Note from the Park Manager
By Karen Shefield
I was recently talking with a visitor who regularly visited Huntley Meadows Park when her children were young. She commented that this was the first visit after a long period of time but after her walk today, she wanted to find the time to return more often. This kind woman commented on regaining feelings of peace, connection, and revitalization. Perhaps you’re thinking it was you I was talking with. Maybe it was. Comments and conversations like these are becoming more common at Huntley. A greater number of people are realizing the benefits of visiting parks even after their children are grown.
In recent years studies show the benefits of spending time outdoors in nature. Numerous studies report that people can feel more energetic, may be able to decrease their heart rate and levels of cortisol, and may reduce stress, anxiety and depression by spending time in the natural environment.
I thank everyone for sharing their experiences at Huntley Meadows. I’d like to share some of the feedback received in 2017:
“This island of nature in a sea of development is a quiet treasure and a spot that will feed your soul.”
“Always good for a little walk/exercise, and a great place to clear your mind.”
“The Huntley Meadows [Park] is where you can safely do forest bathing or you can just be with other lovers of nature.”
Forest bathing is a relatively new concept in the U.S. It’s the practice of spending just a short time in nature, sitting or walking. It is believed forest bathing produces calming and rejuvenating effects as well as medical benefits. The practice focuses on mindfully breathing and gaining awareness of the sounds, sights and feeling of nature. The practice originated in Japan, and there are numerous studies and information regarding forest bathing on the internet.
For the most peaceful experience, I recommend visiting before 10am or after 1pm on weekdays.
Take a walk at Huntley. Reconnect. I hope your experience is a positive one.
Karen Sheffield, HMP Manager