Montgomery Parks is committed to establishing a Parks Prescription program similar to other Park Prescription programs popping up around the globe. Montgomery Parks has met with doctors, Healthy Montgomery, the Recreation Department, the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA), the National Park Service, Prince George’s Parks and Recreation staff, presented at the NRPA conference in Houston, Texas and participated in a medical conference to determine what would be needed to have a successful park prescription program in the county. The result of this information gathering is a Tool Kit designed to educate doctors about the Montgomery park system, introduce doctors and patients to the many park and recreational programs in the county and provide an incentive to use the parks and programs with a complimentary discount pass.
The Tool Kits have been mailed to a list of 15 interested medical professionals and include:
- Introductory Letter to Doctors
- Montgomery Parks Prescription Pads
- 25 Complimentary Daisy Passes (good for discounts throughout Montgomery County Parks)
- 2014 Guide to Montgomery County Parks and Recreation, and Summer Camps
- List of Events offered throughout the Parks
This is a pilot program and will be monitored by determining how many doctors give out the passes through a number tracking system. Quarterly reports will enable the Department to determine the success of the program. We look forward to sharing this information with you over the next year.
Health Benefits of Parks (from the Health and Environment Fact Sheet – A National Environmental Education Foundation Program):
- Did you know that 70% of children and adolescents are severely deficient in Vitamin D? A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause rickets and lead to osteoporosis. It only takes 10-15 minutes of being outdoors in the sunlight to get the vitamin D you need! So …go walk in a park and get healthy!
- Did you know that ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affect 9% of children ages 4-17? It impairs their ability to perform well in school and may persist into adulthood. Watching too much television and playing too many video games have been linked to an increase in ADD and ADHD. Recent research shows that children who played in a natural setting had better attention functioning after activities in the green natural setting. So….go play in a park and then you can focus better for school or work!
- Did you know that 9 out of 11 trials showed improvements in mental wellbeing from exercising outdoors compared to exercising indoors? Exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, and a decrease in tension, confusion, anger and depression. It also increased energy. So… go exercise in a park and feel your spirits rise and your happiness increase!
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|Attention Doctors! If you would like to find out more information about the park prescription program, contact Rachel Newhouse to be added to our distribution list. Rachel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-650-4368.
We can provide you with all the tools necessary to prescribe parks to your patients including park prescription pads, park maps and brochures. We will also keep you updated on upcoming events.
Things to Do
Montgomery Parks offers hundreds of activity choices for all ages and all seasons. Find the right programs and amenities to meet your health goals here:
Park Prescriptions Nationwide
More Wellness Resources
- Be Active Montgomery!: An initiative to encourage Montgomery County Residents to be mindful of their activity and wellbeing.
- CareFirst Wellness Library: An online encyclopedia of wellness-related topics, ranging from prevention to diagnosis to treatment of common diseases and conditions.
- Children & Nature Network: The leading movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership.
- Healthy Montgomery: A collaborative effort to improve the health of Montgomery County Residents.
- National Environmental Education Foundation: the nation’s leading organization in lifelong environmental learning, connecting people to knowledge they use to improve the quality of their lives and the health of the planet.
- Health Benefits of Nature: An online guide launched by the American Society of Landscape Architects that showcases the long and short term mental and physical benefits of spending time outside.