How ‘Forest Bathing’ Can Heal

And why BC would be wise to better manage its naturally rejuvenating woods.
By John Innes and Farah Shroff,

For hundreds of years, people in China, Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia have recognized that wood is not only a critical building material, but that forests provide a number of other benefits. Asian physicians have long recommended walking or being in nature as an important way for people to maintain their health and prevent disease. What does modern research tell us about getting healthier by being in the forest?

The World Health Organization considers health to be a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. This places responsibility for health on a wider range of institutions and people than simply the medical establishment.

A large and rapidly growing body of evidence suggests that people benefit in many ways from being exposed to trees and forests. This research…

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Hamilton’s Green Islands Under Threat

by Herman van Barneveld

A Northern Parula sings at the edge of the 3-acre woodlot while my students are measuring the diameter of some labeled Hop-hornbeams, Black Cherry trees, and towering, 150-year old Red Oak trees. The woodlot is called Crerar Forest, just south of the Linc between Wellington and Wentworth. It’s migration season, and a few more warbler species, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Solitary Vireo join the parula. They seem happy to have found a rare island of green in the midst of an ocean of roofs, streets, and parking lots.

My students love to be out in the bush. It not only breaks the monotony of sitting and listening, but they also feel they are involved in useful information gathering and interpretation as they measure trees which their predecessors measured last year. In this way they gather information about the current growth rates of various species. They really appreciate the opportunity.

I interrupt some students in their work to show them the two young hawks peeking out from the top of the nest which a Red-tailed Hawk pair had fashioned high up in a Sugar Maple. The students’ ‘Cools’ and ‘Wows’ remind me why I took them into the forest in the first place. They beckon other students to come and check it out.

That was last year.

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Federal Government looking for comments on the Sustainable Development Strategy

Public Consultation on the Draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013-2016

The Sustainable Development Office at Environment Canada is looking for input from Canadians on the draft second cycle of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), covering the period 2013 to 2016. Canadians are encouraged to submit comments before June 14, 2013, on the government’s advancement of sustainable development initiatives.

The government wants to benefit from the broadest possible range of expertise and guidance as it continues in its effort to make environmental decision making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

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Note: Protecting our forests is a big part of this, it has an effect on many things. Make sure your voice is heard.

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BBC: Green spaces boosts wellbeing of urban dwellers – study

Parks, gardens and green space in urban areas can improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living there, says a University of Exeter study.

Using data from 5,000 UK households over 17 years, researchers found that living in a greener area had a significant positive effect.

The findings could help to inform urban planners and have an impact on society at large, they said.

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New Research: Parks Alleviate Brain Fatigue

Natural environments, nature itself, is very important for our health.


What many landscape architects and designers know intuitively is increasingly becoming proven scientifically. In fact, more and more exciting research appears showing the cognitive and mental health benefits of being out in nature — in places like parks, or even just meandering down leafy streets. According to The New York Times, a new study from Scotland shows that “brain fatigue” can be eased by simply walking a half-mile through a park.

In The New York Times’ Well blog, Gretchen Reynolds writes that “scientists have known for some time that the human brain’s ability to stay calm and focused is limited and can be overwhelmed by the constant noise and hectic, jangling demands of city living, sometimes resulting in a condition informally known as brain fatigue.”

Green spaces help alleviate brain fatigue because they are “calming” and require “less of our so-called directed mental attention than busy, urban streets…

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City needs more trees, less asphalt

Too much asphalt, not enough trees or wetlands.

The latest watershed report card for Hamilton shows we have a lot of work to do to improve the environmental health of our urban areas.

The report from the Hamilton Conservation Authority evaluates forest cover, water quality, wetlands, stream buffers and barriers to water filtration.

Read full article by Matthew Van Dongen at:–city-needs-more-trees-less-asphalt

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12-year-old girl’s heartfelt letter saves B.C. forest

Olivia Peters is being hailed by environmental activists around the web today for saving an entire Surrey, B.C. forest from bulldozers with her words.

The fact that she’s in Grade 6 makes her story all the more impressive.

In an open letter to Mayor Dianne Watts published in Surrey’s Now newspaper last month, 12-year-old Olivia made a strong case against a construction project that would have eliminated a patch of old-growth forest near her family’s home.

Read full story by Lauren O’Neil at:

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Spring walk-about in Crerar Forest shows the devastation unleashed

We’ve posted more photos on our Facebook site:

The photos show what was found on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Crerar Forest. A closer look at the destruction unleashed on this once vibrant, lush forest, a habitat to many.

The chainsaws and machinery will be at it again soon, now that Spring is here. We have to act now to help protect what remains of the urban forests in Hamilton.


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Do trees fight crime in Philadelphia?

We already know that having more trees around protects our health. Turns out those trees might also protect our wealth and safety, according to a new study from researchers at Temple University, published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Read full article:

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Today is International Day of Forests

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The Day will celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

For more information:

Help spread awareness of how important our forests are!

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