Lunch and Lecture

Don Rakow, Cornell University

Nature RX: Improving college student mental healt

Friday, February 14th / 11:30 am – 1 pm
Lunch is served at 11:30 am, the talk will begin at 12:15 pm

Life today is full of stressors, and this is especially true for college and university students. To improve students’ mental and physical well-being, Don Rakow, an associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell, recommends a prescription of fresh air.

In a book coauthored with Gregory T. Eells, Nature Rx: Improving College-Student Mental Health (Cornell University Press, 2019), Rakow argues that campus programs encouraging students to spend more time outdoors can reduce the stress and anxiety of academic, social, and relationship pressures, particularly for those also dealing with mental health issues, trauma, or substance abuse. In this Lunch & Lecture Series, Rakow will discuss the value of Nature Rx programs and present a step-by-step formula for constructing and sustaining them on college campuses.


 Dr. Donald A. Rakow is an associate professor in the Section of Horticulture, School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University. Dr. Rakow served as the Executive Director of Cornell Plantations (now Cornell Botanic Gardens) from 1996 – 2013. He is the co-author with Sharon Lee of ‘Public Garden Management’ (Wiley & Sons, 2011), and with Ms. Lee and Prof. Meghan Gough of the upcoming ‘Public Gardens and Community Revitalization’ (Cornell University Press, 2019). Dr. Rakow conducts research and writes on the human benefits of time in nature and directs the Nature Rx@Cornell program and is the co-author of the upcoming text ‘Nature Rx: Improving College Student Health.’ He is a past recipient of both the Service Award and Award of Merit form the American Public Gardens Association. He and his wife have three grown sons and live in Ithaca, NY.


Advanced Reservations

  • Friends Lunch & Lecture | $30
  • Non-Member Lunch & Lecture | $40
  • Friends Lecture Only | Free
  • Non-Member Lecture Only | $5

Day Of Walk-Ins

  • Friends Lunch & Lecture | $40
  • Non-Member Lunch & Lecture | $50
  • Friends Lecture Only | Free
    (RSVP appreciated)
  • Non-Member Lecture Only | $10

All lunch & lectures are from 11:30am – 1pm. Lecture begins at 12pm.






Don Rakow, professor of horticulture (HORT) and director of Cornell Plantations (PLTNS).