June 2016 – CONROE, Texas – The Lone Star Family Health Center has awarded Texas A&M Forest Service Urban District Forester John Warner an annual community award recognizing his advocacy of children in nature. 

    Warner received the 2016 Joseph Ewing, MD Award for his service to the underserved populations of Montgomery County and for his help creating a Nature Explore Classroom at the facility.

    Lone Star Family Health Center health care providers actively prescribe nature prescriptions for clients to get outside and experience nature. The center also is the first health care facility in the nation to host a Nature Explore Classroom – a space that promotes the connection between nature and health.

    “The concept of outdoor classrooms stems from a great deal of research looking at the role that the natural world plays in our health and happiness,” said LSFHC Medical Director, Dr. Daniel Porter, “Often, the current generation of kids is not experiencing the benefits of being outside. This classroom is meant to get kids and their parents to start exploring the natural world.” 

    Research shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. This research is supported by author Richard Louv in his book, The Last Child in the Woods

    Louv cites that “proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings” support creativity and problem solving; enhance cognitive abilities; improve academic performance, nutrition, social relations and self-discipline; increase physical activity; and reduce stress and symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in children. 

    “John Warner has been a superstar to our organization and to the community,” said Porter. “…linking our children to the outdoor world is becoming more and more important.  John understands this and has shown his commitment to trying to change things.”

    Warner has been with Texas A&M Forest Service for 27 years – having spent the last 14 in the Conroe office. It is in this community that Warner helps provide education and fosters environmental literacy focused on forestry as a sustainable, scientific solution to today’s issues and concerns – including that of children’s health.

    The Lone Star Family Health Center Nature Explore outdoor classroom was made possible by the National Environmental Educational Foundation in collaboration with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Arbor Day Foundation, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, Texas A&M Forest Service and other community partners.

    For learn more, please visit The Lone Star Family Health Center http://www.lonestarfamily.org/, Nature Explore http://www.natureexplore.org/, and Texas Children in Nature http://texaschildreninnature.org/.




    Caption: (left to right) Dr. Daniel Porter, Medical Director, Dr. Stephen McKernan, CEO, John Warner, Urban District Forester & Community Outreach and Marilyn Kasmiersky, Director of Professional and Government Relations.

    Linda Moon, Communications Manager, 979-458-6614, lmoon@tfs.tamu.edu