Community Spotlight:
815 Outside

Sold On Toni supports 815 Outside

Join Toni VanderHeyden and Holly Hansen from 815 Outside as they talk about the many parks available to explore around the Stateline! 

Started in 2019, 815 Outside’s mission is to provide information, resources, and experiences that empower people to learn about their local natural spaces and become more comfortable and confident exploring the outdoors. They have developed a 5-year strategic plan to help guide their efforts to achieve a diverse community of people who feel a sense of belonging in local natural spaces and engage in outdoor recreation for their health and well-being.

815 Outside was inspired by the fact that Winnebago County has over 20,000 acres of green space between preserves, parks and paths, many of which are underutilized. As the area’s comprehensive resource for outdoor recreation, Holly and her team at 815 Outside invite people to find purpose and new perspective when visiting public lands and to develop healthy lifestyle habits.

Health Benefits

Being outside in nature can decrease your stress, boost your mood, and provide many health benefits! It can also help with chronic illnesses as well. Even being outside for just 10 to 20 minutes at a time, you’re doing something beneficial for your health.

With a mission to provide free community hikes and other resources to encourage people to get outdoors, 815 Outside has started to partner with local healthcare providers to institute nature prescriptions, building on the ideas of Park Rx America.

Our Favorite Parks

Severson Dells Nature Center runs several programs to link people to nature through education and research in the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin area.

Nicholas Conservatory brings the tropics to the Midwest and has so much going on along the Rock River. With water features, seating areas, and sculptures to enjoy, this facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois.

Atwood Trails are open for hiking, mountain biking, and running along the beautiful Kishwaukee River.

How You Can Support 815 Outside

To find more information about 815 Outside, simply visit their website and sign up for their E-newsletter by scrolling to the bottom. This once-a-month newsletter will showcase their hikes, bikes, and activities from partner organizations for you to enjoy!



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