Research shows that spending time in nature is linked with decreased anxiety, increased attention, improved focus and lower levels of cortisol and blood pressure. A park visit can also become a gateway to participation in other recreation activities. Although the concept of healthcare professionals prescribing visits to parks is relatively new, experimentation is occurring at park agencies around the nation. Learn the essential ingredients of a successful Park Rx program developed by Dr. Robert Zarr, former advisor to the National Park Service on park prescriptions.
Across the globe, Forest Therapy guides are getting involved in their communities. We are seeing collaborations popping up and our guides are being invited to join. From working with AFCA in Denver, to NCH2 in Chicago, to the Forest Therapy Coalition in Washington, DC, we are diving in and making a difference where we live. This presentation is offered be to show our guides and guests what kind of collaborations we are involved in and where they are happening, with the hopes of encouraging others to do the same. We will be presenting information on collaborations not only in the US, but everywhere our guides are located.
Gardens and green spaces, long valued for their aesthetic appeal, are increasingly being recognized for the deeply significant role they play in individual and community health and wellbeing. This is something the founders of Nature Sacred have long understood. For more than two decades, the nonprofit has been working in and with communities to create what they call Sacred Places, open greenspaces that foster mindful reflection, provide solace and foster wellbeing. Nature Sacred’s Executive Director Erin Robertson will speak on the organization’s process for creating these spaces, a process that both empowers and guides the community in the creation of their unique nature space. She will also touch on the latest scientific research, which speaks to the power of these spaces to help unite and heal communities - and her experiences in the ongoing work, through the Nature Sacred Network, to help ensure these spaces continue to thrive.
Narrated by Liam Neeson and winner of 27 awards, Love Thy Nature points to how deeply we've lost touch with nature and takes viewers on a cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. After the film screening, the director and ANFT guide Sylvie Rokab will offer a Q&A, inviting viewers to share arrows to the heart.
Forest therapy is a practice that profoundly touches our heart. Over decades of experience in wild and natural settings, Amos has noticed an increasing vividness in how we can experience the intelligence of our hearts. Is there a "heart" in the forest that our own hearts resonate with? Are forests a place where lost parts of ourselves wake up and are remembered? What is it in forests that we resonate with? Join Amos at this keynote as he leads us on an exploration in search of the heart of the forest.
Using a series of effective primers developed during his extensive research, Dr.Luvaas will teach strategies to bring less connected groups of people back into connection with nature. After sharing the results of his research study, Dr. Luvaas invites the participants to a conversation about other barriers/challenges they have encountered and discuss strategies to reach more diverse groups.
Won Sop Shin will present about the various initiatives in Korea for forest wellness and human health. Won Sop has researched extensively about the effects of forests on psychological well-being, and will present some of his most relevant findings. He will share some of his insights from his career about working in government, academia, and in forestry practice, and how these strands can support development and adoption of robust forest therapy programs.
The session presenter will address the effects of nature and forest therapy (NFT) on nature connection, mood states, place meanings and satisfaction with life for participants on NFT walks, as conceptualized within specific psychological theories (e.g., stress reduction theory, process-oriented models). Few previous studies have explored the influences of NFT on these constructs, employing a NFT walk with its standard sequences established by Clifford (2018). The presenter implemented a NFT walk with 15 university students for about 2.6 hours on a weekday in September 2018, following the standard sequences of NFT walks (Clifford, 2018). The constructs were measured before and after the walk and a total of 11 complete responses were utilized for paired samples t-tests. Results provide empirical evidence on the positive health and well-being outcomes of NFT walks including an increase in level of nature connections, decreases in levels of negative mood states (e.g., anxiety, fatigue, confusion), increases in levels of place meanings (e.g., place dependence, community identity, place affection), and increases in levels of life satisfaction. NFT-based activities and settings (e.g., therapeutic mindful immersion or sensory stimulation activities in natural environments) should be provided to enhance favorable outcomes. Future research could verify such beneficial NFT outcomes across various populations including individuals with special needs.
