Nature Engagement to Foster Resilience in Military Communities

  • Marianne E. KrasnyEmail author
  • Katherine Hess Pace
  • Keith G. Tidball
  • Kenneth Helphand


Stress associated with overseas military service is a major concern for soldiers, their families, and communities. Whereas actual deployment is the most obvious disruption, pre-deployment (preparing to go overseas) and post-deployment (re-integration into family and community) also cause significant stress. Several authors have suggested that when considering interventions to ease military service related stress, it is critical to take into account not only the individual as a ‘client’ but also how military families are embedded in larger communities, and how interventions can build on existing informal and social networks and other community assets. Although largely absent from the research literature focusing on individual therapy and on community capacity in military communities, individual veterans, conservation organizations, and government agencies across the US and in the UK are initiating projects that connect returning soldiers to nature, through gardening, farming, job skills, hunting, fishing, retreat centers, camps, and outdoor adventure experiences. These initiatives are perhaps not surprising, given that extensive research from the fields of horticultural therapy and conservation psychology has demonstrated the positive outcomes of contact with nature for individual and community well-being and healing. In this chapter, we present a case for integrating nature-based and community capacity building interventions designed to foster resilience in military communities facing deployment.


Community capacity Military communities Nature-based therapy Veterans Community resilience 



The authors thank Bruce Lauber, Stephanie Graf, and Marcia Eames-Sheavly for critical review of an earlier version. We also thank Stephanie Graf for her role in implementing the Defiant Gardens program in Jefferson County New York, home of Fort Drum, as well as for her service as a veteran of the US Army. The Defiant Gardens program is supported by USDA Hatch and Smith-Lever Federal Formula Funds, and by Cornell University Cooperative Extension.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne E. Krasny
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine Hess Pace
    • 2
  • Keith G. Tidball
    • 1
  • Kenneth Helphand
    • 3
  1. 1.Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural ResourcesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.ISAIAHMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Landscape ArchitectureUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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