Forest Bathing: Recycle and Save a Tree for Your Daily Forest Walk

by Cindy Pantea

America Recycles Day Poster Winner

America Recycles Day first place poster.

You may think this is another Keep Akron Beautiful post about recycling to save the environment, but it isn’t – well…not exactly. It is actually about you, the environment and your well-being. It is about a project that is studying how trees, flowers and overall nature can really be beneficial to you healthwise, especially when it comes to reducing stress.

The project, by the Forestry Agency in Japan, funded by their government since 2004, is proving that shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is lowering blood pressure, reducing cortisol (the stress hormone), decreasing heart rate, lowering sympathetic nerve activity, and hopefully eliminating, karoshi — death by overwork.

What is shinrin-yoku?

Shinrin-yoku is similar to aromatherapy, yoga and/or meditation and is inspired by Shinto and Buddhist practices. It involves taking in nature through all your five senses and breathing in nature’s essential oils.

Sixty-seven percent of Japan’s landmass is covered by forest, and right now 48 official Forest Therapy trails are designated for the Forestry Agency and their rangers to collect data from visitors, like blood pressure, heart rate, etc., for the shinrin-yoku project. It is their goal to have 100 of these sites within the next 10 years.

Their data of 600 research subjects is proving that compared to urban walks, the visitors/research subjects of their Forest Therapy trails have shown a:

  • 12.4 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol
  • 7% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity
  • 1.4% decrease in blood pressure
  • 5.8 percent decrease in heart rate

On subjective tests, study participants also report better moods and lower anxiety.

Of course, now I have to say it: All the more reason to recycle paper and save the trees ;-).

Keep Akron Beautiful is for Quality of Life

downtown Keep Akron Beautiful flowerscape

Downtown Akron Keep Akron Beautiful flowerscape.

At Keep Akron Beautiful, our mission is: Improving Akron’s quality of life through beautification and responsbile environmental management. We hope that our beautiful Flowerscapes do their part to lower your stress and improve your quality of life, but don’t forget to take time to get away from town, too, and do a little forest bathing.

Thank you to America in Bloom whose article on the subject first caught my attention. Click the link below for the originating article: http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/wellness/Take-Two-Hours-of-Pine-Forest-and-Call-Me-in-the-Morning.html?page=1

 

 

How to Make Your Own Paper

by Cindy Pantea

If you read Jacqui’s blog post on America Recycles Day about her visit to Case Elementary School in Akron, you learned that the students from Case made their own paper. Making your own paper is a fun activity and a great way to recycle on your own! Here is how the kids at Case made their own paper:

First, the students tore the paper in strips. They used newspaper, but you can use any type of old paper (used notebook paper, used typing paper, used envelopes).

Recycling: How to make paper - shred

Next, the students made pulp with small shreds of paper and some water. While some may use a mortar and pestle, these students used a blender and fed the paper in the top as it was whir-r-rling away!

Recycling: How to make paper - blend to make pulp

Then, the students poured the pulp over a framed screen that was in a pan of water.

Recycling: How to make paper - pour pulp on screen

Next, the students carefully lifted the screen out of the pan of water to let it air dry.

Recycling: How to make paper - lift screen of pulp

Finally, after the paper dried, the students carefully peeled the dried paper from the screen and voila…

Recycling: How to make paper - voila

THEY MADE PAPER!!!! And, you can too!

Want to learn more about the projects of Keep Akron Beautiful. Visit http://www.keepakronbeautiful.org/ and sign up for our free newsletter!

 

 

Happy America Recycles Day: Celebrating Recycling TODAY and EVERYDAY

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

What a wonderful day to celebrate recycling! Today, I was able to see the reasons why Keep Akron Beautiful puts the Recycle-Bowl and America Recycles Day programs together for all of the students across the City of Akron! I visited Mr. Craig Sampsell’s class at Case Elementary School to take photos of their paper-making activity and their “Green Team” paper pickup. I also learned all the reasons why they LOVE RECYCLING! Make sure to check out the gallery below to see all the pictures of the students in Mr. Sampsell’s class making paper and recycling! Happy America Recycles Day to all! We hope you have taken the pledge to recycle MORE!

Happy America Recycles Day from Keep Akron Beautiful!

By Helen Dauka, KAB Intern from The University of Akron

While Jacqui is out taking pictures this morning at the Akron schools who participated in the Recycle-Bowl competition, let me tell you how it went. During the competition, 47,600 pounds of paper was recycled. What a great way to celebrate America Recycles Day!

Thank you to all the students, teachers and community members who participated in the Recycle-Bowl Competition!

Email friends to remind them to recycle on America Recycles DayHere are Tips to Help You Celebrate America Recycles Day

  • Send an email: Remind friends, family, coworkers, employees or customers about America Recycles Day with an email! Encourage them to recycle more or recycle things they don’t usually.
  • Kick  off a season of recycling: According to the Clean Air Council, an extra million tons of waste is generated each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This holiday season, don’t just give, recycle too! Spread this message using tools like social media. Just like giving, the spirit of recycling shouldn’t just happen on America Recycles Day, but all year! And, speaking of the holiday season…
  • Buy eco-friendly wrapping paper!: Black Friday is right around the corner! Another way to go green for the holidays is to wrap your gifts in eco-friendly recycled paper with soy based inks, biodegradable twine, masking tape made of rice paper, cotton gift bags etc. So many ways to go green for the holidays (and super cute too)! Check out some of these products found at Oprah.com.

Image courtesy of watcharakun / FreeDigitalPhotos.net