Dean’s Scholar Lecture Series

Donald RakowDonald Rakow, Ph.D., will present “Nature Heals: Connecting with Nature to Improve College Student Health,” on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. in HPNP Complex room G101 as part of the PHHP Dean’s Scholar Lecture Series. The talk is also available to view via livestream at

In this presentation, Rakow will first address the growing mental health crisis on American campuses, and will then explore the science behind the mental health benefits of spending more time in nature, specifically the ways in which such time improves concentration and reduces stress. He will outline the simple steps that can be taken to start a Nature Rx program in a higher education environment. Nature Rx programs, which are focused on encouraging students to spend more time exploring outdoors, can be a significant component of a comprehensive wellness program.

Rakow is an associate professor in the Section of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. He served as the executive director of Cornell Plantations (now Cornell Botanic Gardens) from 1996 to 2013. He is the co-author of “Public Garden Management” and the upcoming “Public Gardens and Community Revitalization.” Rakow conducts research and writes on the human benefits of time in nature and directs the Nature Rx@Cornell program.

Rakow’s lecture is hosted by the office of the dean and the department of environmental and global health. A reception will follow in HPNP complex room G103.