The 2018 SHIFT Festival, which will take place October 16-18, 2018 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will focus on the health benefits of time outside.
Entitled “Public Lands, Public Health,” the event will explore how outdoor recreation on our public lands creates a healthier citizenry, promotes stewardship and advances quality of life in communities across America.
“Time spent outside in nature is good for us,” said Christian Beckwith, Executive Director of The Center for Jackson Hole, SHIFT’s parent organization. “In an age when the average American child spends seven hours per day in front of screens and seven minutes in unstructured play outside; rising obesity rates add billions of dollars to health care costs; opioid addictions outpace car accidents as the leading cause of death; and the growing disconnect from nature, particularly in our urban areas, leads to stress, depression and increased levels of mental anxiety in our citizens, time outside on our public lands has never been more important.”
Stacy Bare, an Iraq war veteran and the National Director of Programming and Operations at The Phoenix, spent years researching the topic as Co-Founder of the Great Outdoors Lab. “The future of our public lands and recreation economies will be much stronger if time outdoors is more consistently included in our national conversations on public health and health care,” he says.
Bob Ratcliffe, the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program Chief for the National Park Service, agrees. “Focusing on the outdoor recreation and public-land connections with health is an exciting and excellent idea,” he says. “It’s bi-partisan, has compelling emerging research and fosters growing connections between health interests and outdoor recreation providers, the outdoor recreation industry, conservation and community interests.”
In addition to working with thoughtleaders like Bare, Ratcliffe, and author Florence Williams (“The Nature Fix“), SHIFT organizers will build the program around two main elements: The SHIFT Awards, which recognize the most impactful, innovative and replicable work in the space; and The Emerging Leaders Program, which trains early career leaders to help lead the proceedings at SHIFT.
“The SHIFT Awards and The Emerging Leaders Program are symbiotic,” said Beckwith. “By developing our programming around them, we facilitate networking and showcase best practices with the current and future leaders of the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership.
“In doing so, we advance a collaborative approach to securing the health and wellbeing of America’s public lands.”
“We’re looking forward to exploring the opportunities that exist at the intersection of public lands and public health with our community this autumn.”