Therapeutic Benefits of a Wildlife Observation Program


  • Ted T Cable
  • Edward Udd


Therapeutic recreation, human-wildlife interaction, wildlife observation, nonconsumptive wildlife benefits


Since 1981 the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has been supplying bird feeders, birdseed, and other wildlife-related materials to nursing homes in Kansas. Kansas is one of only three states having such a program. The objectives of this paper are to evaluate the success of this program, and to explore the potential for future research dealing with the therapeutic effects of observing wildlife. Surveys were sent to administrators of the 42 nursing homes involved in this program. The response rate was 69 percent. The survey results indicate that administrators endorse the program based on their belief that it has positive therapeutic effects and it enhances the morale of staff and residents. Because of the inherent similarities, a review of the  literature pertaining to pet-facilitated therapy and horticultural therapy was conducted. The successes reported in that body of literature suggest that the therapeutic effects o fwildlife observation warrant additional study.





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