Stewardship: good and good for you!

Macauly_2We’re just about a month away from the longest day of the year. While the calendar says summer is still a few weeks away, the woods don’t seem to know or care. The greenery is out full force here in southeast Michigan, and with it comes a host of challenges when it comes to working in the woods: mosquitoes, ticks, and poison ivy – oh my!

However, that’s not to say that the negative outweighs the positive. We often talk about how your work pulling garlic mustard is good for the health of native ecosystems, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Getting out in nature and doing this kind of work is good for you and your family, too.

Here are some examples:

-Improved scores on standardized tests in children (1)
-Improved distance vision in children (1)
-Increased Vitamin D production, which helps prevent bone problems, heart disease, cancer, and more (2)
-Increased physical activity and decreased risk of obesity (2)
-Decreased pain and faster recovery (2)
-Increased production of serotonin and decreased stress and anxiety (3)

It makes me want to go for a walk in the woods just reading that list! Before you head out the door, though, make sure you know how to mitigate your risk for coming home with itchy bites and rashes, or worse. Check out the links below for more information on how to identify poison ivy and ticks, and how to reduce your risks for tick and mosquito bites and the illnesses that may come with them.

Identifying Poison Ivy isn’t always easy to do:
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/identifying_poison_ivy_isnt_always_easy_to_do

Tick season is getting under way:
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/tick_season_is_getting_under_way

Prevention & Control (West Nile virus):
http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html

Thanks for reading, and here’s to your health!

References:
(1)http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Kids-and-Nature/Why-Get-Kids-Outside/Health-Benefits.aspx
(2)http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco
(3)http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/raw-data-is-dirt-the-new-prozac

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