A Marine Corps veteran named Sean Gobin was inspired to launch a charity called Warrior Expeditions following several deployments from Iraq and Afghanistan. He hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, which gave him peace and allowed him to heal.
The organization sends thirty to forty veterans per year on nature excursions lasting for months to help them overcome their trauma. They provide all the necessary gear and supplies at no cost to the veterans. In addition to meditating and sleeping outdoors, Warrior Expeditions recently incorporated biking, paddling, and hiking into one of their excursions.
In 2020, U.S. Army veteran Mitch Vasquez founded a nonprofit called Heroes’ Harvests, which has veterans participate in outdoor activities, like fishing and hunting trips.
Although there is no shortage of evidence on how spending time in nature has positive impacts, researchers have not yet been able to pinpoint how long the effects can last or why exactly outdoor activity is beneficial.
However, it cannot be denied that many veterans have reported seeing improvements, such as lower stress levels, better home life, and less dependence on substances.
Hopefully, as awareness of the benefits of nature continues to grow, outdoor recreational therapy will become more widely available for veterans and people of all backgrounds.
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