Letter: Nature improves quality of life

To the editor,

There might be no better time than a Saturday in spring to get out and enjoy the rural beauty of Beacon Falls. Whether it be hiking through the hills of Naugatuck State Forest, picnicking at Matthies Park, fishing at Riverbend Park, boating on Toby’s Pond or exploring nature at Lantern Ridge.

As the weather gets warmer, the natural world reawakens, plants grow and bloom, birds sing, animals become more active. The woes of a long winter are left far behind. What a perfect time to honor Mother Earth.

Studies have shown that there are multiple health benefits associated with having parks, trails and open space within a community. Scientific evidence has suggested that when people have access to parks, they exercise more. In a study published by the CDC, the creation of enhanced access to places for physical activity led to an increase in the percentage of people exercising on three or more days per week and a Danish study, published in 2007, concluded that adults who could easily reach a green space had less stress and a lower body mass (BMI).

Also, contact with the natural world improves psychological health, reduces stress, boosts immunity and enhances productivity and is most likely essential for human development and long-term health and wellbeing. Parks and trails provide people with formal and informal gathering places to be physically active, socialize, relax, build community and connect with the natural world.

Open space provides spiritual inspiration, enabling people to gain a fresh perspective on life and provide an opportunity to escape from urban life. Parks, trails, and open space also preserve ecosystems, provide clean air and water, and foster human involvement in the natural environment.

In recognition of Earth Day 2014, and on behalf of the conservation commission, I want thank the Town of Beacon Falls for recognizing and supporting environmental consciousness and the valuable assets of open space, and its parks and trails to promote community health.

For additional information on conservation and environmental topics, please visit www.beaconfallsconservation.com.

Diane Betkoski

Chair, Beacon Falls Conservation Commission

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