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About

Learn more about PaRx.

PaRx is an initiative of the BC Parks Foundation, driven by health-care professionals who want to improve their patients’ health by connecting them to nature. Featuring practical resources like quick tips and patient handouts, its goal is to make prescribing time in nature simple, fun and effective.

Each prescriber who registers with PaRx will receive a nature prescription file customized with a unique provider code, and instructions for how to prescribe and log nature prescriptions. Patients can also access special offers from our proud partners to reduce their barriers to nature access across Canada.

Park Prescriptions began as a grassroots movement in the United States over a decade ago, and have now spread to countries around the world. We are proud to be Canada’s national, evidence-based nature prescription program.

Key Staff

Dr. Melissa Lem, MD, CCFP, FCFP

PaRx Director

Dr. Melissa Lem is a Vancouver family physician who also works in rural and northern communities within Canada. Also President-elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, she is an internationally recognized leader in the field of nature and health. A widely published writer, she was the resident medical expert on CBC TV’s hit lifestyle show Steven and Chris for four seasons and continues to appear on air as a regular contributor to CBC Radio, CBC TV and CTV News. Dr. Lem was a 2020 Joule Innovation Grant recipient from the Canadian Medical Association, a 2021 World Parks Week Ambassador, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
Jennie McCaffrey

Healthy By Nature Director

Jennie is an experienced educator, facilitator and leader with a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Education and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from the University of British Columbia. She brings over 18 years of experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in leading strategic initiatives and collaborating with provincial and federal governments, Indigenous organizations, school districts and industry. Jennie works to change behaviours and empower people to protect and connect to nature at work, at school or at play. The privilege and magic of growing up on the beaches of Kitsilano and spending summers camping and swimming in the Salish Sea have inspired a passion for the environment that Jennie strives to share with others everyday.

Prama Rahman, MA

Healthy by Nature Program Coordinator

Prama Rahman is the Healthy By Nature Program Coordinator for the BC Parks Foundation, and has supported PaRx since 2019. Prama has an academic background in International Relations and English Literature. Her research interests include international organizations, development, global health, and the role of language and narratives in public policy. Most recently, she completed an MA in International Studies where her research focused on exploring international cooperation during global health crises. Prama enjoys creating art inspired by nature and landscapes.
Laura Hergott

Healthy By Nature Program Assistant

Laura Hergott is the Healthy By Nature Program Assistant for the BC Parks Foundation, and manages the day to day operations and administration of the PaRx program. With a background in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Laura was drawn to PaRx by the evidence-based research backing nature prescriptions. In science, Laura was passionate about making cutting-edge research more accessible to the public. Now, she brings that passion to the BC Parks Foundation, hoping to make nature more accessible for others. In her spare time, Laura enjoys rock climbing in Squamish and hiking with her dog on the North Shore.

Matt Waraich

Technical Product Manager

Matt Waraich is the Head of Technical Product Development for the BC Parks Foundation and is leading the development of the Discover Parks and PaRx mobile applications. Matt has a background in tech and startups with a focus on software engineering. Previous to Matt joining the BC Parks Foundation team, he successfully launched his sports based startup, Treno, into the Android/Apple App Store. Matt’s passion for tech and the outdoors has led him to participate in the creation of these innovative applications.

Partners and Endorsers

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Is PaRx available in my province or territory?

PaRx has officially launched in every province across Canada. Stay tuned for upcoming launches in the North.

Does PaRx have any volunteer or job opportunities available?

Please keep an eye out on the BC Parks Foundation's website for volunteer or career opportunities with PaRx.

I work with a major health or nature organization. How can I partner with PaRx?

Please get in touch via our Contact page or send us an email us at parx@bcparksfoundation.ca to explore a possible partnership.

Patients

How do I join the PaRx program?

In order to participate in our program, patients must receive a nature prescription from a registered PaRx prescriber enrolled in our program. If your healthcare provider is not registered with us, consider telling them about PaRx during your next regularly scheduled appointment.

I don’t have a family doctor. How can I receive a PaRx prescription?

Note that any regulated health professional in any province in Canada can prescribe nature through our program. This includes family doctors working in regular practices or walk-in clinics, other physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and more.

Is my healthcare provider registered in this program? Can I access a list of PaRx prescribers in my area?

Unfortunately we are unable to share lists of prescribers or connect patients to prescribers in our program due to privacy reasons.

I received a PaRx prescription from my doctor. What do I do next?

To enrol in our program and be entered into our monthly prize draw, click the Log Your PaRx button on our website and fill out the online form using your healthcare provider’s PaRx code and your own email address. If you have been prescribed a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, be sure to check the “I was prescribed a Parks Canada Discovery Pass” box.