Burnout is a complex occupational syndrome affected by factors on multiple levels (i.e. individual, social, ecological, economic, and environmental factors). In the Netherlands, research shows that employees aged between 20–35 years old are particularly prone to developing a burnout and that burnout complaints are the leading cause of absenteeism among employees below the age of 25. Standard guidelines for rehabilitation are based on the principles of cognitive-based therapies, which are important, but suboptimal as they neglect environmental conditions in which burnout develops. At the same time, evidence of (being active in) nature for the rehabilitation of employees with burnout is accumulating. However, many questions are still unanswered. Typical examples of the so-called green programmes are healing gardens, care farms, and green exercise. The emphasis of green programmes lies on the interaction between employees and their specific (work) context, and on employees ability to mobilise and reuse resources within themselves or from their immediate environment. Therefore, rehabilitation from a salutogenic perspective goes beyond the treatment of disease, towards developing one’s ability to participate and be productive in a sustainable and meaningful way. I will present my PhD research project plan about the potential of green programmes for the rehabilitation of young employees with burnout from a salutogenic approach and hope to foster a discussion where we explore together how forest therapies can promote the rehabilitation of young employees with burnout.
Sèlvans works hard to safeguard the most valuable forests, the most mature ones, which contain ancient trees and retain a more complete natural structure. Our aim is to form a wide network of high conservation value forests, with some sectors assigned to free natural dynamics and others subjected to minimal intervention so as to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Within this basic framework, there is a subset of therapeutic forests: a woodland infrastructure to help us reconnect with nature that complements urban green zones and creates a remarkably high-quality range of health and wellbeing services throughout the region. The creation of the network of therapeutic forests and the corresponding Sèlvans quality standard is based on 6 principles: the peace and quiet of the landscape and the naturalness of the forest, a specialized guidance to facilitate the group’s immersion and connection with this environment, stewardship agreements with the forest land owners, a minimal infrastructure that blends in with the surroundings, a synergy with local stakeholders, and a link to a medical research programme.
Early brain development specialist Jane West shares the ways forest therapy walks help develop all parts of a child. Jane will explain what a young brain needs to grow from critical sensory moments to social and physical challenges all experienced within the security of caring environment. She will also offer tips for guiding young children and their caregivers including ways to work with the that have special needs.
In this session we will explore the concepts of restorative environments, attention restoration, soft fascination, and awe, and how these apply to forest therapy. We will discuss the research that first helped establish the links between nature and human health, and the more recent studies that build on that foundation. I will share about my journey over the last 30 years exploring forests, researching and teaching about the restorative power of nature, and my path to guiding forest therapy walks. Participants in this session will gain a better understanding of the health benefits of spending time in nature; what makes an environment restorative; how to evaluate the restorative aspects of a location; and the different levels of restoration that can be experienced based on the natural qualities of a setting. This is a topic I love. I hope you will join me!
Forest Therapy is rapidly entering mainstream society as a methodology for health and wellbeing from various sources around the world. But what is it exactly? And how does it work? I find that there are two dominant schools of thought in the field that I would call ‘Nature Health Education and Recreation’ and ‘Eco-Depth Psychology.’ Nature Health Education and Recreation has descended in large part from the contributions of the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku and focuses on the physiological health impacts of nature connection. The Eco-Depth Psychology approach has descended in large part from the teachings of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and focuses more on the psychological process of individuation through contact with the collective unconscious. In this presentation, I will compare and contrast these two schools of thought in an effort to demonstrate how each is complementary to the other and how each offers uniquely credible benefits in the realms of individual human health, ecological health and cultural repair.
As we learn more about how Nature Therapy and Forest Bathing are important for human health, and work to bring immersion and practice to the world, we also need to be responsible stewards, collaborators, advocates, and agents for public land management needs. This session will provide a workshop to discuss considerations for guiding on public lands, opportunities and approaches for collaborating with local parks and land managers, and legal/ethical implications for practice in public spaces. Participants will review program and design opportunities in line with current public management practices, positioning and framing, and methods for positive influence to promote growth of offerings.
Selected “good news” facts, surprising statistics, and uplifting anecdotes about how nature is being protected and regarded in the US political arena. We haven’t been getting a lot of good news from the political arena lately. However, politicians, the voting public, and private industry are quietly driving the country to be more green. I’ll discuss how I got where I am in my career and some encouraging trends, and anecdotes from gov’t meetings and proceedings that will give you hope about nature and its survival in a changing world.
