PSYCHOLOGICAL RESILIENCY: Best Practices for Outdoor Recreation and Nature-Based Programming for Veterans

SHIFT’s Outdoor Rec and Nature-Based Programming for Vets study is designed to document the current landscape of outdoor recreation programming and nature-based therapies for military veterans. The study’s objective is to develop a baseline assessment of current practices within the field, which in turn will assist with the establishment of best practices for such programming.

This workshop looks at the findings to date of the project, as well as the ways programs can deliver treatments with fidelity across institutions without being too narrow or restrictive. 


9-9:50 am: Panel Discussion

9:50-10:00: Break

10-10:28: Breakout/World Cafe Round 1

10:30-11:00: Breakout/World Cafe Round 2

11:00-11:05: Transition Time

11:05-11:55: Roundup / Next Steps (plenary)

11:55 am – 12 pm: Thank You / Adjourn

To begin the workshop, a panel discussion will explore the findings from a September 22 workshop that indicated the standardization of practices was valuable, as was the preservation of programmatic personalization and flexibility to accommodate a spectrum of needs on behalf of both program recipients and providers.

Moderator: Jasmine Townsend, PhD, Assistant Professor, Recreational Therapy, Clemson University


  • Semra Aytur, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire
  • Jessie Bennett, PhD, Assistant Professor, Recreation Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire
  • Nick Otis, Senior Research Associate / Project Coordinator, Leidos; Senior Research Associate, Naval Health Research Center (2020 Emerging Leader)
  • Colonel Sally Coulthard, Founder, Nature and Health Foundation

Following the panel discussion, participants and panelists will be placed in breakout rooms in smaller groups to continue discussing the topic using a World Cafe format.

Two 30-minute rounds of world cafe-style breakouts will be followed by a thirty-minute “roundup” that reports out on the findings of each breakout room.

The final thirty minutes of the workshop will synthesize the proceedings into next steps.

NOTE TO ALL PARTICIPANTS: Both the Panel Discussion and the Roundup / Next Steps will be recorded for later distribution. If you do not wish to be recorded, you are kindly asked not to participate in these elements of the workshop.

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