by Hedi Charde
On December 5, 2016, the CCHRC presented The Nature Connection with its Climate for Freedom Award at the annual Human Rights Breakfast at the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord. The award is given every two years in recognition of a local organization that fosters a climate of freedom in its work and mission. In its mission to “support the human spirit by offering and building connections between people and the natural world”, The Nature Connection serves at-risk youth, people with disabilities and the elderly who have little or no connection with nature.
Executive Director, Sophie Wadsworth, accepted the award on behalf of The Nature Connection. After showing a brief video about the work of the organization, Wadsworth explained that at The Nature Connection, “we believe everyone deserves access to nature. It is our birthright.” According to Wadsworth, nearly 80,000 people in Massachusetts wake up in facilities with limited or no access to nature. The Nature Connection’s work, then, is to bring nature and nature-assisted therapy to as many people as possible. She discussed nature’s unique capacity to teach and to heal, highlighting many wonderful stories. In one particularly poignant story, she told of a bird named “Tilty”, who could not fly but who could sing a beautiful song. Tilty accompanied volunteers to many site visits, and one girl took a special liking to the bird. After listening to Tilty sing her song and learning that she could not fly due to her crooked neck, the girl exclaimed, “I may have bipolar disorder, but I can still sing.” The girl had made a connection, helping her to better cope with her disorder.
For more information on The Nature Connection, visit www.nature-connection.org