More than 50% of the world's population lives in cities, and population projections suggest that urbanization trends will continue. Big trees and groves are essential for forest bathing and therapy. The benefits evidence suggests that every resident of a community should have access to forest bathing opportunities as part of their nearby nature encounters. Yet increased urban development is often accompanied by the removal of trees, with little follow up to restore forest stands. How do we protect large trees and forest stands? What are the essential conditions of a forest bathing setting that might be used to craft protective code? This presentation will welcome audience engagement about the complex questions of local government policy for therapeutic forests planning and conservation, and suggest how to be advocates for the values of trees.
Research confirms the health benefits of time spent in nature, everything from improving mental health and cognition to lowering blood pressure, boosting immune function and fighting cancer. Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, Medical Director of ANFT, shares her personal journey of healing in nature that has transpired into a wellness modality for her patients. She will also discuss studies linking nature and wellness, share about an emerging coalition of doctors who prescribe nature, and discuss ANFT’s future research collaborations.
How can you effectively use the scientific literature around nature connection? Evidence-based medicine is a hot buzzword, but not all evidence is the same. In this seminar for non-scientists, you'll learn the basics of interpreting scientific literature, what is good evidence and what isn't useful, and how to speak about it so you sound credible. You'll learn the difference between proof, evidence, and narrative and their role in forest therapy. We'll go through a literature review on forest bathing to help you understand how this research paper can be interpreted to a lay audience.
This project's overall aim considers the relationship between planetary and human health within the context of environmental change through the eyes of women. The Institute for Integrative Health Scholar, Sara L. Warber, MD and a women’s collaborative, including academics, e.g. Katherine Irvine PhD, and arts professionals will undertake a mixed methods study of women's textual data, visual art and lived experiences in nature. Excursions into nature for diverse groups of women will utilize two innovative ways of connecting people and nature. Forest therapy is an intervention to promote human health through brief sensory experiences in nature. Music of Plants uses biofeedback and electronic music technology to translate plant electrochemical changes into sound. Documentation and evaluation will include in-depth interviews, expressive art, brief self-report scales on spiritual wellbeing and nature engagement, as well as photography and videography. The collaborative hopes to inspire others to imagine anew our human ways of living, such that we have a template for transformative action that could occur in many venues and through multiple pathways, all supporting an expanded view of health that includes both humans and the environment.
We will bring together guides and guests to sing, acapella and simply accompanied (guitar, flute, drum). The songs we sing at our forest therapy trainings are a wonderful way to practice embodiment. It is a favorite time in the training week and something our guides treasure as they return to their homes. We love to sing together and know some of our guests will enjoy this introduction to our forest songs and ways to weave them into your lives. Perhaps you will be inspired to incorporate song into your own forest therapy guiding or personal nature connection practice? A soundcloud link with the songs will be available for all those attending the conference.
In this award-winning documentary Anna Halprin, in a collaboration with performance artist Eeo Stubblefield, uses movement to connect the individual to nature and art to real life. She reveals the dance that unfolds when our bodies, our physical home, move in harmony with the world around us. “A beautiful and deeply moving film of dance and nature, informed by the wisdom and life force of Anna Halprin,” declared Harvey Lichtenstein of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. By Andy Abrahams Wilson.
Participants will ge guided on a Forest Bathing walk during which they will be invited to use creativity to honor a sense of place and develop a deeper connection with nature. The invitations on this walk will demonstrate ways to use heart, mind and hands to partner with nature and explore the expressive arts.
How do we move beyond the classical five senses described by Aristotle? Travel through the worlds of more esoteric senses to find a deeper relationship to your body and environment. How can we use our partnership with the more-than-human world to explore these senses? Proprioception calls us to our felt sense of our body in space and our surroundings. It guides us to kinesthesia, the sense of how we move and how much effort we need to move. Imagination draws us beyond the senses to map our stories and new ideas; it is the foundation of hope. Each of these senses is critical to new learning, body autonomy, healing from trauma, and connecting to our human and non-human family. In this experiential workshop, we'll connect to nature and ourselves by playing with these senses and telling stories. You'll discover techniques to experience these senses in a tangible way. Play with your own experience and partner with both humans and more-than-humans. You'll leave feeling grounded and connected. Participants are encouraged to go barefoot if they feel comfortable doing so.
