St. Johns Riverkeeper Asks People To Share Nature On Social Media To Cope With Isolation

Mar 24, 2020

The St. Johns Riverkeeper has launched a social media campaign to help Northeast Floridians cope with the coronavirus pandemic through nature.

In the first of a series of Facebook Live video updates on Tuesday, St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth said being out in nature has given him comfort during these difficult times.

In fact, scientific research shows that exposure to nature has health benefits: increasing physical and psychological well-being, reducing levels of depression and anxiety and improving mood.

"The river really, it can be a healing force for our community," he said. "Nature in general, and our river, can really be a salve for our souls, and I think it can help us get through this crisis."

But as federal, state, and local officials encourage - and increasingly enforce - social isolation, it's becoming harder for people to get out in nature.

"You may not be able to get out and experience the river right now, but we are going to try to bring the river to you," Orth said. To do that, the Riverkeeper has started  #HeySJRKLookAtThis, inviting everyone to share pictures and videos of nature including the St. Johns River using the hashtag.

"Let's share these photos and use this, right now," he said. "Use the river, use the natural world around us, as a way to help us cope with this, help us get through this, help us heal... And I think it can."

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.