Access Nature

Access Nature Program Moving Full-Steam Ahead. Get Involved!

(See articles below — from Record Review and Katonah-Lewisboro Times — and photos from recent programs)

Having fulfilled much of our original mission to preserve open space in Lewisboro, the Lewisboro Land Trust has shifted gears to an emphasis on environmental education and exposure, or as our tagline says, “linking people to the land.” As part of that mission, LLT introduced the Access Nature program three years ago. The goal of the program is to provide disabled and disadvantaged individuals, with an easy comfortable, and safe experience with nature and to connect them with the benefits it provides. According to our Co-Chair Bonnie Robins, “The success we’ve had and the need we’ve identified have caused us to embark on expanding the program. We’ve discovered that the need and desire for this is almost endless.”

During the pilot, we ran programs with the intellectually challenged and the mentally ill, persons with brain injuries, and non-English speaking immigrant families and children who live in our communities. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Among the many benefits experienced by participants are reduced anxiety and depression, a sense of well being, stimulation of cognitive functiioning and creative poroblem solving, socialization and an increase in curiosity and self-esteem.

It is the wish of the LLT to be able to offer this program to a greater constituency, including veterans, and those with hearing and visual disabilities. We recently hired Gigi Guthrie as Access Nature Program Coordinator. These programs are all provided free to the groups we work with. Our goal is to be able to offer 20 of these programs a year by 2020. To date, we have raised about a third of our $50,000 three-year budget, and we are turning to you to help us raise the remainder so that we can fulfill the promise of bringing these programs to a much wider community. Please note that all donations made to the LLT Access Nature Program, a 501c3, are tax deductible. To help us to help the disabled and disadvantaged reap the benefits of nature, please click HERE. If you would prefer to donate by check, please send your check made out to Lewisboro Land Trust AN to LLT, POB 496, South Salem, NY 10590.

Thank you for your kindness and compassion.

Here’s what the Record-Review has to say about Access Nature…

For the most recent article in the Katonah-Lewisboro Times, please click here:

KLT article


More about the program…

Did you know that exposure to nature decreases anxiety, depression, and negative rumination; while at the same time increasing well being and creative problem solving? Scientific studies from Stanford University (Gregory Bratman) and NIH (David Pearson), among others, have recently verified the benefits of a connection to nature.

People with disabilities and underserved populations often don’t have the same access to nature preserves and environmental education as the general public. The Lewisboro Land Trust Access Nature Program reaches out to people with disabilities and the underserved to provide an easy, comfortable, safe experience with nature while educating on the benefits gained. We design each program to fit the needs of each individual group, sometimes using educational naturalists, or work programs, and even pairing up with local high school students.

In the past three years the Lewisboro Land Trust has completed its Access Nature pilot project. We have run a dozen Access Nature programs with the intellectually challenged, the mentally ill, non-English-speaking immigrants, and persons with brain disorders and injuries who live in our local communities. The response to our programs has been overwhelmingly successful. In addition to the benefits of exercise and nature we have found these programs stimulate cognitive functioning, socialization, a desire for more information, greater self esteem and self-reliance, and the confidence to enjoy nature on their own.

Now we are embarking on our second phase to grow this program. The need is there and the results are clear. We have an ambitious 3 year plan and by 2020 will be offering 20 of these programs a year. We plan to expand into other populations with disabilities and disadvantages. We have witnessed the need and the rewards of this outreach program first hand. It is our wish to be able to offer this program to a greater constituency.

Donations to Access Nature can be made through the Donate link here. Or, if you prefer to make your gift by check, indicate so on your check and send it to LLT, POB 496, South Salem NY 10590.

Access Nature Committee:
Gigi Guthrie – Access Nature Program Coordinator
Bobbe Stultz
Bonnie Robins
Helen Peeples