2015 Go Local for Health: Understanding Natural, Agricultural, and Built Environments as a Front Line of Community Wellness
Over the past five years, the South Mountain Partnership has explored the concept of health and wellness as a point of integration for many of its priorities, including open space and outdoor recreation, agriculture and local food, and community design and built infrastructure. In two previous region-wide Summits, the significant momentum has built around exploring the intersection and integration of these topics, and in understanding how diverse, non-traditional partners can collaborate to advance outcomes that benefit local residents and the landscape in which we live.
This third “Go Local for Health” Community Wellness Summit convened more than 80 different partners and community members for a day-long discussion centered around the integration of health and wellness within three tracks: outdoor recreation, local food systems, and community design. Dr. William Sullivan (Professor of Landscape Architecture) structured the day’s conversation with an inspiring and insightful presentation on the impacts that access and views of the outdoors and natural spaces have on individuals’ abilities to focus attention and handle stress. The morning plenary session highlighted two case studies from the local landscape – one from an urban setting (Eat, Play, Breathe York) and one from a rural setting (Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness) – to explore comprehensive, integrative efforts to consider how our surroundings impact health and wellness. Breakout sessions structured around the three tracks– outdoor recreation & physical activity, local food & healthy nutrition, and community design & the built environment – brought participants deeper into specific topics.
The Summit was supported by lead partner Partnership for Better Health. Additional funding was provided by Summit Health and by a grant from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Pennsylvania Recreational Trails Program funded through the Federal Highway Administration.