The Importance of Scenic Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Statement from our Executive Director, Mike Dawida

Dear Friends of Scenic Pittsburgh – 

In these uncertain times, the relationship between scenic beauty and health has never been clearer – or more important.

We have always known that scenic beauty is a public health issue. Communities where there are greenspaces, beautiful structures and trees improve residents’ mental and physical health, beside their economic and environmental benefits. 

But with the policies of social distancing, people are relying upon trips outside to keep active and feel less isolated and anxious. A walk in the park or quick car trip to a scenic overlook can make a huge difference when you can’t visit with friends or loved ones. It redirects us outside of ourselves, and right now, outside is still one of the safest, healthiest places for us to be. We hope you are able to get out there and take a break.

For those who can’t even risk these kinds of trips, a view outside to a tree or two, or some flowers, can be a morale boost. Studies show that people in rooms who can see even a single tree outside are happier and less likely to become depressed. We hope those of you who can’t get outside have something beautiful to brighten your view.

We’re going to be posting examples online of people using scenic beauty to help them cope, using the hashtag #LookOutside. If you can, please join us in brightening people’s day online, and calling attention to how scenic beauty can help.

In short, scenic beauty matters. The focus now is on our healthcare system, as it should be. But scenic beauty is part of our natural health infrastructure – the part of our communities that keeps working day in, day out, to keep us healthier and less stressed. We don’t always recognize or acknowledge this fact, but from where I sit today, it seems clearer than ever.

Scenic Pittsburgh staff will be working hard during these weeks, laying ambitious plans and moving our mission forward – just from home. Feel free to get in touch any time. 

We urge you to take good care of yourselves, your loved ones, your colleagues and your community. 

All the best,
Mike Dawida, Executive Director, Scenic Pittsburgh