New research supporting the idea that being outside in nature has many health benefits will be the focus of the 2018 DuPage Environmental Summit on Thursday, Jan. 25.

The summit will be 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Northern Illinois University-Naperville Meeting and Conference Center.

"Nature RX: How Spending Time in Nature is Good for Our Mind, Body, and Soul" is this year's summit theme. The topic will be explored with a variety of health and environmental professionals who will cite new studies supporting nature's benefits to the human spirit.

This free seminar is open to community leaders, conservation groups, health professionals, social service agencies, and anyone interested in learning more about how nature has a positive influence on mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Presented by The Conservation Foundation, the summit also will feature an environmental exhibit area that opens at 7:30 a.m. that visitors can explore while enjoying coffee, juice and light breakfast snacks.

The exhibit area will remain open during the entire program that starts promptly at 8:30 a.m.

Research continues to support the idea that spending time outside and even near a window during our busy lives can make us feel better.

The keynote speaker, Teresa H. Horton, Ph.D. from the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University, will talk about how exposure to natural landscapes has restorative effects on human health and overall well-being.

In addition to Dr. Horton, other speakers include:

• Jon Ashworth, MDiv, MA, LPC, I/ECMH-C, the health equity coordinator for the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center-Lake County, speaking on "Walking in Nature, The Story of an Equitability Expanding Initiative in Lake County";

• Kristen Esposito Brendel, Ph.D., LCSW, E-RYT, professor of social work at Aurora University and founder of Per La Vita Wellness LLC speaking on the implications of current research and applications of mindfulness in nature;

• Brenda Spitzer, certified forest therapy guide at the Morton Arboretum, speaking on how a technology-driven lifestyle needs nature for balance.

After these presentations, there will be a panel discussion on existing health and nature programs with Jodi Trendler of The Resiliency Institute; Brenda Spitzer of Morton Arboretum; and Dave Andrusyk and Keriann Dubina from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

A detailed agenda can be found online at under "Events."

Registration for this free event is suggested and can be made online at

The NIU Naperville Meeting and Conference Center is at 1120 E. Diehl Road, Suite 150, Naperville.

The Summit is sponsored by the DuPage Foundation, DuPage County/Cool DuPage, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, and Christopher B. Burke Engineering LLC.

The Conservation Foundation is one of the region's oldest and largest nonprofit land and watershed conservation organizations.

Since it was founded in 1972, the foundation has helped preserve nearly 33,000 acres of open space, restored and cleaned miles of rivers and streams, and educated thousands of kids by engaging them in nature and the outdoors.

Work is focused in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties to preserve and restore nature in your neighborhood. Find out more at