Meaningful change doesn’t happen in a silo. Or in an echo chamber. It happens when diverse stakeholders come together with a common interest in protecting our natural world.
The SHIFT Festival — now in its 5th year — is sparking a forward-looking national movement unlike any other. SHIFT convenes visionaries, innovators and influencers from complementary sectors and unites them around the desire to realize change. To hatch new ideas. To re-imagine systems. To leverage the public health benefits of nature as an argument for its protection.
SHIFT is where natural allies gather to create strategies for a better future.
For the past five years, SHIFT has worked to address an existential challenge. In the midst of the sixth mass extinction, at a time when the largest mass migration in human history is driving us indoors, behind screens, our societal disconnect from nature is occurring at the exact moment our need to fight for it has become imperative.
How do we raise the value proposition of nature at a time when our move away from it is accelerating?
In 2018, SHIFT focused on the connection between time spent outside and public health. For the first time, proponents of outdoor recreation, conservation and land management—SHIFT’s traditional stakeholder communities—gathered with members of the health care, funding and research communities to explore public health as an ecosystem service.
The results, as documented in the May 2019 cover story in Outside Magazine, represent one of the most important opportunities of our lifetimes. By highlighting the health benefits of nature, we can raise its value proposition in a time of unprecedented threat.
Public health as an ecosystem service is a nonpartisan issue that has the potential to revolutionize our appreciation for nature. Simply put, the health benefits of nature are not possible without nature itself. This is why we are redoubling our efforts to explore this invaluable connection in 2019, with a program entitled “SHIFT Rx: Nature as Medicine.”
At a time when the average American child spends seven hours per day in front of screens and seven minutes in unstructured play outside, and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and mental anxiety adds billions of dollars to health care costs, this year’s SHIFT makes the critical connection between time outside on our lands and in our waters and the health and wellbeing of all people.
SHIFT Rx is the point of the spear on a trans-disciplinary conversation. The goal is to make ‘nature as medicine’ common knowledge for those who need it most. That’s a world-changing recipe.
— Wallace J Nichols, PhD, author, Blue Mind
The 2019 SHIFT Festival is informed by the Center for Disease Control’s determinants of population health.
The 2019 SHIFT Festival will be developed around two elements integral to our goal of facilitating networking and the showcasing of best practices:
Public health is the last frontier of ecosystem services. From Oct. 16-18 in Jackson, Wyoming, join the innovators, early adopters and thought leaders at the forefront of the “Nature as Medicine” movement with an agenda that leverages the public health benefits of nature as an argument for its protection.
By focusing on public health as an ecosystem service, SHIFT [in 2018] reframed conservation to include the health benefits derived from the natural world. They’re not possible without accessible lands and waters.
— David Weinstein, State and Local Policy Director,
Outdoor Industry Association
SHIFT is a national convening of cross-disciplinary influencers eager to network, learn and interact with others. We like to think of it this way: we coalesce natural allies—who may not yet know they're natural allies—in ways that foster collaboration, innovation and bold new ideas.
“SHIFT attracts the top thought leaders in the space in a way that I have not seen another conference even attempt.”
We spend hundreds of hours each year researching the organizations and individuals who are finding innovative, bold new ways to protect our public lands and improve public health—and then celebrate them with The SHIFT Awards by building our programming around their work.
It's one thing to come together. It's quite another to join a band of people brimming with ideas, in a forum designed for collaboration and blue-sky thinking. (Literally—outdoors under real blue skies!) (Unless it snows.) At SHIFT, you may find yourself collaborating and sharing challenges and opportunities with people you’d never have met, from completely different fields and walks of life—and find that their experiences cross-pollinate your thinking in ways you never would have imagined possible.
Read The Highlights and Recommendations from The 2018 State Offices Of Outdoor Recreation Workshop
We've all been to the conferences that load you with data and information you’re not quite sure what to do with. Not here. SHIFT goes both wide and deep, zeroing in on critical, industry-specific issues and focused topics that give you replicable strategies you can put into action. Best thing? By the time it’s over, you’ll likely have some new friends to help you along the way.