Flower essences and vibrational remedies are a simple and beautiful way to connect with the healing powers of nature. In this informative and experiential workshop Hannah will share what vibrational essences are and how they work, so you can make them at home. Our group will come together for an essence making experience like no other! Opening our earth dreaming sense, waters from across the world, plants and treasures are brought by participants as we join in creating an essence with the intention of spreading the joy of nature connection across the planet. You will receive some of this essence to take home. You are invited to bring whatever calls to you such as water from your land, treasures to include, a glass bottle (a limited amount will be supplied).
Currently, busy business people are working to reconnect with the inherent human power of creativity. We provide training and consulting for companies throughout Japan on how to use the healing power of forests to support healthy and productive company cutures. My work aims to spread activities so that forest bathing activities reach not only therapeutic actions, but the general public. I will introduce case examples and share my thoughts and initiatives. One of my aims for participating in this conference is to learn together, spread Shinrin-yoku more widely, and understand more about other approaches. I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce practices, examples, methods, from Japan.
Sensing and knowing one’s self as part of the ecological functioning of an ecosystem is the foundation of a strong ecological self. A well-developed ecological self is a hallmark of connection to nature. An ecological self and connection to nature improves health outcomes and promotes civic and environmentally responsible behaviors across all demographics. In short, developing an ecological self is good for our world, our communities and us. This session will explore how forest therapy promotes the development of an ecological self, grounding the felt sense in ecological knowledge with wild tending, and simple techniques for building mutualism between human and non-human on your forest therapy walks.
Today, 55% of the world’s population live in cities, a proportion that is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. As more and more people move into tight concrete spaces with bright lights and jarring soundscapes, what is the role of forest therapy? Is practising forest therapy even possible? We look at insights and stories from two cosmopolitan cities in Asia - Hong Kong and Singapore. Through this interactive programme, we take a look and experience how forest therapy is offering a gateway to improve the health of the cities - both man and nature - in these land-scarce cities.
What could be better than forest bathing with your best friend? Our dogs are experts at forest bathing and can teach and guide us in their own masterful ways. All we have to do is slow down, listen and be. We may want to explore the dog owner market to grow our guiding business - or simply develop our own personal practice with our dogs. Author, guide, ANFT trainer and mentor, Nadine Mazzola, will discuss best practices for guiding groups of dog owners on forest therapy walks as well as tips and techniques to enjoy forest bathing with your own dog.
My Treasure Map is a combination primarily of my Web of Inter-beings & Trail Map, and secondarily my Harvest Project and Medicine Walk. It's a creative challenge in edutainment by utilizing art, poetry, origami, optical illusions, and puzzles to creatively connect to nature.
The old saying, "as goes the body, so goes the mind" is especially true in Nature. When we change direction on a trail, we open up to the possibility for a mental change of direction. The uplifting feeling that comes from taking in a panoramic vista lifts the spirits and encourages creativity. Transitions from one habitat type to another, footbridges, changes in elevation, variations in topography — even trailside benches — all ply their magic with your clients, bringing new possibilities to their lives. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to best use the features unique to your trail habitat to create parallel shifts in your clients’ psycho-emotional landscapes. You’ll acquire techniques for guiding a trail walk that keeps your clients present, attuned, and challenged. As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.” You’ll learn breathing techniques that both ground your clients in Earth energy and open them to the benefits of primal aromatherapy. This workshop is based on Tamarack’s PhD research in utilizing the body-mind connection as a creative vehicle, and for trauma recovery.
Trees are the best technology for pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and effectively reversing the effects of climate change. Based on scientific measurements, we have the ability to reverse global warming by enacting this simple solution to global warming by planting 175 billion trees by the year 2030. Planting trees and preserving forests can balance many of the negative effects of human activity on our ecosystem before the threat from rising global temperature becomes irreversible. Forest bathing practice and practitioners can play a critical part. In this presentation I will present the solid plans for how we can accomplish this goal and the critical role that the forest bathing community can play to make it happen.
This session will explore strategies and tactics on how to leverage social media and other digital channels to advance your practice and help enhance conversations around forest therapy.
