Creative and Sensory Approaches to Forest Therapy

Mindfulness & Forest Therapy in the Federal Government & Personal Stories

Michelle Reugebrink
Mindfulness Teacher and Professional Coach
US Forest Service

Michelle Reugebrink is the Mindfulness & Program Manager & professional Coach for the Office of The Chief USFS Work Environment & Performance Office. Michelle’s recent positions held were Civil Rights Training Specialist & Health, Wellness, and Resiliency Manager. Michelle worked for 16 years on wildland fire engines, hand crews, and hotshot crews. She worked several years as an Occupational Health and Safety Manager for the Pacific Southwest Region in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands. Michelle was featured in the April 2018, 5th anniversary edition of Mindful magazine for her work around MBSR and coaching. Michelle was also featured in TIME magazine’s anniversary addition September 2018 for her work in teaching mindfulness. She received the Regional Forester’s Honor Award in Safety Leadership in November, 2011. Michelle is a National Board for Health and Wellness Coach (NBHWC), a Professional Integrative Health Coach through Duke University’s Integrative Medicine program, a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF-PCC), an Executive coach, and a member of the Global Integrative Health Coaching Alliance. Michelle is a graduate of the Federal Internal Coaching program and is the Forest Service’s point of contact for assigning USFS employees access to a Federal Internal coach through Office of Personnel Management. Michelle also provides health coaching for soldiers in Afghanistan. Michelle is a Certified Personal Trainer through American Council on Exercise. Michelle is a certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Michelle completed Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Resiliency training to benefit First Responders. Michelle co-authored two Pocket guides, “Stress Control and Resilience and Crisis Intervention” and “Recovering from Traumatic Stress”, in 2014.

In April of 2012, Michelle was part of a documentary for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation to share stories and learn from a fatality fire in 1994 “Storm King Mountain”. In 2008, Baskin-Robbins and the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation named Michelle Reugebrink one of America's 31 Firefighting Heroes. This honor recognizes her for outstanding acts of valor and commitment to the ideals of community service and protection of life as a Forest Safety Officer and wildland firefighter. In 2007, Michelle received the Chief's award for Health and Safety, in honor of and appreciation for "Her Passion and Caring for Employee Safety & Well Being." Michelle is a member of the Central Valley & Sierra Foothills Critical Incident Stress Management Team, qualified in Crisis Management Briefing, Defusing and CISD (Debriefing), Individual & Group Crisis Intervention. Michelle is also a Peer-coach Trainer - Helping firefighters deal with psychological stress from daily routine and extraordinary events.

Michelle is qualified soccer coach through the American Sports Education Program and coached 10 years for American Youth Soccer Organization and is and Advanced soccer Coach for AYSO. Michelle is married to Robert Reugebrink who works for the USFS as a Road Manager. They have two sons Preston & Winston who do collegiate downhill biking. Her oldest son just completed his major in Health Science and starting the Physician Assistance (PA) program and clinical hours. Her youngest son is in his 3 yr. of college and studying Electrical Engineering. Their family is avid outdoor people. They enjoy hiking / dirt bikes / quads / downhill mountain biking. They love spending time together. They have a cat named Aki. Java Michelle’s beloved dog passed on 12/11/17. The most important thing to Michelle is to provide the container for every person to be present, feel accepted, hold optimal health and well-being, and enjoy their life and loved ones fully, and to bring their BEST energy to those who mean the most to them at the end of the day.

“Enjoy Being. Remember, do not worry about tomorrow as you will lose today.” ~ Michelle Reugebrink