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Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012

National Park Service director will discuss parks' role in public health in lecture at IU Bloomington

April 19, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, will discuss "National Parks and the Outdoors' Role in Public Health," delivered as the annual Carlson Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the Mobley Auditorium at the Indiana University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in Bloomington.

Jonathan B. Jarvis

Jonathan B. Jarvis

Print-Quality Photo

With a career that includes leading the agency that preserves and manages nearly 400 national parks, monuments, battlefields, recreation areas and other units that are among the nation's most treasured landscapes and cultural icons, Jarvis knows a thing or two about "the great outdoors."

Seeing and talking to the stream of people who visit the National Park Service sites yearly has provided him with unique insights into the important role our national parks and other recreational opportunities play in the life and health of Americans.

"There is a growing body of evidence within the parks community, and even starting in the medical community, that the outdoors are good for you in a variety of ways," Jarvis said. "Whether you are talking about obesity or heart disease or cancer or depression, we are really looking to connect the role that we play in national parks and in the parks community with the health community."

A national movement to promote access to nature as a way to improve health is gaining momentum. Nationally, parks of varying sizes are developing programs with the public health community to highlight the unique role parks play in promoting good health. Under Jarvis' leadership, the National Park Service helps drive health and wellness initiatives in the nation's local, state and national parks through the recently unveiled program, Healthy Parks Healthy People U.S.

The Carlson Lecture is sponsored by the School of HPER's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in honor of environmentalist Reynold E. Carlson, who supervised the development of Indiana University's leadership in outdoor recreation education in the 1970s, helped found the National Association for Interpretation, and established the School of HPER's Bradford Woods Outdoor Education Center. A beloved figure at Indiana University and a dynamic leader in the areas of outdoor recreation/education, conservation and organized camping, perhaps no one else has so significantly touched the lives of IU faculty, staff and students in the field of parks and recreation during his era.

About the School of HPER

IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation encompasses a broad spectrum of academic interests and professional fields. The School of HPER offers nearly 50 undergraduate and advanced degree programs through its departments of Applied Health Science, Kinesiology, Environmental Health, and Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. To further its health and wellness initiative, Campus Recreational Sports provides sport and fitness services for the IU community and the public.

For more information about the Carlson Lecture, contact Charles Rondot, director of marketing and communications for the School of HPER, at 812-855-1354 or