Learn how the 2018 Public Land Managers’ Meeting helped land managers incorporate public health objectives into their planning.
The stakes are high. Improving public health while protecting our planet is a win-win that cuts across partisan divides. Leave your despair, discord and differences at the door, and join us at SHIFT as we hit the ground running to forge new alliances, strategies and ideas for a better future.
“I can safely say my life was changed by this gathering of brilliant minds and passionate hearts.”
—Alyssa Ravasio, Founder, Hipcamp
SHIFT attracts a diverse cross-section of stakeholders from the outdoor recreation, conservation, land management and public health communities, all of whom are united by a fierce passion to protect the natural world in a time of unprecedented threat.
The American outdoor economy represents a $887B/year industry. At SHIFT, industry leaders gather to discuss ways to reinvigorate the protection of our natural resources while engaging the advocates of tomorrow.
Thought-leaders, early adopters, champions and influencers from the health care community have been advocating for the prescription of time outside for more than a decade. At SHIFT, they gather to discuss ways to make “Nature as Medicine” the next big medical revelation.
City, county, state and federal policy makers convene at SHIFT to address ways to leverage natural resources for public health and wellbeing.
Federal and municipal land managers gather to discuss opportunities to introduce a generational, socioeconomic and cultural diversity of people to the idea of the outdoors as a place for improving one’s health.
Grassroots organizations convene at SHIFT to create networks, share best practices and connect the theoretical with practical, on-the-ground solutions that advance and promote the health benefits of time outside.
Traditional conservation organizations built the historical foundation of the environmental movement. By connecting their institutional knowledge and resources with the energy and perspectives of tomorrow’s leaders, we enhance the effectiveness of both.
Professionals working on the health benefits of nature contact gather in an open forum to share their respective work, explore progress to date and identify knowledge gaps and how and with whom to fill them.
Avid users of our public lands and waters offer unrealized potential for the future of conservation. At SHIFT, they explore how to balance our love for outdoor recreation with the greater need to preserve the place in which it occurs.
Since its inception in 2013, SHIFT has evolved into a convening space for natural allies to address issues of common concern related to conservation. Topics we’ve explored include the outdoor recreation / conservation partnership (2015); the relationship between outdoor recreation and public lands (2016); the business case for public lands (2017); and the connection between public lands and public health (2018).
Significant outcomes include the following (click here to see what else we've SHIFTed):
In 2018, SHIFT focused on the public lands/public health connection. The results, as documented in the May 2019 cover story in Outside, represent one of the most important opportunities of our lifetimes. By highlighting the health benefits of nature, we can raise its value proposition in a time of unprecedented threat.
For the past four years, SHIFT’s State Offices of Outdoor Recreation Workshops have provided outdoor recreation leaders a roadmap with which to advance and promote priorities related to outdoor recreation, conservation and public health
Since 2014, The SHIFT Awards have recognized the most innovative, impactful and replicable initiatives at the intersection of outdoor recreation, conservation, land management and public health
Catalyzed by the 2014 SHIFT Roundtable on Land Conservation, Wilderness Advocacy & Human-Powered Outdoor Recreation, The Principles for the Advancement of Outdoor Recreation and Conservation (aka “The SHIFT Principles”) were developed to help guide recreation and conservation decisions in North America
Founded in 2016, The Emerging Leaders Program prepares exemplary early career leaders to help facilitate the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership at SHIFT and in America
The SHIFT Rx Challenge provides daily, weekly, monthly and annual “doses” of nature as it encourages adults aged 18–64 to take The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Recommendations for Physical Activity outside
In 2017, our Outdoor Business Alliances workshop developed a template for the creation of outdoor business alliances that states around the country can use to provide industry support for public lands
Made possible by a grant from Patagonia, the annual $10,000 SHIFTx Fellowship Fund grant helps ELP alumni address outdoor recreation/conservation issues in their communities
SHIFT [in 2018] provided a unique and truly inspiring opportunity to bring different perspectives and disciplines together in one place. No one else is doing this in the nature/health arena—and it is critically needed.
— Florence Williams, author, The Nature Fix