Improving Access to Nature for People With Disabilities

How can we make nature more accessible for people with disabilities?

Those who spend lots of time in nature on hiking trails and visiting local/state/national parks know how helpful it can be to have well-maintained trails and proper signage. Many parks don’t take this into consideration and what most don’t realize is how inaccessible these nature spots become, especially for people living with with disabilities. Having access to nature is beneficial to people of all ages, races, income groups, and abilities. Living with a disability can impact all different types of people at any age, so how can we make nature more accessible to these people?

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Connecting with Nature in a City

Why is connecting with nature when living in a city important?

Nature is all around us, yet many people forget to or don’t know how to connect with nature. Being in nature has been shown to enhance health and overall wellbeing partly by decreasing health issues often associated with a sedentary lifestyle (Fuller, Bush, Lin, & Gaston, 2015). Spending more time in nature is related to lower rates of diabetes and obesity as well as anxiety and depression. According to the World Health Organization, around 70% of the world’s human population will be living in cities within the next 30 years (2013). Living in an urban environment could reduce access to nature, and residents may not receive the benefits of nature unless they make nature a part of their daily lives (Fuller, Bush, Lin, & Gaston, 2015). With so many of us living in cities, it’s important to find ways to connect with nature so we can reap the benefits nature has to offer us. 

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