Welcoming Pride in Our Natural Spaces

By Christi Leeson

June is Pride Month – an opportunity to honor and support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) people in our community. This month and every month, DelNature welcomes members of the LGBTQIA+ community to enjoy our preserves and emphasizes that our outdoor spaces are for everyone.

Experience Nature’s Healing

The lush beauty of nature heals us all. It is a place for inspiration, connection, and quiet. Being out in nature benefits mental and physical health.

Those suffering discrimination, the LGBTQIA+ community included, can benefit greatly from nature’s healing qualities. Today, many in the LGBTQIA+ community are feeling less safe in some physical and virtual public spaces, making it even more important to have welcoming outdoor spaces and activities.

LGBTQIA+ populations experience higher depression and anxiety and have a higher risk of suicide.

LGBTQIA Mental Health chart American Psychiatric Association 2020
LGBTQ Mental Health by Mass. Dept of Public Health
LGBTQIA+ Risk of Suicide Chart by American Psychiatric Association
LGBTQ Risk of Suicide by American Psychiatric Association

Several studies have found that being out into nature improves several measures of heart function and blood pressure, as well as reducing the scores of negative mood states such as tension, anger, fatigue and depression. Being out in the woods has many positive effects on health, partly because forests have higher levels of oxygen than urban environments but also because some plants contain beneficial chemicals called phytoncides.

Inclusivity in Nature

Pride Month is an ideal opportunity to ensure that outdoor activities like kayaking sparkling rivers and hiking lush forests remain a sanctuary for all LGBTQIA+ people. Many of these activities are available at our locations, either as part of scheduled programs or at your own convenience.

At DelNature we support the LGBTQIA+ community by:

  • Welcoming: Ensuring that LGBTQIA+ people know they are welcome at our locations and programs.
  • Encouraging: Fostering a sense of belonging and encouraging LGBTQIA+ people to get outside in nature.
  • Raising Awareness: Raising awareness about the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in outdoor spaces.

Through these actions, we encourage equal access to nature, and aim to reduce discrimination, exclusion, and safety concerns when it comes to experiencing nature.

Join DelNature in helping LGBTQIA+ people in our community feel welcome and safe while enjoying the healing and inspirational benefits of nature, for Pride month and throughout the year.