Students Explore One Health Connection at Lyman Woods

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April 06, 2022

Students walking on small bridge in forest preserve Students from Midwestern University participate in a guided hike in Lyman Woods to further understand One Health principles.

Midwestern University embraces a One Health philosophy as a core component of healthcare which emphasizes that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. Recently, two student organizations partnered with the Lyman Woods nature preserve, located next to the Downers Grove Campus, to further explore the One Health concept.

The One Health Club and the Wilderness Medicine Club organized a guided hike with a Lyman Woods naturalist of the forest preserve, which includes 150 acres of oak forest, 300 species of native plants, marshlands, and prairie habitats. “The hike highlighted the natural world that we are surrounded by and the importance of maintaining the environment. Lyman Woods offers a glimpse into how previous generations of humans and animals may have experienced the world,” said Jordan Mitchell (CCOM 2024), One Health Club President and one of the organizers of the event. “This hike exemplified the One Health initiative and the importance of wilderness medicine in many ways. Lyman Woods and other similar ecosystems provide a space for humans to connect with a less-manicured version of nature that can be rejuvenating for the spirit. In addition, the healthcare field depends on the natural world as the medicinal herbs that form the roots of pharmacology or plants and animals that fuel our bodies are essential to our health and wellbeing,” Jordan added.

Midwestern University’s One Health Initiative aims to inspire its faculty, staff, and students to collaborate as respected colleagues who understand the nature and interdependency of humans, animals, and the environment. Operated by the Downers Grove Park District, Lyman Woods is open to the public and features hiking trails and an interpretive center.