SHIFT Publishes Preliminary Agenda for 2019 Festival

The 2019 SHIFT Festival, which will take place October 16-18, 2019 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will focus on the business case for nature as medicine.

The event will explore how natural allies in outdoor recreation, conservation, land management and public health can advance the economic and practical applications of nature as a social determinant of health.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 1. Final workshop, panel, and keynote details will be announced by September 1.

The preliminary schedule for the 2019 event is as follows.


*all speakers, panelists and moderators are proposed unless indicated otherwise

The 2019 SHIFT Festival will feature two tracks to help advance nature as a social determinant of health.

  • The Business Case: How nature as a social determinant of health makes economic sense to insurers, policy makers, elected officials and the military 
  • Implementation: How public health as an ecosystem service is being put into practice by communities, Parks Rx programs and nature-rich interventions around the country

Both tracks will be developed around two elements integral to our goal of facilitating networking and the showcasing of best practices: 

  • Official Selections for The SHIFT Awards, which feature representatives of the work determined to be the most innovative, impactful and replicable in the space by our researchers
  • The Emerging Leaders Program, which prepares exemplary early career leaders in the field to help facilitate the Festival proceedings.

Other programmatic elements include the following:

  • Stakeholder-specific working groups are complemented by networking sessions during lunch, happy hours and on the afternoon of the closing day 
  • Evening events are designed to cross-pollinate the daytime programming with provocative speakers and subjects that disrupt conventional thinking and approaches related to recreation, conservation and public health
  • Emerging Leaders are invited to participate in SHIFT programming as a means to elevate the voices, priorities and perspectives of the next generation


9 a.m.: JEDI Training

Snow King Resort

Investing in under-resourced communities to insure access to outdoor recreation is inclusive and equitable requires trainings to help orient in a landscape that might be unfamiliar. The cost of such trainings can run into the thousands of dollars. This price-sensitive, half-day workshop will focus on the basics of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and will be designed specifically for those with limited understanding of concepts key to success.

11-2 p.m.: SHIFT Registration

Center for the Arts

2 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks 

Center for the Arts

Christian Beckwith, Director, SHIFT

Introduction of the 2019 SHIFT Festival theme; the sub-themes for the event; event objectives; and agenda review. 

2:15 p.m.: Opening Keynote TBA

Center for the Arts

3 p.m.: The SHIFT Awards

Snow King Resort

Each year, The SHIFT Awards highlight the most innovative, impactful and replicable work currently underway at the intersection of outdoor recreation, conservation and public health. This series of ten-minute presentations by SHIFT Award categorical winners will outline the business case for nature as medicine, as well as the ways nature contact is being integrated into communities around the country.

7 p.m.: Speaker TBA

Center for the Arts


8 a.m.: Breakfast Keynote/Speaker TBA

Snow King Grand Teton Room

9:00 a.m.: Workshops

Snow King Resort

Workshops are designed to frame the topics under consideration with subject-matter experts. Panelists begin with five-minute presentations about how their work is impacting the topic in positive ways, followed by moderated discussion and Q&A. 

At the conclusion of the panels, panelists and audiences break into small groups that employ the World Cafe format to facilitate dynamic interaction and networking as we crowdsource solutions to challenges identified during the panel.

The Business Case: A Sustainable Revenue Model for Nature Contact

Snow King Resort

This three-part think tank will be broken into three three-hour sessions:

  • Part 1 will present the evidence for nature as a social determinant of health 
  • Part 2 will focus on case studies of the successful implementation of sustainable revenue models for nature contact
  • Part 3 will develop the framework for a sustainable revenue model via health care payer dollars

Each part will retain a format similar to the panel discussion/World Cafe design employed elsewhere in the programming. The think tank will showcase SHIFT Award Official Selections as well as subject-matter experts.

At The 2018 SHIFT Festival, a core group of individuals came together around an idea. Is it possible to develop a sustainable revenue model for nature contact through health care dollars? This think tank, a follow-up to 2018’s Nature Rx workshop, will report out on the findings of the working group, including recommendations for pilot community projects.

Moderator: Dr. Michael Suk, System-Wide Chairman of the Geisinger Musculoskeletal Institute; Board Member, American Medical Association


  • Brenda Schmidt, Founder/CEO, Solera Health (2019 SHIFT Award Official Selection)
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD

Implementation: Community Roll-Outs

As more and more communities develop municipal efforts around nature as a social determinant of health, “toolkits” for successful implementation become increasingly important and helpful. This workshop will look at guidelines that have been developed to assist communities in successful “nature as medicine” roll-outs. 

Moderator: TBD


    • TBD, Trust for Public Lands’ Geospatial Data and Analytics Services (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
    • TBD, King County (WA) Trailhead Direct (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
    • TBD, GP RED’s Healthy Communities Surveillance and Management Toolkit (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
    • TBD, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s TrailNation Project (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)

The Business Case: Quantifying the Health Care Costs Savings of Outdoor Recreation

This workshop will highlight the state of the science on methodologies for quantifying the economic value of nature contact (e.g., parks, trails and outdoor recreation in general) on human health, and identify best practices stakeholders can use to determine and showcase averted medical costs. 

Moderator: TBD


  • Randy Rosenberger and Tara Dunn, Oregon Outdoor Recreation Health Impacts Estimator Tool (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, Lower Rio Grande (TX) Active Transportation Plan (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)

12:00 – 2 p.m.: Lunch

Lunchtime networking allow participants to continue the conversations begun during the morning, or go outside to experience first-hand best-practice methods for connecting people more closely to the health benefits of nature.

