Landscaping For a Healthier Life: Resources from the DuPage Environmental Summit

More than 200 people joined us on January 19th, 2017 for the DuPage Environmental Summit to learn about Landscaping For a Healthier Life.

At The Conservation Foundation, our mission to preserve nature is not solely for nature’s sake. We believe strongly that those who see, experience, contemplate, and otherwise interact with nature in their lives can experience a deeper health, healing and happiness than those who don’t.

The 2017 DuPage Environmental Summit, organized in partnership with DuPage County, was built around this concept.  Summit participants learned about our regional Chicagoland forest canopy and the challenges we face in managing our urban forests. Trees clean our air and water, reduce stormwater runoff, increase our physical and mental health, improve our property values, provide critical habitat for wildlife and many other benefits. The Chicago Region Trees initiative was formed in 2014 to draw attention to these issues and focus regional attention on the plight of our urban forest.

Since 2006, the i-Tree software suite has provided free analytic tools to quantify community forest structure and the environmental services trees provide based on U. S. Forest Service science, including how to assess the energy effects of tree cover in a residential setting.
Attendees also explored how trees and natural landscapes are used as healing environments in healthcare, educational and residential settings. When these spaces are incorporated into neighborhoods and business locations, they allow users to experience the same physical and mental health benefits as being totally immersed in nature. The importance of interacting with nature and wildlife was also be discussed as well as how both of these elements provide therapeutic services.
Several local and regional not-for-profits and businesses working in areas related to this topic were available all morning to share information in our exhibit area.
If you would like to see the presentations from the 2017 DuPage Environmental Summit, you may download them from the following links:
Current State of the Urban Forest in DuPage County/Chicagoland
By Lydia Scott, The Morton Arboretum
Energy Efficiency Through Landscape Design
By Al Zelaya, The Davey Institute
The Social Benefits of Trees
By Drew Hart, U. S. Forest Service
The Power of Nature in Healthcare Environments
Geoff Roehll, Hitchcock Design Group

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