News Flash

Environmental Advisory Council

Posted on: December 19, 2022

BIRDS for your BRAIN

Lansdowne EAC NEWS (1)

Your brain needs nature! Evidence from research keeps pouring in: spending time in nature is good for your mental health and can even help you think more clearly.

According to the American Psychological Association, many dozens of researchers find that “from a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood,” and “reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.” 

Studies find that time in nature also benefits the brain smarts of both children and adults—things like working memory, self-control, and mental flexibility. 

Even small amounts of time in the natural world can improve your mood and mental abilities. Regular small doses of nature aren’t really so hard to work into your life: spend 10 minutes in a green space on your way from a parking lot to your office, go for a walk on a nearby trail (Lansdowne’s Pennock Woods has terrific little trails), or create a wild patch in your yard and hang out there a few minutes every day. 

One recent study found that it’s especially good for mental health to see or hear birds. A thousand people from all over the world were asked at different times to note on a phone app what they were seeing and hearing and what their moods were. Together the study’s participants made nearly 27,000 reports on the app. The analyzed reports showed that whenever people heard or saw birds, their moods were lifted—even more than when they saw natural scenery without birds. Sometimes after experiencing birds, the people’s moods remained improved for hours. This was true both for people with and without depression. The study’s authors recommended  “increasing everyday encounters with birdlife in urban areas.”

Birds are some of the most visible animals in our world—it’s easier to see a bird than most wild creatures. Birds are signs to us that the natural world is vibrant. They are often quite beautiful, they have the amazing super-power of being able to fly, and they make all kinds of interesting noises, including real music. Lansdowne’s Environmental Advisory Council would like to help you increase your positive experiences with and appreciation of birds.  Please check each issue of this e-newsletter to stay aware of upcoming bird-oriented opportunities, including in the winter.  Winter is an excellent time to experience birds because there are no leaves blocking your view through tree branches, and often their food is nearer to the ground.  We plan to have a lot of fun together, to let birds bring us joy!

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