About 815 Outside Rx

A healthy lifestyle includes spending time in nature. Countless studies show time spent outdoors can improve mood, reduce stress, and support the immune system. All people benefit from time spent in nature. Recent research suggests that everyone should aim to spend at least two hours outside throughout the week.

You don’t have to workout to get health benefits from being outdoors. Activities such as picnicking, journaling, watching birds, listening to a creek, or walking with others can bring you new perspective and a sense of calm.

815 Outside is a local partner of the national non-profit Park Rx America, 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 healthcare by a diverse group of health care professionals.

Visit the Park Rx America Page

Park Rx America is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to decrease the burden of chronic disease and increase health by prescribing nature during the routine delivery of healthcare visits.
815 Outside is an initiative started in 2019 to increase local participation in nature-related activities. Our partners include Severson Dells Nature Center, Forest Preserve of Winnebago County, Rockford Park District, Klehm Arboretum, Natural Land Institute, and Nature at the Confluence. The idea for 815 Outside was inspired by the fact that we have over 20,000 acres of green space in Winnebago County, much of which is underutilized.
Countless studies show connections between time in nature and positive health benefits, particularly for mental health. Recent scientific studies:

The 2003 study “Nearby Nature” published in the Environment and Behavior Journal by two researchers from Cornell University found nature helps to lessen the negative impacts of stressful life events.

In 2009, the Journal of Attention Disorders published a randomized controlled trial that found walking in parks improved focus in children with attention deficits. 

Published in 2015 in the Landscape and Urban Planning journal, researchers at Stanford University found spending time in nature decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect.

A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found group walks in nature are significantly associated with lower levels of depression.

Nature activities are not meant to replace medical advice or therapy, but be a complimentary or preventative part of a patient’s treatment plan.

A health provider prescribes a specific location and time or program to patients who demonstrate a health indicator (at the discretion of the healthcare provider). The Park Rx site allows the provider to set up a prescription that will text or email the patient a reminder. The patient then logs their park visits online to “fill” the prescription, and regular reports are sent to the provider from Park Rx.
Winnebago County residents exhibit low levels of physical activity (1). The majority of people exercise less than 2 times a week (1). Additionally, lifestyle patterns such as inactivity, and poor nutrition are strongly affecting the rates of chronic disease conditions in the community (1). Utilizing Park Rx in Winnebago County would help treat or even prevent these chronic diseases.

(1) https://www.swedishamerican.org/sites/default/files/2019-06/SwedishAmericanHospitalCHNA2019.pdf

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466337/

(3) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0169204615000286

(4) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054708323000

(5) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246924740_Nearby_Nature

You can email 815outside@seversondells.org with further questions you may have.
Yes! You can ask your provider to build you a nature prescription plan. Simply send them this webpage to learn more about the program and sign up as a medical provider in the Park Rx system.

Download our informational brochure below

Healthcare Provider Registration Form

Please provide your information below if you would like to register as an 815 Outside Rx healthcare provider.


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