Nature Prescriptions in the San Luis Valley


The SLV GO Health & Wellness division is in year three of a generous three-year grant cycle with the Colorado Health Foundation. As we enter the 2024 year we will begin applying for previously identified grants that may provide funding to continue the Nature Prescribed work further. The SLV GO Health & Wellness Coordinator, Esteban Salazar has been pivotal in ongoing lobbying of our four major Healthcare system partners in an effort to reach both Primary Care Providers, Therapists and healthcare system Administrators. We still have lots of work to do but we hope to have a staff member from Park Rx America fly in and host a real time in person training on Nature Prescription text message reminders to be used with PCP’s developing a care plan for patients/clients that are committing to a Nature Prescription. Click here for more information.



SLV GO’s Health & Wellness division has supported the development of Posters, Tri-folds, Nature Prescription pads and a series of hole punches at parks in trails to incentivize participation in the Nature Prescription commitment. The posters we have developed and printed will be on display in exam rooms, Dr.’s offices, public waiting areas and in therapists' offices. We hope these marketing and outreach strategies will yield positive results and encourage a culture of Health & Wellness from both the public facing health care provider side but also the intended audience which is the general public. 

As interest and participation grows, we plan on scheduling more regularly occurring public group walks, group bike rides and hikes. For winter 2024 a group of older adults in Alamosa are meeting weekly on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 at the East Adams State University Campus (Evans Elementary school building). Additionally, the city of Monte Vista and the Outcalt Event & Conference At SLV Ski Hi Complex has a winter venue for walking Monday & Wednesdays from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. and from 5:00 to 7:00 also on Wednesdays beginning in January 2024. SLV GO is hosting a series of Family Friendly Ice Fishing Socials beginning January 6th at Mountain Home Reservoir and January 20th at Smith Reservoir. The Ice Fishing Socials are intended to provide a low pressure and low risk opportunity for individuals and families to try Ice Fishing. We will provide loaner fishing poles, hot cocoa & coffee and a chance to learn the basics of Ice Fishing. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out about our February Ice Fishing offerings. People 16 and older are required to buy and carry a physical fishing license (or My CPW app accessible license) to fish or take fish.

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Our Health & Wellness program initiative called Nature Prescriptions is modeled after an existing Non-Profit that promotes outdoor activity as an evidenced based healthcare intervention to help create individual care plans to be proactive in addressing preventable disease like Diabetes and Heart disease in addition to a plethora of behavioral health challenges like anxiety and depression. Hundreds of scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of spending more time in nature for both children and adults. Have you ever thought about asking your healthcare provider for a nature prescription? Perhaps you've seen a commercial or an advertisement for a particular medicine? The same way you might ask your doctor about a particular medication or other medical treatment, we want you to feel comfortable and confident asking your doctor for a nature prescription.

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The SLV GO Health & Wellness program is bridging the gap between community wellness and works to address areas of community Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Our Embajadores (Outdoor Ambassadors) have attended and received Wilderness First Aid training (WFA) at Adams State University in a 3 day rigorous course filled with trauma response scenarios and realistic mock injuries and simulations. The training was hosted by our very own enthusiastic and encouraging board member Curt Howell. The Embajadores have organized and facilitated  approximately 80 individual public outreach events and public programming commitments including weekly trail mountain bike rides, group walks with Alamosa and Monte Vista older adult residents, culturally and historically themed hikes and a series of resounding successful community meetings in Alamosa.

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We have observed stellar growth and emerging leadership shine through our Embajdores team in 2023 and we are excited to dive into 2024. The SLV GO team of outdoor ambassadors/Embajadores have been instrumental in the development and implementation of our wellness public programs and in our Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion community outreach strategies. We are excited to note a collaboration with an environmental and social justice non-profit from the Denver area in 2024 we will conduct a community listening project under the banner “Cultivando Querencia” or Growing Belonging, this is an effort to seek community members stories of their love for the earth and place. The Embajadores are the programmers that help schedule, promote and facilitate our regularly occurring public outdoor programs including group walks, mountain bike rides and hiking opportunities.

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Blog Written By: Esteban Salazar, Team Member at San Luis Valley Great Outdoors 

Photo Credit: SLV GO



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