The importance of connecting with nature to improve overall mental health cannot be overstated. According to recent studies, outdoor activities and accompanying exposure to natural environments have been found to contribute positively to our well-being. Whether it be reducing stress levels, helping to alleviate symptoms associated with depression or anxiety or improving our cognitive ability and attention span, time spent in natural surroundings can go a long way in improving our mental health.

In acknowledging the importance of mental health, the Indiana Connections Career Academy celebrated over 170 of its students in a recent graduation ceremony held at the Dallara IndyCar Factory. Also referred to as ecotherapy or nature therapy, Indiana Connections Career Academy provides a career-focused program alongside a virtual public education, designed to prepare students for some of Indiana’s high-growth fields as they earn their high school diploma.

The students from many towns and cities across Indiana who successfully graduated in the celebration also benefitted from the academy’s career-facing activities and employability skill badges through online classes in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), which make them better prepared for life beyond the classroom.

To commence enrollment for the 2023-24 online program for Indiana grade 6-12 students, Indiana Connections Career Academy has opened its doors for interested families to attend online information sessions. In addition to providing a high-quality educational experience, the school also focuses on social development and emotional well-being, stemming from close feedback between the school, students, and their families. The academy offers a tuition-free, online public school experience that keeps students engaged and motivated in a safe and virtual learning environment.