FRONTENAC — Studies have shown getting outdoors can help with physical and mental health. 

That’s why when Crawford County Mental Health had the opportunity to create the Grilz Family Blue Sea Nature Preserve in Frontenac, they took it. 

Helping make this possible is the nonprofit organization Families and Children Together, Inc. which has served as the philanthropic support for CCMH since 1991.

Recently, FACT, Inc. received a $5,000 grant from the Westar Foundation and prior to that the organization received $10,000 grant from Live Well Crawford County. 

“We are very honored to be chosen as a grant recipient for both Westar and Live Well,” said Heather Spaur, CCMH Director of Personnel and Marketing and Chief Operating Officer for FACT, Inc. “We are glad to have the community support that sees the value of what we do as well.”  

These grants were given to the organization for its next endeavor. At the preserve, FACT, Inc. plans to have trails developed. The organization now has half of the money it needs to create the trail, said Spaur. 

Currently, the 40 acres of land has been utilized as a therapeutic place for children's groups, collecting fossils, fishing and more. The preserve is only opened to the public by group appointment. Organizations can sign up to use it through FACT, Inc. 

The trail will be approximately 2.5 to 3 miles long and will cost $27,000. 

So far, the preserve has been “very therapeutic and has been an incredible experience,” Spaur said.