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Green Nature


free for all

only available to some

"No community should be saddled with more environmental burdens and less environmental benefits than any other."

Majora Carter, founder, Sustainable South Bronx

"It’s not just pollution. Communities of color don’t get a fair share of the good stuff – parks, green spaces, nature trails, good schools, farmers markets, good stores."

Robert Bullard, organizer, National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit

signs of nature deficit disorder





These symptoms are more extreme in children whose neighborhoods lack safe naturespaces.

" All people want is a safe, open space to breathe."

Proof? Woo, crunchy granola.

Don't get me wrong.  I actually do like to make a good granola. But I don't like the way that every time a person starts to consider self-care for better health, the lines between truth and hype blur.

There you are, surfing for solutions, and suddenly everything you see points to something that is admittedly amazing, tied to someone's trending famed documentary, and you're moving down the road toward a major purchase.

Then after the money's spent, it's not really that monumental of a solution. Life's too short. Who has time to re-live that cycle every new-years and swimsuit season? Not I! And how much money could we save by being happy with more available free solutions?

I wanted to find down-to-earth solutions that don't pander to hype and sensationalism. So I turned toward shared research-backed shared work. And I took notes (below). It turns out the best things in life really are free. (Well, I guess you'd have to pay for the books...)

Go ahead. Dig in. You're worth it.

Dinner Outside

the books


Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative

By Florence Williams; Published by W. W. Norton & Co. in 2017; ISBN 978-168-16-8397-3

"This book explores the science of what poets and philosophers have known for eons: place matters." Ms. Williams' work sets up an explanation of why our brains and our bodies need nature.



Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature

By J. Drew Lanham; Published by Milkweed Editions in 2016; ISBN 978-157-13-1350-8

If you ever wondered about the rationale behind a person-of-color's fears about going into nature, read this first-hand account of a bird researcher as he is forced to decide between survival and professional duty in rural America.



and Preventive Medicine

By Juyoung Lee, Qing Li, Liisa Tyrväinen, Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park, Takahide Kagawa and Yoshifumi Miyazaki

Published by InTech in 2012; eISBN 978-953-51-0620-3

A quote from this book sums up the benefits of this research for us: "Although we are now living in a society characterized by urbanization and artificialization, our physiological functions are still adapted to to nature."

Nature Therapy and Preventive Medicine.j

the news


Three African American hikers describe fears and stereotypes they have faced – and why they love hitting the trails.

Visitors to our 4-acre urban forest in Kansas City tell us similar accounts of their internal arguments for and against going into the woods. Remembrances of lynchings and unexplained disappearances less than a century ago in KC transform into hope for a path forward, only after safe reacquaintance with nature.


green cities = good health

Trees, parks, gardens, and natural areas enhance quality of life in cities and towns. The experience of nature improves human health and well-being in many ways. Nearly 40 years of scientific studies tell us how.

The U.S. Forest Service weighs in on the effects of nature deprivation on low-income residents of urban areas. Many community features that would counteract nature deprivation are seen as amenities signaling affluence, due to their cost.

naturespace = humanity
Vibrant Cities Lab helps people connect with the "why" behind urban forests, and the "how" of planning and implementation.

Vibrant Cities Lab helps people connect with the "why" behind urban forests, and the "how" of planning and implementation.

our ongoing explorations

get involved, your way

There are lots of choices if you feel compelled to help with this cause.  Thank you for your caring.


build healing places

We offer two site-based solutions for better life in East KC: safe, walkable, clean forests, and organic heirloom food at school demonstration gardens.

grow food at home
harvested vegetables on wood table - Photo Credit: Dan-Cristian Pădureț via Unsplash

The Neighbor Grown Food Network gives seeds and growing info to families in need. By joining, you'll get access to all the home gardening materials too.

show up in nature
couple relaxing in a forest on a hammock strung over a creek - Photo Credit: Spring Fed Images via Unsplash

Nature immersion brings a balanced state of mind and better immune system. Explore the best spots that Kansas City has to offer, and don't forget to share!

"Thank you for being the difference between thought and thoughtful action." 

– Joy Ellsworth, co-founder
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