Access to Nature Benefits & Barriers for Urban Youth

Main Article Content

Alyssa Polito
Gary Dick


Record ID: 64

Type: Poster Presentation (in-person)

Advisor: Gary Dick

Abstract: Urban youth face disproportionate barriers in their access to the outdoors and ability to connect with nature. There are a number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits of recreating outdoors that our society is disconnecting from as the United States continues to be technology driven and focused. The questions that drove this project were "What are the benefits of having access to nature for urban youth?" and "What are the barriers preventing youth from having access to outdoor spaces?" A survey was given to youth to understand what they viewed as the benefits and barriers of spending time outside, how often they spent time outdoors, and if they felt that they had a connection with the nature. Every single youth surveyed selected at least one benefit of spending time outdoors with zero youth selecting "I do not see any benefits of spending time outdoors." More than half of the youth felt that they had a connection with the outdoors and all but one youth noted at least one barrier to spending time outside. As social workers, our purpose is to help eliminate barriers for our clients and improve their quality of life. This project will help social workers in furthering their knowledge of environmental justice, understanding the disproportionate barriers their clients face in their access to nature, and why this connection is crucial on the micro, mezzo, and macro level.

Article Details

Category: Community & Cultural Connections
Author Biography

Alyssa Polito, University of Cincinnati

Major(s): Social Work