Perry Point VA Medical Center Recognized for Improving Health and Wellness Through Trees

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The Perry Point VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System, has received national and state recognition for its commitment to improving health and wellness on its campus through a comprehensive tree care plan.

The Perry Point VA Medical Center has received national and state recognition for its commitment to improving health and wellness on its campus through a comprehensive tree care plan.

“We’re delighted that our efforts to maintain and enhance the natural beauty inherent at the Perry Point VA Medical Center and to incorporate it into our wellness programs has brought us this special recognition,” said Jonathan R. Eckman, P.E., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

The Perry Point VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System, has received national and state recognition for its commitment to improving health and wellness on its campus through a comprehensive tree care plan.

For the second year in a row, the Arbor Day Foundation has designated the Perry Point VA Medical Center as a Tree Campus Healthcare Facility. The Arbor Day Foundation aims to transform community health and wellness, recognizing the life-saving benefits trees provide on health care campuses across the nation. Research shows that patient interaction with green space, gardens, parks and natural areas helps the human condition. Trees specifically can improve respiratory health, lower urban temperatures, improve mental health and provide restorative properties.

The Tree Campus Healthcare Facility designation recognizes health care campuses that incorporate tree planting, education and community engagement in its wellness programs. To achieve this designation, the Perry Point VA Medical Center met five program standards, including having an advisory committee, a facility tree care plan, a community forestry project, a celebration event and a financial investment toward a tree care plan or projects. The Perry Point VA Medical Center is one of 24 facilities nationwide—and one of just two VA sites (along with the Coatesville VA Medical Center)—to receive this year’s award.

On a state level, the Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee of the Maryland Association of District Forestry Boards, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service, recently presented the Perry Point VA Medical Center with the Green People Loving and Nurturing Trees Award (PLANT) for 2020. The Green PLANT award—the highest level of recognition it awards—goes to organizations that have a sustained a fully functional and funded tree care program in recognition that trees provide ecological, economic and quality of life benefits—protecting air and water quality, reducing energy costs, increasing property values and beautifying neighborhoods and highways.

“We’re delighted that our efforts to maintain and enhance the natural beauty inherent at the Perry Point VA Medical Center and to incorporate it into our wellness programs has brought us this special recognition,” said Jonathan R. Eckman, P.E., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

“We take a lot of pride in the work that we do throughout the Perry Point campus,” added Kevin Hill, Perry Point Grounds Section Supervisor. “There’s an undeniable connection between nature and health, and it’s rewarding to know that the beautiful environment we create and maintain nurtures our veteran patients, visitors and staff and contributes to their health and wellness.”

To learn more, visit the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) webpage at https://www.maryland.va.gov/about/GEMS.asp.

To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare program, visit https://www.arborday.org/programs/tree-campus-healthcare/.
To learn more about the Maryland Urban and Community Forest’s Green PLANT program, visit https://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/programs/plantinfo.aspx.

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Ming Vincenti