Why Doctors Are Prescribing Nature Walks

In early April 2022, about two dozen children and their families gathered beneath the redwoods in a regional park near Oakland, Calif. They sat with a physician, Dr. Nooshin Razani, beneath the branches of the ancient giants, breathing the fresh air and discussing the phenomenon of fairy rings—when a mama tree is cut down, the baby trees grow up in a circle surrounding the stump of the parent tree.

These families are taking part in a program Razani runs at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. (Marc and Lynne Benioff, who are philanthropic supporters of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, are co-chairs and co-owners of TIME.) The program, called the Center for Nature and Health, takes pediatric patients who are dealing with conditions like anxiety, autism, obesity, or developmental issues—and who live in areas without much nature nearby—into local parks on excursions with park staff each month. Read more.