RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Resource Managers as Mental Health Providers

Delivering the mental health benefits of nature requires resource managers to reconsider the benefits of the lands and waters under their jurisdiction and see them as more than simply recreational assets. This workshop looks at how innovative resource managers are engaging community members in the process of creating natural spaces to deliver mental health benefits to the public, and in the process amplifying the connection between the health of community, individual health and the health of the natural world.


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 ways three different resource managers are engaging their community members in the creation and management of natural spaces.

Moderator: Tanner Yess, Executive Director, Groundwork Ohio River Valley (SHIFT Board Member; 2017 Emerging Leader)


  • Fred Smith, Director of Grants & Partnerships, Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama (2020 SHIFT Award winner)
  • Marley Smith, Forester, USDA Forest Service (2020 Emerging Leader)
  • Rodrick Bell, Recreation Coordinator, Bronx River Alliance (2020 SHIFT Award Winner)

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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