June 01, 2019

On The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel we already knew intuitively that time spent in nature brings out the best in us, and the best ideas too. So it was extremely gratifying to learn we're not alone in our thinking, because scientific evidence also proves that true.

Research in the 1980s, around a concept known as Attention Restoration Theory, proved that exposure to nature helps us maintain focus and deepens our ability to concentrate. And a 2012 study titled "Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings" showed that four days of immersion in nature and disconnection from technology helped improve creativity in problem-solving skills as well.   

On The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel there are countless options for nature-based meetings and activities.

Put to the test

When David Strayer, a researcher at the University of Utah, wanted to test whether exposure to nature had any effect on higher-level demands, specifically, creative problem solving, he teamed up with noted outdoor program provider Outward Bound to employ the Remote Associates Test. An established tool used to determine a human's creative potential, the exercise involved 56 participants who were given several tests to assess their creative thinking. Half of them took the test before heading out on a backpacking trip into the wilderness, and the other half took their test four days into their trip in the wild.

Those who took the test four days into their trips did much better. Those four days in a natural environment increased their problem-solving success by 50 percent. The results showed there's definitely a cognitive advantage to spending time unplugged and immersed in a natural setting. Dr. Strayer and his team figured out this edge comes from exposure to natural stimuli that are both emotionally positive and low-arousing, and a decrease in exposure to attention-demanding technology, which serve as productivity distractions.

Kayaking in J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge combines team-building and time in nature. Your group will see all kinds of animals unique to the area.

Nature as teacher

So where does nature and an ideal place for meetings intersect? On The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel there are countless options, but here's one example: a sailing school that combines the benefits of nature with tasks that encourage team-building. Spend an afternoon on the water and your group will get to know each other while learning a thing or two about sailing.

Or consider a kayaking tour of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Ding Darling is made up of more than 5,200 acres of undeveloped mangrove forest. Your group will see all kinds of animals unique to the area, including hundreds of species of birds.

For a more cerebral break, look into this. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford - two world-renowned creative thinkers - each made their winter homes in Fort Myers. Filled with beautiful gardens and sprawling landscapes, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates offers group tours of the grounds, and it's a perfect venue for team-building exercises and meet-and-greets.

For more information on how to incorporate Fort Myers & Sanibel's natural environment into your event itinerary, click here.