Although Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy have been around for nearly 30 years, the field of psychology in general still seems to ignore both our understanding of ourselves as nature and the repairing of our widening disconnection from the rest of nature in its conception of mental health and wellness. Why is this and what can we do as mental health professionals? This break out session invites mental health professionals to come together and discuss how we can facilitate the integration of forest therapy and other nature therapy practices into our work, as well as bring this perspective to our colleagues in order to create a true paradigmatic shift. We can also consider together what forest therapy looks like in a clinical setting versus simply taking our therapy outdoors.
In this workshop, you learn everything you need to know to develop a Forest Therapy Trail, from initial organization and governance to site selection, design requirements, optional features, accommodating special needs clients, effective promotion, partnering with other organizations, liability coverage, and more. We cover both developing trails from scratch and upgrading existing trails. There will be time devoted to addressing your specific needs and to helping you create an envisionment for the trail you want to create. Tamarack Song has been developing forest therapy trails since 1971. His first trails were based on what he learned about the healing powers of nature in his apprenticeships with American Indian elders, and from living with a pack of wolves. In subsequent years, he incorporated input from psychotherapists and other healthcare practitioners into his trail designs. To that base, he has added the practical application of this PhD work in trauma recovery and Nature-based healing.
The ancient art of Tai Chi has its basis in Nature and is often called "meditation (or medication) in motion". In this session you will discover this connection as you are introduced to Tai Chi principles and a short series of movements. Following this we will discuss how such principles and movements can be incorporated into a guided Forest Therapy walk. (No experience or special equipment or getting down on the ground needed.)
After a brief review of the ANFT best practices for the Language of Invitation, participants in this interactive seminar will analyze the needs of specific populations. This will include (but is not limited to) Business Leaders, Folks with Disabilities, Children, School Groups, the LGBQT Community, Religious Groups, and Medical Professionals. In small groups, participants will then consider ways to adapt the wording of common invitations in ways which honor and allow space for the values and strengths of these distinct groups of clients. This seminar will finish with brainstorming unique invitations tailored to each population. Seminar participants will leave with an expanded repertoire of effective invitations to use in their practice.
We will explore what it's like to discover Nature through the eyes of a Child. Experiences are presented for you to share and written examples are provided for further exploration at home. The age range is divided three ways: infant/toddler, youth and adolescent. Some of the topics covered are: Breathing Techniques/Energy for Everyone, Drumming for Drumming's Sake, Power Animals Power Up, Spirit Search Adventures, Journal Writing their Way, The Journey at Home in Your Heart. No experience in Shamanism is necessary to enjoy this workshop.
Participants will be guided on a creative journey into five landscapes as aspects of their deeper, wilder selves. These ancient lands reveal the soul’s patterns and potential through image and metaphor. Here, where the inner and outer worlds meet, we discover within: the silence and simplicity of deserts - the mystery of forests - the flow of oceans and rivers - the inspiration of mountains - the regenerative spirit of grasslands. Once awakened, these “soulscapes” form a pathway of personal transformation aligned with the healing of the wild Earth.
How do I know my value as a guide? How do I set my pricing? How do I find the balance between not charging enough and charging too much? How do I test if my pricing is right? If any of these questions are on your mind, come to this session to learn how to define and communicate your value as a guide. Kirsten Snow, guide and founder of Blue Stone Journeys will help unpack the value of what you bring to your guide practice and how to determine compensation for the service you deliver.
We are envisioning this panel as a shared exploration of possibilities for sustainable careers in forest therapy, by envisioning new programs and jobs in healthcare, parks management, city programs, tourism. Panelists: Dr. Kathy Wolf, Felipe Benitez, Tamberly Conway, PhD., Youmin Yap, Amanda Yik, Brenda Spitzer, Kirsten Snow, and Amos Clifford.
A community celebration under the sky! Dance music by DJ Mark Clifford! Meet the authors and get a signed book : M.Amos Clifford; Nadine Mazzola; Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, MD; Mary Reynolds Thompson; Lety Siebel; Tamarack Song.
We work with the land and each other to bring forward the story of forest therapy as each of us have received it.
Sylvie will address the state of our species in our relationship with nature and discuss the latest science about nature and the brain, with a few anecdotes for levity and storytelling.