As demand on health care workers increases alongside COVID-19 cases, the B.C. Parks Foundation launched a holiday season campaign to help relieve some of the stress put on health care staff this holiday season
The B.C. Parks Foundation (BCPF), with the help of the Association of Forest and Nature Therapy Guides have launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide free, guided nature therapy sessions to health care professionals in early January.
With increased pressure put on the province’s health care workers by the pandemic, nature prescriptions in the form of “forest bathing” are hoped to alleviate some of the hardships on nurses and doctors.
The BCPF is asking the public to help raise funds so nature therapy can be offered to nurses and doctors free of charge.
Donors are asked to provide a $25 donation to cover a session. The donation can go toward a specific health care worker or it can be left open. A portion of the proceeds will also go into a fund for park projects.
“These wonderful people are giving a lot of themselves to keep us healthy and we are asking British Columbians to send them gratitude in the way they can use most – stress relief,” said Andy Day, chief executive officer of the BCPF.
“We are inviting British Columbians to join us in offering a festive season pledge to give our health care heroes a tangible way to relax and rejuvenate.”
The immersive experience was inspired by the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’.
The guided session is a 90 minute immersive experience where nurses and doctors are remotely guided via telephone or Zoom while in a natural setting. The guide invites them to slow down and tune into sights, sounds and smells of the natural world.
“There’s an impressive amount of science behind the health benefits of nature time,” said Dr. Mellisa Lem, a Vancouver based family physician and director of PaRx, Canada’s first national nature prescription program.
“I’m proud to be part of this ground-breaking initiative. It has incredible potential to improve our well-being as we deal with so many different challenges to our health.”
Licensed nurses and family doctors can email the BCPF to register for the nature therapy sessions at [email protected]
The BCPF is hoping to offer 1,000 sessions by raising $25,000 for health care workers but can only run sessions until funds run dry.