Dr. Keith Tidball’s current project to understand how and why nature and participating in outdoor activities helps war veterans make a smooth return back home is well underway. This past Thursday, Tidball held his first two-hour forum with war veterans at the Carthage American Legion in the Fort Drum area where he introduced his research goals to the volunteers as well as connected on a personal level with them and their stories. Tidball also had the volunteer veterans create collages of how they felt nature was helping returning soldiers.
The first year of the program is concentrating on acquiring foundational information and general ideas for the project, the second year will involve personal interaction, and the third year will be mostly analysis and making conclusions. Tidball has hopes to make his research available for the U.S. Department of Defense in about 3-5 years.
The project originated from a three-year Military Families Civic Ecology program where Tidball studied the benefits of family and community interaction with nature, where he found that soldiers, especially, were benefiting.
Tidball explains that soldiers “are a national treasure just like parks and wildlife … and we need to think of how they overlap for the well-being of the national treasures themselves.”