Interview by Lauren Magee

David Hudson, a resident of the West Roxbury area and member of the Friends of the Blue Hills, is a mental health professional who grew up in Billerica, MA. Even though the Blue Hills Reservation is relatively new to David, he’s enthusiastic about beginning his journey to explore all 125 miles of trails, reconnecting with nature, and being a part of the Blue Hills community.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m not originally from Massachusetts; I moved here when I was four. I grew up in Billerica, which is about thirty minutes north of Boston. I moved away for a couple of years, and when I came back I settled into the West Roxbury area. I have always been interested in the outdoors but ever since my son came along, I have had a little bit more of an increased interest in it… I am a therapist by trade, so I’m a mental health counselor.

What activities are you looking forward to doing in the Blue Hills?

In terms of what I’m looking forward to doing is some hiking, some reconnecting with nature, [and I’m] planning to do the 125 miles of trails and start working on that.

What made you decide to join the Friends as a member?

I wanted to be a part of something bigger. Also, growing up in Billerica, …we had this idea that we were a small town, and we had a very strong farming tradition, and as I grew up, I just watched these things go away, little by little, like there was a field, and then there was a strip mall, and there was another field, and then there was an apartment complex. …we were constantly looking to make more bad decisions and pave over more stuff, and it’s important to protect habitats and ecosystems, and I think that we forget that a lot of the time that as a species, we are not the only ones calling this home, and we have to live in unison. Being able to give a little bit to an organization that is really determined in protecting this wildlife, making it better, and keeping it around for the future is really important.

Can you tell me a little bit about connecting with nature from the perspective of a mental health professional?

I don’t think people understand how important [nature] is from the mental health side of things. Especially because, living in the city, we’ve just become so accustomed to hearing noises, but we forget that we’re humans, we’re still animals, and that our subconscious is triggered by these things. Our subconscious is put in stress by hearing sirens, by hearing loud noises, by hearing all this stuff going on and not a lot of quiet or having too much unnatural light. I think that we forget that having [nature] as a resource, being able to go into a place like the Blue Hills and just decompressing is not only important, but necessary.

Thank you, David, and we are so excited to see where this journey takes you!

Photo credit (top): Will Mann