The Nature of Health: A Day of Rest and Rejuvenation in the Garden

A collaboration between Perfect Earth and LongHouse Reserve


$80.00 – $100.00 per person



Nature is a balm. It calms, heals, and rejuvenates us. According to recent studies, just seeing a bird or listening to its song improves mental well-being, while a walk in the woods alleviates stress and lowers blood pressure. Plants help us breathe, and their beauty inspires and delights us. At LongHouse, we are newly dedicated to programs that explore this vital connection between human and plant wellness. We’ve teamed up with Perfect Earth Project, an organization dedicated to educating and engaging people in sustainable, toxic-free gardening practices, for a day of health and wellness.

Join us for a day of health at LongHouse. Enjoy yoga and meditation, wander in our chemical-free garden, and learn about the simple ways you can cultivate your own vibrant and beautiful one at home. Enjoy a colorful plant-based lunch. Listen to scientists share their fascinating research on how spending time in nature has proven beneficial effects on our health and well-being. 


9:00am: Yoga with Jason Amis
10:00am: Meditation with Rameshwar Das
11:00am: Walking Meditation in the Garden with Jason Amis
12:00pm: Lunch in the Pavilion provided by Amber Waves
1:00pm-4:00pm: An Afternoon Symposium of listening and learning from each other
4:00pm: Closing reception with refreshments


Welcome by Carrie Barratt, Director of LongHouse Reserve, and Toshi Yano, Managing Director, Earth Equity, Perfect Earth Project

Speaker: Donald Rakow
Talk Title: You know that spending time in nature makes you feel better, but do you know why?

Dr. Rakow is an associate professor in the Section of Horticulture in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science. Rakow served as the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Botanic Gardens (then Cornell Plantations) from 1996 – 2013, and as Plantations’ associate director from 1993 to 1995. He has been a member of the Cornell faculty since 1987, and is actively involved in teaching, research, and undergraduate and graduate advising. Rakow created and co-directs the Cornell Graduate Program in Public Garden Leadership.

One aspect of Rakow’s’s research focuses on the impact of time in nature on human health and behavior, and he is co-author of Nature Rx: Improving College Student Mental Health (Cornell University Press, May, 2019). He directs the Nature Rx@Cornell program, and co-directs the nationwide Campus Nature Rx Network.

Rakow also writes about the history and management of public gardens and their contributions to society and human culture. He is the co-author of the textbooks, Public Garden Management (Wiley & Sons, January 2011), and Public Gardens and Livable Cities (Cornell University Press, October, 2020).  He is also very active with the American Public Gardens Association.

Dorothy Ibes

Speaker: Dorothy Ibes
Talk Title: Nurture with Nature: Applying Ecotherapy Science to Improve Health & Well-being

Dr. Ibes has been faculty in William & Mary's Environment & Sustainability program since 2013. Ibes is the founder and director of the Parks & Ecotherapy Research Lab (PERL, Est. 2009), a certified ecotherapy guide, and co-director of the Campus Nature Rx Network (CNRx, Est. 2019). A human-environment geographer, Ibes's research, teaching, outreach, and ecotherapy work explores mutually-beneficial human-nature relationships, with a focus on promoting mental health and environmental stewardship through nature engagement. Her use-inspired, interdisciplinary teaching and research integrates theory and practice from nature and health, ecopsychology, ecotherapy, environmental psychology, human-environment geography, environmental justice, and urban park planning.

Ibes’s recent published research includes: Campus Nature Rx: How investing in nature interventions benefits college students (Rakow & Ibes 2022), The role of campus greenspace and meditation on college students’ mood (Ibes & Forstell 2022), Barriers to nature engagement by youth of color (Ibes, Rakow, & Kim 2021), and Greenspace ecotherapy interventions: The stress-reduction potential of green micro-breaks integrating nature connection and mind-body skills (Ibes, Hirama, & Schuyler 2018). A forthcoming book chapter examines Best practices for engaging youth of color in parks, nature sites, and other greenspaces (Rakow, Ibes, & Kim, forthcoming).

Edwina von Gal joins Drs. Rakow and Ibes for a conversation on the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human well-being. Photo by ©Inez & Vinoodhs