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Park Rx America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship, by virtue of prescribing Nature during the routine delivery of health care by a diverse group of health care professionals. It was developed by Dr. Robert Zarr, MD, MPH as a tool for providers to connect their patients to the outdoors for mental and physical health issues.

Prescribing nature involves a health care professional identifying benefits of nature exposure as a treatment or preventative measure to patients. This requires conversation about patient’s interests in outdoor spaces, informing the patient of the potential benefits of nature, and enabling the patient to select the form of engagement with nature with which they will aim to reach those health goals. Outdoor recreation professionals are partnering with health care professionals to search for ways to remove limitations within this process, develop databases for easy access to information regarding local parks, and create tracking systems to identify when a patient has filled their prescription. ParkRx America is one such organization working to improve efficiency in prescribing nature and effectiveness in reporting the benefits of nature on health and well-being.

For providers to have access to the list of parks and trails locations and amenities, the parks and trails information needs to be uploaded into the Park Rx America website. Registering with Park Rx America, developing an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with them and uploading all of your park and trail information may seem a little overwhelming, but that’s where GMPT steps in help! The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) spearheaded the first efforts in Minnesota for the Park Rx movement. It was quickly realized that if this is going to work, local and regional parks and trails also need to be involved in the efforts. Parks and recreation professionals from southeast Minnesota have already jumped in to test the waters and help do some trailblazing for you!

Better yet, we are offering to help you with your journey. Southeast Minnesota Park Rx and the Minnesota DNR have compiled the information resources for you below. These resources will provide you with the tools you need to get started, from tip sheets to MOU templates. If you don’t have the time and resources to upload all of your park and trail information into the website, the DNR has Master Naturalists ready to help you with that too! Once you are set up you can use the contacts below to help you in recruiting and partnering with your local providers.

Parks Rx Toolkit

Watch this video to learn more about the Southeast Minnesota Park Rx effort and how parks agencies are teaming up with health care professionals to connect people to the outdoors.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: