Corporate groups volunteer at Fairview Farm to steward the land. They come to give back to their community and to help the environment. We at RHA are the facilitators…they are the work force…the wildlife, trees, plants, streams and wetlands are the beneficiaries. But, there are even more beneficial outcomes from the day of service. As volunteers work together on a common project to improve our environment, they get to know each other, they bond and fortify their well-being. Sawing down a problematic, invasive shrub together opens the door to sharing stories about their jobs, their families and interests. At the same time, they feel empowered by their accomplishments individually and as a team. Volunteers are breathing in fresh air, using their muscles, connecting with nature and each other.
There are a number of studies revealing the benefits of spending time outdoors, which include reduced blood pressure, reduced stress levels, improved strength, memory, focus and self esteem. These findings aren’t new, in fact, this recent U.S.News and World Report article, A Dose of the Great Outdoors, states: “…data on the benefits of connecting with nature go back decades.”
The studies are important, but we don’t actually need them. We see the benefits first hand during our community service days here at the preserve. Companies that provide the opportunity for their employees to volunteer in the outdoors not only protect the vital resource of nature, but also gain a more connected, productive and relaxed staff.