Outdoor activities can increase opportunities for physical activity, reduce stress, and strengthen relationships with our friends, family, and community. OPHI is  working with Willamette Partnership, Portland State’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Oregon Healthiest State and the Intertwine Alliance to amplify the connection between health and the outdoors. In November, with these partners OPHI launched the Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors, which aims to support communities of color, people with disabilities, rural communities and others who interact with nature and see its connection to improving health.  The Framework lays the groundwork for a strategy that will strengthen the connection between health and the outdoors and address health disparities. The framework calls for community-led efforts to get people engaged with the outdoors and for a statewide set of supports for communications, policy, and evaluation/research. REI and The Kelley Family Foundation have committed seed funds to support community organizing grants, and the US Forest Service and PSU have committed to a regional research agenda.

The partnership is looking for feedback. If you have brilliant ideas or want to tell us about programs or projects connecting health and the outdoors in your community, please get in touch! You will find more information and feedback forms here:oregon.healthandoutdoors.org

OPHI is brainstorming ways to support Community Health Workers in identifying pilot projects that connect health and the outdoors–like culturally-specific hiking groups, gardening clubs or other community gatherings outdoors. We know that not everyone feels safe in nature, and that some communities feel a stronger spiritual connection to nature than others. That’s why we support community-identified, community-led initiatives and pilots. We’re also excited to be working more closely withHike It Baby, a growing network of chapters in more than 180 chapters – and 17 countries – getting families together and out into nature with newborns and little ones.

For more information about OPHI’s work in Health and the Outdoors, please contact Marissa Mark.

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