Hi, I’m Mark Ellison. I help people use the restorative power of nature for optimal health and work effectiveness.

about pageI earned my doctorate in adult education and human resource development from North Carolina State University. The research for my dissertation explored the restorative benefits of hiking in wilderness solitude and the relationship to job satisfaction. I founded HikingResearch.com as a doctoral student at NC State and it has evolved to become a primary resource for research on how nature impacts health and work effectiveness.

I was introduced to hiking as an undergraduate at Western Carolina University in beautiful Cullowhee, North Carolina, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains near the Appalachian Trail and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is also where I live. I enjoy spending as much time as possible in nature by hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking.

I have developed programs for organizations and groups including regional chambers of commerce, medical centers, businesses and universities focused on the use of nature and improved health and work effectiveness (Eco-Human Resource Development).

hr me

You can contact me via email at hikingresearch at yahoo.com.

Magazine, newspaper and online articles that have referenced my work include:

Mountain Xpress (Asheville-2016)

 A Plus (Ashton Kutcher’s digital magazine-2015)

Oprah Magazine (June 2014)


Donna Moderna (Italy)

North Carolina State University Alumni Magazine  (October 2013)

Journeys Magazine – November/December 2010 (Go to “Emotional Rescue” on page 3)

Blue Ridge Outdoors – March 2011



5 thoughts on “About

  1. I am delighted to connect with you Mark. Thank you for choosing to follow my blog. I am honoured as well as delighted as we clearly share very similar interests and values.

  2. Hi Mark, I am a mental health RN/Life Coach who recently started a meetup group in central NC for women wanting to connect with nature, learn about the health benefits of nature, connect with their inner guidance, reduce stress, etc. Our first outing was amazing, with the women reporting how powerful the experience was, and all of them have signed up for my next outing in November.

    Since we are both in NC, thought I would let you know of my involvement in this activity related to
    your research. Let me know if I can help! Kate truenatureguide@gmail.com

  3. Hey Mark I was not able to access your email, but I would love to get in touch with you. I am doing my Master’s in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo and I am looking into exploring the relationship between outdoor recreation and emotional/ mental health and wellbeing among adults, specifically looking at urban forest landscapes in Waterloo and their effect on happiness, relaxation, and vitality. I am using the designated forest therapy bases for information on what type of forest might be required to produce these results in urban areas. If you have time I would love to hear from you.



    • I am putting together a blog post about physical/physiologic effects of nature connection this week, and stumbled upon your great blog resource. I already have identified studies on shinrin-yoku and chemical compounds given off by trees benefiting human health, but if you have further studies you could direct me to I would be most appreciative! In the meantime, I’ll look over your research listed here as much as I can.

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