The Foundation for Dane County Parks is honored to partner with SSM Health and Dean Health Plan and Dane County Parks on the “Healthy Parks, Healthy You” initiative starting in 2021. The three-year partnership reflects our shared goals of improving health and providing inclusive programming.

From 2021-2023, we will partner in finding new, creative ways to engage youth, seniors, and their families in improving their mental, physical, and emotional health through the use of our beautiful Dane County Parks system. Starting in 2021, we will increase awareness of the relationship of parks and nature to health. Under safe public health guidelines, we will also offer seasonal health-related activities and events that encourage family health and help area families build a greater familiarity and comfort with the variety of parks and outdoor spaces available right herein Dane County.

Previous events have included a community vaccination event at Lunney Lake Farm Park, Earth Day celebrations, Doggy Play Day at Anderson Dog Park, National Trails Day and more!

Healthy Parks Healthy You has launched a Dane County Parks Passport! Check out the Parks Passport blog post for instructions to enter your completed passport for the chance to win prizes. 

"A park is not just a piece of land, it is a vibrant source of community pride, and a place where people can renew and improve their emotional and physical health. We are excited to partner with SSM Health, Dean Health Plan and Dane County Parks to promote the health benefits of nature to all people of Dane County for many years to come." - Bill Lunney, Foundation for Dane County Parks President
Healthy Parks Healthy You booth at the National Trails Day event on June 4, 2022

The Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

"We know that spending time in nature has significant physical and mental health benefits for everyone. As Wisconsinites and Dane County residents we are incredibly lucky to have access to the beautiful Dane County Park System. We are excited to showcase these incredible resources through the 'Healthy Parks, Healthy You' initiative." - Dr. Mark Thompson, President of Medical Groups for SSM Health Wisconsin

Time spent in nature has a multitude of mental and physical health benefits. Research shows some of the following benefits:

· 20 minutes spent walking in nature improves concentration and, in some cases, can reduce the need for ADHD and ADD medications in children.

· 30 minutes spent walking in a park can improve heart health, circulation and lower blood pressure.

· Just five minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem and relaxation.

Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression, while promoting a sense of wellbeing and fulfillment.

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Healthy Parks, Healthy You

The "Healthy Parks, Healthy You" partnership between the Foundation, Dean/SSM Health, and Dane County Parks aims to promote the connection between parks and physical and mental health.

Project started:
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In partnership with:
SSM Health-Wisconsin and Dean Health Plan
Dane County Parks Department
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