2019 SHIFT Festival Makes Business Case for Nature as Medicine

Wow. From the Conflict Resolution Workshop with Mickey Fearn to the Researchers Meeting with Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, this year’s SHIFT was a whirlwind of energy, excitement and collaboration with an electrifying collection of leaders who are revolutionizing our approach to public and planetary health. 

Convincing business leaders, elected officials and policy makers to invest in green infrastructure, increased access to nature and nature-rich initiatives and programming requires sound economic and factual arguments. By showing that nature contact results in lower costs, improved performance and increased social adjustments, participants at this year’s program helped us build a stronger case for time outside.

This in turn gets at the heart of our mission: to build a stronger argument for our natural world at a time of unprecedented threat.

The Center for Jackson Hole is committed to advancing nature as a social determinant of health. Over the next few months we will be sifting through the proceedings to develop action items and next steps for the movement writ large.

Participants at the Researchers’ meeting on Friday moved to create a knowledge network for nature and health. Thanks to Amy McDonnell, a 2019 ELP participant and PhD candidate at the Applied Cognition Lab, we now have a Slack channel to allow those interested in nature as a social determinant to stay connected. 

If you are interested in joining, click here.

For now, we’ll leave you with a few testimonials from this year’s participants:

This year’s SHIFT was amazing! The quality of the people in the room made this one of the best conferences I have attended in a long time (and I present at a lot of conferences, annually). My brain has been swimming with ideas since the conference ended, and my work will be greatly improved as a result.

—Jason Urroz

SHIFT is a unique, one-of-a-kind conference that brings top thinkers together to develop creative solutions to the challenging and complex problems our nation’s public lands and public health face today. I hope the conference will continue for years to come.

—Vickie Silvas

SHIFT is powerful because it brings together stakeholders who don’t usually interact. SHIFT is where academics, corporate leaders, environmental educators, land managers, and youth program leaders, to name a few, come together to brainstorm solutions and develop actionable plans to address social and environmental problems.

—Teresa Horton

Participating in this year’s Emerging Leaders Program, ELP, successfully allowed me the opportunity to share the ideas and the work that I do in the topic of Nature as Medicine. This was an amazing experience and we were gifted the opportunity to spend plenty of time outdoors to practice what we were preaching.

—Ryan Tant

Christian Beckwith and the stellar SH/FT staff managed to plan and execute another fabulous, relevant and important gathering at SH/FT 2019, despite tremendous challenges during the year.

—Dan Gardoqui

I was impressed with the energy and eagerness to make a difference among the SHIFT community. [I]t was refreshing to feel the impact our home space has on visitors to this very special place. The net effect is to reinforce my own decision to increase the portion of my practice that directly exposes my clients to the healing and energizing impact if a “walk in the woods”.

—John P Thorn

Thanks to the SHIFT team for putting on an informative, welcoming, fun and collaborative event. I left with new friends and potential partners and with the understanding that we have a strong coalition that, continuing to build, could really make a difference!

—Suzanne Malec-McKenna

I found the ELP experience to be highly valuable means of networking with other engaged young professionals in the conservation realm and the topic of the conference to be super interesting and enlightening. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

—Brian Andersen

As an academic, I often dread attending conferences because I find academic “silos” so frustrating and find pure/strict empiricism to be increasingly soul-less. SHIFT was a breath of fresh air. Good science AND real passion. Looking forward to the next one.

—Keith Tidball, PhD

I felt like I found a new family at this year’s conference. There was incredible energy, warmth, and enthusiasm all week long. I come away with newfound excitement for my work in the growing field of nature and public health. I’m thrilled to have made so many strong contacts in the field ….

—Ashby Leavell

Thank you for bringing such a diverse group of professionals to our home town to generate momentum in this movement.

—Christy Fox

As well, if you participated in this year’s SHIFT and you haven’t already done this, please complete this short post-event survey to that we can use your insights to start planning next steps.

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