Natural environments are known to promote physical, mental, and spiritual healing. People can attain health benefits by spending time outside, often in remote places to “get away from it all.” Now research conducted by a University of Minnesota graduate student with a team in Vancouver, B.C., shows that green and “blue” spaces (environments with running or still water) are especially beneficial for healthy aging in seniors.
Published in the journal Health and Place, the study – Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults – demonstrates that by incorporating smaller features, such as a koi pond or a bench with a view of flowers, public health and urban development strategies can optimize nature as a health resource for older adults. Throughout the research, green and blue spaces promoted feelings of renewal, restoration, and spiritual connectedness. They also provided places for multi-generational social interactions and engagement, including planned activities with friends and families, and impromptu gatherings with neighbors.
“We zoomed in to everyday life for seniors between the ages of 65 and 86. We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health,” says Jessica Finlay, a former research assistant on the project and lead author of the paper. Finlay is now a doctoral candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota, where she continues to investigate influences of the built environment on health and well-being in later life. “Accessibility to everyday green and blue spaces encourages seniors to simply get out the door. This in turn motivates them to be active physically, spiritually and socially, which can offset chronic illness, disability and isolation.”
Read the full article at… University of Minnesota
By Kelsey Hering, MANKATO, June 13 — A cork bobbing in the water, a light breeze and only one lighthearted regret from passengers. Riedesel said, “Bad day for hats, I’ll say that.” But a little wind didn’t stop Ginny from being excited about Fairmont’s Let’s Go Fishing Program on Bud Lake.
By Janice Bitters, Star Tribune, June 9, 2015, NEW PRAGUE –Summer is the season when Minnesotans pull out their boats and dust off their fishing rods in preparation for cabin weather. But for some — especially seniors and people with disabilities — getting outdoors can be a challenge.
That’s where Minnesota-based nonprofit Let’s Go Fishing (LGF) comes in.
The organization offers free fishing and pontoon boat outings to seniors, veterans and disabled adults throughout the summer. Scott County has a new chapter this year, which kicked off its season June 1 at Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park in New Prague.
“All of us know of individuals that cannot get out like they used to, and it’s hard to really realize [what that’s like] that without talking to somebody,” said Joe Holm, founder of Let’s Go Fishing. “It’s like taking something very precious from somebody that you had your whole life.”
New Prague resident Larry Smith attended the Scott County chapter’s maiden voyage June 1, which was specifically for military veterans.
“I don’t fish at all, hardly,” he said. “My wife fishes, she’s a fishing fanatic.”
Joe Vaughan, a retired New Prague fire chief and honor guard member, sat next to Smith, arms crossed, smiling out at the lake and chatting with the group.
“I caught all my fish last night at Cub,” he joked.
Vaughan said he isn’t much of a fisherman, but he plans to come back for another pontoon ride this summer.
And that’s just fine by the organizers of Let’s Go Fishing.
“It’s really about what being on the water does for a person mentally and physically,” Holm said.
Congratulations to the Alexandria Chapter. They partnered with Alexandria Motors for the 2015 LGF season. They will be pulling their pontoons in style this summer with a 2015 Chevy Silverado. Enjoy and have a great season!
By Vicki Gerdes, Detroit Lakes Newspapers, April 22, DETROIT LAKES — There may still be some snow on the ground, but Let’s Go Fishing’s Detroit Lakes Area Chapter has nevertheless begun booking trips for the 2015 summer season.
“We’ve booked over 50 trips already,” said Dave Hochhalter, chapter treasurer and past president. “Last year we had 128 (total) trips, and this year our goal is 130.”
With just one pontoon, the total number of trips taken per season has “kind of stabilized,” Hochhalter added, noting that while some larger chapters have two (or more) pontoons, “We’ve decided to stay with one for now.” The reason, of course, is that the specialized type of pontoon needed for the Let’s Go Fishing excursions — handicap accessible, with added stability for better passenger safety — can be quite expensive.
Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes donates a boat slip to house the pontoon each season, while At Ease Dock & Lift contributes the boat lift at no cost as well.
Cenex also provides “most of the gas” for the organization’s boat excursions, and a variety of other businesses, individuals and community organizations contribute as well, Hochhalter noted. Of course, as the chapter is staffed entirely with volunteer labor, more volunteers are always needed, he added.
“Right now we have about 70-80 volunteers on our roster, but only about half of those are active,” Hochhalter said. A particular area of need is pontoon operators — “we call them captains,” Hochhalter said, as well as “first mates” to assist them with both fishing and scenic excursions.
“We can use all the help we can get, even if it’s only for a few trips here and there to ease up on our regulars,” he explained. LGF provides volunteer training for pontoon captains and first mates to ensure a safe and comfortable experience on the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon, Hochhalter said. The next training session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Library. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is requested.
Board members are also needed to help keep the organization running year-round, along with volunteers for the annual Walk for Let’s Go Fishing and other fundraising activities. With this summer’s calendar already filling up rapidly, area senior care facilities, veteran’s organizations, youth groups, and group homes are encouraged to begin pre-scheduling their fishing or scenic boating trips now, before availability becomes limited.
The online calendar is located at the LGF website, www.lgfws.com. To find information on the local chapter, go to LGF Chapters, click on active chapters, click on Detroit Lakes Area, and click on the calendar link, which will show the dates booked and those dates still available for booking.
Send trip requests by email to letsgofishingdl@ gmail.com (include the date and time requested). If you do not have email you can call trip scheduler Kris Tovson at 218-849-3914. The chapter will then respond with a yes or no as to whether the date and time is confirmed. Last summer, Let’s Go Fishing’s Detroit Lakes Are Chapter served 945 guests on 128 pontoon fishing and scenic trips.
“We expect to serve our 5,000th guest sometime this summer,” Hochhalter said.
With 27 chapters in Minnesota alone — and chapters in Wisconsin, Arizona, South Dakota and Colorado in their fledgling or formative stages — Let’s Go Fishing is a non-profit organization that’s all about serving people. It enriches people lives by providing on the water experiences for those they serve. These trips are provided at no cost due to the generous support from businesses, organizations, and individuals. For more information on volunteering or supporting Let’s Go Fishing please call Chapter President Tim Miller, 218-846-1444; Dave Hochhalter, 218-847-5670; or Kris Tovson, 218-849-3914… Read the full story at dl-online.com…
A strong volunteer base is the core strength of LGF. Volunteers contribute time and expertise to help create memories for program participants. All LGF volunteers are well-trained individuals who have a passion for fishing and boating and a caring heart for the people they serve. They have a desire to share the outdoor experience with others and to create a community that cares for all its citizens.
We believe in the power of volunteerism to positively impact the lives of others and transform communities. Giving back to others serves our guests and enriches the lives of those sharing their skills, experience and time. Find a chapter near you…