Erika Buri '93 has found the perfect way to have recess all day—well, sort of. She is the Director of the Olander Park Systems, so she has access to nature constantly. By stepping out of her office and taking a short walk outdoors, along with a few deep breaths, Erika has learned a simple way to practice self-care.
The Olander Park Systems consists of Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio, in addition to other parks in the city of Sylvania, Sylvania Township, and precincts in Toledo and Ottawa Hills. Erika learned early in her career to find ways to not burn out. She knows that she must combine mental and physical activities to reach her personal goals. Erika shared that the positive effects of being outdoors is undeniable. “Compared to no nature contact…, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being became significantly greater with contact equal or greater to two hours [per week]. It did not matter how the 120 minutes of contact a week was achieved. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.” *
As an 8th grader, Erika did not consider St. Ursula Academy as her automatic choice for high school, as her mother and aunt attended a different single-gender school that is no longer open. Erika left her friends at her large neighborhood junior high to shadow at SUA. She said, “I literally saw the light and felt the light when I walked into the front doors of SUA. The physical building is so open, with big windows that allowed the sunlight to shine on me.” The girls welcomed her as if she were already a student, and she will never forget that feeling. She remembers liking the idea of the dress uniform, where she felt she could express her individuality. Little did she know that her freshman year would be the final year of the “dress,” and a new uniform would be introduced the following year.
While at SUA, Erika was on the varsity swim team and enjoyed her group of close friends. She is a 1997 graduate of Marquette University with a degree in Anthropology. Her sister, Maureen Buri ’95, also enjoyed her SUA experience. If everything goes as planned and Erika gets her husband on board, her five-year old daughter will eventually be an SUA graduate, too. Erika hopes that, until that time, the self-care that she practices will be as natural as the sunlight that shines on SUA and everyone.
*Mathew P. White, Ian Alcock, James Grellier, Benedict W. Wheeler, et al. “Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing.” Scientific Reports, 13 June 2019. www.nature.com.
- Self Care