How can I receive a Parks Canada Discovery Pass?

Licensed healthcare professionals registered in the PaRx program may prescribe Parks Canada Discovery Passes to patients they feel will benefit most from them during the course of regular medical appointments scheduled for pre-existing health conditions. Please do not book an appointment with a primary care provider solely to request a prescription for a pass, as this is not a visit that would be covered under provincial health insurance. Note that passes are prioritized for adults who live close to Parks Canada administered sites—youth 17 and under enjoy free access—and also for those for whom the cost of a pass would be a significant barrier to nature access.

I don’t live near a Parks Canada administered location. Where else can I use my PaRx prescription?

PaRx is on a mission to connect people to nature across Canada, no matter where they live. In addition to the positive health effects of spending time in nature you’ll enjoy with a PaRx prescription, we’re also collaborating with other nature-based organizations to offer free admission, discounts and other benefits to reduce their barriers to nature access. Find a list of PaRx Partner Offers by region here.

I logged my PaRx prescription a while ago and haven’t heard anything. What do I do now?

First, please check your Spam or Junk folder in case an email from us has ended up there. If you’ve logged a PaRx prescription that includes a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, review our step-by-step guide to ensure you haven’t missed any steps. Lastly, you can Contact Us via our website to check on the status of your prescription.

Prescribers

Who can register to become a prescriber? Is my health profession regulated?

Any healthcare professional governed by a regulatory body or college in Canada can choose to register to become a PaRx prescriber. This varies between provinces and territories. Please check with your healthcare association to determine if your health profession is currently regulated in your jurisdiction.

How do I prescribe a Parks Canada Discovery Pass to my patient?

Prescribers can prescribe 1 Parks Canada Discovery Pass per month, which gives patients unlimited access to over 80 national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas for a year. Please prioritize patients who live close to Parks Canada administered sites, and for whom the cost of a pass would be a barrier to nature access. Note that youth 17 and under enjoy free access to Parks Canada administered locations. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to prescribe a Parks Canada Discovery Pass here.

I’ve already prescribed one Parks Canada Discovery Pass this month. What other benefits do patients receive with a general PaRx prescription?

PaRx is on a mission to connect people to nature across Canada, no matter where they live. In addition to the positive health effects of spending time in nature patients enjoy with a PaRx prescription, we’re also collaborating with other nature-based organizations to offer free admission, discounts and other benefits to reduce their barriers to nature access. Find a list of PaRx Partner Offers by region here.
Please note that although you can only prescribe one Parks Canada Discovery Pass per month, general PaRx prescriptions are unlimited.

Parks Canada Discovery Passes

Where can I use my Discovery Pass?

The Parks Canada Discovery Pass gives you unlimited access to over 80 national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas for a year. Click here for a list of these locations in your region. For more information about the Discovery Pass, please visit: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/admission.

What should I do once I’ve received my Discovery Pass?

First, sign your Discovery Pass immediately so the pass is valid. When you enter a Parks Canada administered site, the Discovery Pass should be hung from the rear-view mirror of the vehicle with the date facing forward, or it can be placed on the front driver side dashboard with the date facing up. If you are motorcycling or bicycling through a national park, you must produce your pass at the gate or upon request by a Parks Canada team member. The Discovery Pass must also be presented in person at the admission kiosk of a national historic site.
The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on hours of operation, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available. Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the website before they travel.

Can you send or email me a digital Discovery Pass?

The Parks Canada Discovery Pass is a physical pass that we mail to you, so we are unable to provide a digital copy of it. A physical pass needs to be shown at the gate or upon request by a Parks Canada team member.

Can I upgrade my Adult Parks Canada Discovery Pass to a Family/Group Pass?

As part of our partnering agreement with Parks Canada, PaRx prescribers can prescribe one Adult Parks Canada Discovery Pass per month, not a Family/Group pass. Note that youth 17 and under enjoy free access to Parks Canada administered locations.

Can you answer my question about a Parks Canada administered site?

For questions about visits to Parks Canada administered places, please consult the website of the specific place you are planning to visit. The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on hours of operation, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available. Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the website before they travel.

Acknowledgments


PaRx is grateful to UBC medical students Jennifer Brazeau, Mitchell Figura, Ola Lemanowicz, Peter Singh and Xuan Zhao for their work to create evidence-based resources for PaRx, science educator Jennie McCaffrey for her valuable contributions, and Emma Griggs for her work as web developer.

We also acknowledge Nature and Forest Therapy of Canada, whose members have generously volunteered their time to connect health professionals across Canada to nature to improve their health and well-being.

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Want to learn even more about the role parks play in our health?Take a look.

Why Nature

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