Local health center launches ‘green prescription’ pilot project

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Healthcare professionals will be prescribing ‘nature time’ over the next few months

PRESS RELEASE
SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
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The South Georgian Bay Community Health Center (SGBCHC) is pleased to announce that it has partnered with community organizations to launch the Green Prescribing Pilot Project.

Funded by the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation (CGMH) Wellness Innovation Fund and led by SGBCHC, the goal of the pilot project is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the southern Georgian Bay by promoting physical activity and time in nature.

Over the next few months, SGBCHC health care providers will be prescribing “time in nature” to a group of people and offering them free Ontario Parks passes, provided by Ontario Parks. The project will also provide them with free community trail maps, outlining the network of trails through Clearview, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, and information on where to access free nature-based community programs.

Funding for this project will also allow the purchase of transit passes, for those who need them, and additional equipment if needed.

“We are very pleased to offer this innovative pilot project within our community and are grateful for the support of the CGMH Foundation Wellness Innovation Fund, Ontario Parks and all of the community partners involved. Research shows that getting out into nature has huge mental and physical health benefits. Green prescriptions are now widely used in Canada and around the world to help treat physical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease and to help people living with a mental health issue like anxiety and depression,” said Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director. , SGBCHC.

The World Health Organization describes nature as “our greatest source of health and well-being” and says improving biodiversity is key to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Research also shows that spending time in nature can improve overall well-being, including reducing stress, improving sleep and boosting happiness, as well as increasing attention, memory and creativity.

During the pilot project, SGBCHC and community partners will analyze the results to determine the benefits and value to individual well-being, with the goal of expanding the program.

“Through the Wellness Innovation Fund, the CGMH Foundation understands the importance of investing in health and wellness initiatives like these. The Green Prescribing Project is a unique yet achievable way to work to keep the future of our community healthy and prosperous,” said Jory Pritchard-Kerr, President and CEO of the CGMH Foundation.

South Georgian Bay community partners actively involved in the Green Ordinances Collaborative include the Township of Clearview, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation, Environment Network, Free Spirit Tours, Ontario Parks, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre, City of Collingwood, Town of Wasaga Beach and Wasaga Beach Healthy Communities Network.

For more information on the Green Prescribing Pilot Project, please contact Lauren Jeffrey, Community Programs Coordinator at SGBCHC, at [email protected]

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