Partner Spotlight: NaturePHL
By Allison Gibson, Partnerships and Programming Coordinator, NaturePHL, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
NaturePHL is a cross-sector program that aims to improve the health and well-being of Philadelphia children and families through increased outdoor activity in local parks and green spaces. This collaboration brings together Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia primary care providers (PCPs), environmental educators, public health advocates, parks and recreation leaders, and other Philadelphia community leaders in order to connect families with healthy outdoor play in their neighborhoods through education about health benefits, incentives, and resources.
In 2017, NaturePHL launched its clinical tool kit, designed to enhance provider efforts to counsel patients on the benefits of physical activity, specifically outdoor activity, in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Primary Care Network. Since then, we have successfully trained physicians and nurse practitioners to counsel families on the benefits of increased outdoor activity and incorporate NaturePHL into electronic health records.
NaturePHL currently targets patients ages 5 to 12 and their families at annual well-child visits. A patient determined not to be spending enough time outdoors will be given a “prescription for nature” from the PCP to work with one of our Nature Navigators (a community social or behavioral health coach), over a 30-, 60-, or 90-day period to help the child’s family find ways to make nature part of their daily lives.
When we launched the clinical component of our program we also launched a health communication initiative aimed at connecting Philadelphians to outdoor spaces, activities, events, education, and resources. Health communication is provided through our website, conferences, research, and evaluation; through education services for teachers, parents, and classrooms; and through health literature and resources, which can be found on our website. To learn more about the resources provided and our work, visit NaturePHL.org.