Nature Heals

Eco-Therapy to Strengthen Israelis’ Mental Health

Harnessing Nature to Heal

SPNI has launched a series of eco-therapy programs to help the high number of Israelis suffering trauma after October 7th. There are programs for all ages, families and individuals, and a special program for traumatized teens.

Nature Heals relies on donations, and Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has pledged to match any donations to this program up to $600,000. Click here to contact us about supporting this program. 

Program Activities

Wilderness Camps for Traumatized Teens

The Desert Camp activities aim to address the challenges faced by thousands of displaced youths, aged 16-18 who are struggling with anxiety, depression, stress and PTSD. To provide a healthier environment, the organizers are conducting three-day overnight camps in the desert, offering activities like rock climbing, trekking, and stargazing, free of charge. The success of these eco-therapy camps has generated overwhelming demand, leading to plans for at least 40 sessions throughout 2024 to reach even more displaced youth.

Restorative Nature Experiences for the General Public

The sad reality of the October 7th attacks is that everyone in Israel was affected. In an effort to provide eco-therapy to the general public, and more than just to those directly impacted, SPNI organizes and provides guided nature trips all weekends and holidays, and plans to continue for all of 2024. These trips are free to everyone, with the hopes that as many people as possible will be able to heal through the power of nature. These experiences are all conducted in line with Homefront Command guidance.

Featured activities include:

  • walking tours in Jerusalem’s Gazelle Valley
  • birdwatching along the Carmel coast
  • guided hikes in Ein Gedi
  • night lantern tours near Eilat
  • live bird ringing demonstrations in Jerusalem and Eilat

Eco-Therapy Trips for Displaced Families

Currently, at least 250,000 Israelis from northern and southern regions have been forced to flee their homes due to Hamas and Hezbollah attacks. The Israeli government has evacuated many of these people to hotels, particularly in Eilat, the Dead Sea, and the Carmel Coast. These are the most traumatized Israelis, many who have lost family members as well as their homes and businesses. Without school and work, they are in deep need of support. Collaborating with their assigned social workers, the Nature Heals initiative guides these distressed families through Israeli nature sites that provide them a reminder of the beauty and resilience of life. The nature trips explore various landscapes, including birding sites, rewilded wetlands, forests, deserts, mountains, rivers, and beaches, leveraging nature’s healing power to help the participants. The Nature Heals eco-therapy program provides respite, reduces anxiety, and enhances mental resilience for as many evacuees as possible. 

Supporting Reservists and their Families

300,000 reservists have been called up, leaving behind their partners and children.

As the war continues the mental toll of those on the homefront continues to build. Particularly for young families where one parent is now single parenting and working while constantly fearing for their partner’s safety.

We are partnering with municipalities, regional councils and the IDF to provide eco-therapy activities specifically for reservists and their families. These family-friendly activities are close to home. Parents get to exercise in fresh air while our guides lead screen-free activities for the children.

Live Daily Broadcasts

Research has shown that even watching nature through a screen can positively affect our emotions and decrease anxiety levels. Since the beginning of the war, we have presented at least two original daily lectures on Zoom suitable for the whole family. We average 1,000 people tuning into each broadcast. These have been especially popular among families with young children who trust our family-friendly screen time and reputable educators. Even though many children have returned to formal school networks, we have learned that for pensioners and retirees, these broadcasts play a crucial role in reducing their current sense of social isolation.

Nature on Demand

SPNI plans to film, edit and narrate nature documentaries for online viewing as part of the Nature Heals initiative. These movies will feature virtual tours of many of Israel’s most popular nature spots and hidden treasures, providing members of the public with small doses of nature whenever needed. Viewing will be available for free through our website.

The Rationale and Science Behind Nature Heals

As a result of the tragic October 7th attacks, the hostage crisis and the ongoing war, at least one in three Israelis are suffering from PTSD symptoms. The tightly knit community of Israel is intricately connected, and with over 1,200 deaths, sexual violence, and additional indescribable atrocities, everyone has been detrimentally affected in some capacity. The trauma has become contagious, passed through constant over exposure to the barbaric and deeply disturbing Hamas videos, news reports and social media. There is a clear need to provide therapeutic rehabilitation to large numbers of Israelis.


Director of Mental Health Services for Israel’s Health Ministry, Dr. Gilad Bodenheimer, has called for innovative solutions and non-pharmacological methodologies to help support potentially millions of people. The science is clear: for individuals suffering from trauma, anxiety, stress, or depression, exposure to nature and natural environments has therapeutic and healing effects. SPNI has therefore stepped up with a solution: Nature Heals.