Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters


The healing power of nature awaits in the forest preserves’ woods, prairies, trails, and rivers…

Humans have an affinity for nature. We delight in its beauty. We seek it for recreation. But did you know that connecting with nature also makes you healthy? Numerous recent studies reveal that access to nature has tremendous preventative and therapeutic effects on body and mind.

Medical research from around the world demonstrating that doses of nature can deliver powerful benefits has spawned a new movement to address common health conditions by connecting people to nature. Communities throughout the country are creating campaigns to promote connection with nature as an effective and affordable health intervention. Forest Preserves of Winnebago County is launching a Nature Prescription public information campaign to educate the community about the specific health benefits of connecting with nature in forest preserves. The campaign’s messages, developed in partnership with students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, will be disseminated via social media, events, and printed materials.

Nature’s Health Benefits (excerpted from Literature Reviews published by the Children & Nature Network)

  • Fitness- Physical activity in nature lowers rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity.
  • Child Development- Playing in nature supports children’s development in every major way—intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically.
  • ADD- Immersion in nature reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms.
  • Vitamin D- Exposure to sunlight boosts immune function and bone health by raising levels of vitamin D.
  • Anxiety & Depression- Interacting with nature significantly relieves stress and reduces depression.
  • Immunity- Chemicals secreted by trees (phytoncides) improve immune function and reduce inflammation.
  • Cognitive- Natural settings enhance creativity, memory and concentration.
  • Vision- More time spent outdoors is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents.

Read here about local opportunities to access nature for health benefits.

NatureRx” is trademarked by Dream Tree Film & Productions, the organization that made the viral video series Nature Rx, and is used here by permission. Be inspired and amused by their  Nature RX series of videos

Links to  Resources on the Health Benefits of Nature


Health Benefits of Nature: a Comprehensive Review by the American Society of Landscape Architects

Children & Nature Worldwide: An Exploration of Children’s Experiences of the Outdoors and Nature

Why Nature is Important To Older People and People With Dementia

Why Canoeing Makes You Healthy

Using Nature and Outdoor Activity to Improve Children’s Health

Seniors Beat High Blood Pressure by Walking Outside

Time Outdoors and the Prevention of Myopia

Children & Nature Network Research Library

Adult Health & Nature Fact Sheet

How Hiking Helps Anxiety And Depression