Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation Advocates for the Power of Quiet in Nature

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CAMP HILL, PA — Quietude might be more beneficial than many Pennsylvanians realize. The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF) has embarked on a mission to educate the public about the health benefits of silence and serenity in nature.

In a recently released video titled “The Role of Quiet,” the organization explores the science behind how various sounds affect us, from the chatter of wildlife and human voices to the hum of phones and vehicles. The video also delves into the positive impact of silence on our mental health, offering tips on how to make the most of quiet moments in nature.

Peter Newman, the Martin Professor and Head of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University, discusses his research findings in the video. His studies have analyzed the effects of different sounds on individuals, encompassing noises made by people, wildlife, and the everyday bustle of life such as phones, vehicles, and agriculture.

Joshua Smyth, Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University, emphasizes the importance of seeking relaxation and recovery from stress. “If [being exposed to stress] happens too frequently or for too long, we can start to become exhausted. Moments in nature, serenity, calm — all those things shift us back towards relaxation and restoration,” he explains.

Fortunately for Pennsylvanians, there are ample opportunities to reap the benefits of tranquility in nature. The state boasts 124 parks and 2.2 million acres of public land spread across 20 forest districts. Seth Cassell, Director of the Bureau of Forestry for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, suggests that some of the best places in Pennsylvania to enjoy quiet areas are in our state forest systems. Cassell recalls experiencing profound silence during a youthful exploration of the Tiadaghton State Forest with his father, a moment so quiet he felt he could hear the passage of time.

The video also provides guidance on how individuals can contribute to reducing noise pollution in these natural spaces, enhancing the experience for all visitors.

For those interested in learning more about the role of quiet in nature, the video is available on PPFF’s YouTube channel. The foundation also offers free weekly updates on the outdoors and health, inclusive outdoor activities, conservation efforts, and volunteering opportunities. To support the mission of the PPFF, visit PAParksAndForests.org.

Embracing the power of quiet in the great outdoors can provide much-needed stress relief and restoration, and Pennsylvania’s vast natural resources offer an ideal setting for such rejuvenation.

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