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  • Field Notes | Capital Area Master Naturalists | Page 2
    area creeks Here s a photo captured recently on Bear Creek by Kevin Thuesen program manager for Austin Water Utility s Water Quality Protection Land preserves Bear Creek passes through a property I have visited a lot and have found as dry as a bone many times particularly in the last few years Good to be reminded of the intrinsic beauty of a landscape where water flows even if it is the middle of winter Nothing like wild places and clear water A photo posted by Kevin Thuesen ktzen on Dec 30 2014 at 12 47pm PST Share this Facebook Twitter Email Like this Like Loading Field Notes Training Integrating Nature into the City with ImagineAustin January 7 2015 Caroline Imagine Austin is a 30 year plan established by the City of Austin aiming to help Austin grow in a compact and connected way In order to involve the community in this effort the ImagineAustin Speaker Series was born Every few months a collection of speakers from all over the country join one another to discuss quality of life issues pertinent to our favorite city A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an ImagineAustin Speaker Series on Integrating Nature into the City The night s first speaker Dr Ming Kuo is Director of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign She presented very convincing evidence for the prevalence of the not quite medically diagnosable but well documented Nature Deficit Disorder Her assertion was this studies show that without nature people display all the symptoms that any animal does when it is living in an unfit environment this includes social breakdown psychological breakdown and physical breakdown She gave us a broad taste of the science that shows that the presence of nature in people s lives improves focus generosity friendliness feelings of well being and peace of mind while it lowers the likelihood that people will litter behave violently and report feeling isolated Even as a fairly new field of study in the last thirty years the effects of nature on human health that have been shown are robust Luckily for those in charge of keeping our communities happy and healthy Dr Ming noted that it is not only hiking through forests and mountains that have this effect on us Small green spaces neighborhood parks and even pictures of natural scenes improve our health and happiness So frame a picture of your favorite outdoor space and place it somewhere that will lift your spirits Patrick Murphy who recently served as the City of Austin s Environmental Officer and was Assistant Director of the Watershed Protection Department spoke next He gave the audience a feel for the unique treasures and challenges of Austin s natural spaces He told us that in the city of Austin there are 65 creeks 885 000 people and a longstanding record of ground breaking environmental decisions Austin was the first city in the U S to protect

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