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January 29, 2024

Leaders in Health and Sustainability Gather to Celebrate PaRx!

Dozens of leaders and supporters of health and sustainability gathered to celebrate the three-year anniversary of PaRx last Monday in downtown Vancouver.

The BC Parks Foundation launched PaRx in November 2020 starting in British Columbia, but volunteers and their networks quickly spread the word, expanding province by province into a movement that encompassed the country. PaRx is the first nature prescription program in the world to be endorsed by a national physicians’ association: the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). It also won the CMA’s prestigious Joule prize in 2020 and was recognized by the World Health Organization at COP26. It won Canada’s 2024 Clean50 Top Project of the Year – and it’s just getting started!

PaRx party guests mingle at the Centre of International Contemporary Art in Vancouver, BC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the Honourable Janet Austin, OBC, kicked off the event by celebrating the movement, and the 12,000 registered healthcare providers who have written almost 800,000 prescriptions to patients across Canada to spend time in nature.

PaRx Director Dr. Melissa Lem thanked Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who was also in attendance, for giving her the spark to move forward with PaRx, saying she knew PaRx was needed more than ever “when Dr. Henry reminded us in the early days of the pandemic that ‘outside is always better than inside’”.

Also in attendance: President of the Canadian Medical Association, and a prescriber, Dr. Kathleen Ross; BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the Honourable George Heyman; Senator, the Honourable Rosa Galvez as well as several representatives from the more than 100 major health and parks organizations, like Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo, that support PaRx.

From L to R: BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy The Honourable George Heyman, BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Parks Foundation CEO Dr. Andrew Day, VP Strategic Partnerships Jennie McCaffrey, and PaRx Director Dr. Melissa Lem

BC Parks Foundation CEO Andy Day concluded the evening by saying that PaRx’s time is now. “PaRx is helping solve health problems that are emerging in the digital age: anxiety, isolation, sitting for long periods looking at screens, attention deficit and dementia, as a few examples. It needs to become the fourth pillar of health along with diet, sleep and exercise.”

He also says that it has had an incredible rise, and now needs others to help take it to the next level, given the international interest. “This is now too big a movement to run with the resources we have, so I am asking you to introduce us to someone you know who can take PaRx to the next level, whether through their influence, abilities, or financial resources.”

Not only is there solid scientific evidence that time in nature reduces stress and increases overall health, but it also deepens our connection and care for nature. Imagine how much healthier we will all be as we protect nature now, to enjoy forever.

If you have an idea of how to take PaRx to the next level, please contact us.

Have a question for us? Get in touch.


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