Participants are asked to leave ample time to return to Snow King for the afternoon panels.

12 p.m.: Shinrin Yoku: Forest Therapy

For most of us, reconnecting with nature in the midst of the biggest mass migration in human history—a migration indoors, behind screens—is difficult enough. For seniors and differently abled people, the challenges are compounded. Simple methods of reconnection are key if we are to engage an increasingly urban, sedentary population with the health benefits of nature contact.

Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest therapy.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way, there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. 

This session features a hands-on exploration of the benefits of shinrin-yoku, led by Amos Clifford, Founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides (a 2019 SHIFT Award Official Selection).

2 p.m.: Workshops

Center for the Arts

The Business Case: A Sustainable Revenue Model for Nature Contact

Snow King Resort

Part 2 of the three-part think tank will focus on case studies of the successful implementation of sustainable revenue models for nature contact

The Business Case: Military Readiness

Protecting our country requires the optimal performance of active-duty service members. This workshop examines the therapeutic effects of nature on our wounded and non-wounded active duty service members, their families and their caregivers; the ways nature contact can help reduce levels of stress, depression, and burnout; and how nature contact can support Total Force Fitness, thereby reducing the economic costs to the military healthcare system.

Moderator: TBD


  • Donald Shell, MD, MA, Director, Disease Prevention, Disease Management and Population Health Policy & Oversight, OASD(HA) Health Services Policy and Oversight, Defense Health Headquarters
  • Keith Tidball, PhD, Cornell University (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • Dr. Frederick Foote, Project Administrator, The Green Road (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)  

Implementation: Nature-Rich Interventions

Nature-rich interventions are immersive techniques that connect people with the world outside. For land managers, health department officials and parks and recreation planners, they offer specific vehicles with which to administer the therapeutic benefits of nature contact, which in turn is often most valuable for seniors, children and individuals with limited mobility. This workshop will highlight programs, practices and real-world applications of proven techniques.

Moderator: TBD


  • TBD, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, Gateway Mountain Center (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, National Indian Youth Leadership Project (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, International Surf Therapy Organization (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD, 8 Shields (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)

7 p.m.: Dinner Discussions

Participating restaurants around Jackson

Dinner Discussions offer networking opportunities to participants, who select locations based on topic-specific themes. 


8 a.m.: Breakfast Keynote: TBA

Snow King Resort

9 a.m.: Workshops

Snow King Resort

The Business Case: A Sustainable Revenue Model for Nature Contact

Snow King Resort

Part 3 of this three-part think tank will develop the framework for a pilot community project that develops a sustainable revenue model via health care payer dollars.

Implementation: Best Practices for Parks Rx

Park prescription programs are proliferating across the country. This workshop will focus on three elements of park prescription programs that will help insure programs are working efficiently and effectively within a framework of best practices: lexicon; coding; and Rx fulfillment. 

Moderator: TBD


  • TBD, Parks Rx America 
  • TBD
  • TBD

Fourth Annual State Offices of Outdoor Recreation Workshop: Building on the 2018 State Offices Workshop, the 2019 workshop will develop one of the key recommendations from the Third Annual State Offices of Outdoor Recreation, on Cross-Sectoral Collaboration. The workshop for partners in outdoor recreation, public health, health care, transportation, parks and recreation departments and other agencies will help participants advance programmatic and funding opportunities by leveraging proven networking techniques. Workshop will be led by Jane Wei Skillern, founder of New Network Leadership

12 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

12:30—5 p.m.: SHIFT Outside

Various locations

Whether it’s a mountain bike ride on the trails of Snow King, fishing on Flat Creek or a run on one of the myriad trail systems around town, SHIFT Outside program allows participants to “network” while immersed in the natural splendor of Jackson Hole.

2 p.m.: Stakeholder Meetings

Snow King Resort

Researchers’ Meeting: Building on the 2018 Researchers’ Meeting, this workshop will  develop one of seven research domains advanced by the 2017 Frumkin et al research agenda, e.g., Economic and Policy (which refers to cost-benefit analyses of ecosystem services [e.g., health benefits and avoided medical costs] and related policy implications for conservation and planning), by exploring the cost-benefit of ecosystem services and the ways nature can be valued.


  • Aruni Bhatnagar, Director, The Christy Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • David Strayer, Director, Applied Cognition Lab, University of Utah (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)

Land Managers’ Workshop: With funding for public land management on the decline, public land managers are being forced to approach planning issues in creative ways. This workshop looks at the economic opportunities presented by the proliferation of “Parks Rx” programs, and the ways that public health and wellness priorities can unlock funding opportunities for their implementation. 

Moderator: TBD


  • Diana Allen, Director, National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People Program (2019 SHIFT Awards Official Selection)
  • TBD

2 p.m.: Bird Language Workshop

Birds are the sentries – and our key – to understanding the world beyond our front door. The calls, postures, and other behaviors of birds convey much information to those who understand their patterns. The attentive, trained observer can deduce through bird language the location of predators and other forces on the landscape. Join us for a journey toward a deeper connection to the birds, to the natural world all around us and ultimately to a deeper connection to ourselves.

7 p.m.: Closing Keynote TBA

Center for the Arts

10 p.m.: Apres-SHIFT    

We came, we saw, we shifted. After all the events of the past few days, it’s time to let our hair down. Help us put a bow on the 2019 Festival with a private after-hours event.

Rocket Fuel