of people using nature to help heal, from the physically injured to those with aggression issues cut off from the rest of the world.

For example, I was just listening to a program this weekend on the local NPR station about a biologist at Evergreen State College who is greenifying a local prison, as well as working with inmates to grow new prairie grass and frogs (I can’t find the original story but here’s some similar coverage):

The frog rearing program here pairs inmates with scientists from the Evergreen State College as part of the Sustainable Prisons Project. So far, the frogs grown at Cedar Creek Correctional Center are doing better than those grown by professional zoologists.

LIESL PLOMSKI, graduate student, The Evergreen State College says, “They have a lot more time here to care for the frogs that a zoo wouldn’t have. I mean they’re here all day with them, so they change the water frequently. They feed them more frequently than a zoo could ever do.”

And then this morning stumbled upon this story:

Henning Larsen Architects recently won an international design competition with their plans for the new Odense University Hospital in Denmark. Situated close to the city center amidst a scenic old-growth forest, the OUH will use the surrounding landscape as a way to heal its patients. The holistic facility features a light footprint that incorporates nature at every turn to create an environment replete with peace and serenity. Daylight floods in through the glass-lined buildings, and rainwater will be collected to feed the many ponds and surrounding landscape.

more via Denmark’s New Odense Hospital is a Healing City of Glass Amid the Forest | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World.

I am blown away by all the different applications of nature into therapy and recovery practices.