Creative and Sensory Approaches to Forest Therapy

Weaving Song into Forest Therapy 2

Stana Luxford Oddie
Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Mentor, and Trainer
Christy Thomson
Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs

Stana has been working for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) for over twenty years as the Senior Conservation Educator.  Inspired by Earth Education, the Coyote’s Guide to Nature Connection and Forest schools, Stana aims to connect people with their head, heart and hands to nature.  Through the CRCA, Stana brings Forest Therapy walk experiences to the community, private and public organizations and continues to pilot Forest Therapy to elementary and secondary school aged children and youth.  The CRCA was the first conservation authority in Ontario to offer Forest Therapy which is now rapidly spreading to other CAs.

Stana received her BA from the University of Waterloo in 1998, in the Applied Studies Co-op program with Honours History. She earned her Bachelor of Education at Queen’s in 1999 from the Specialized Outdoor and Experiential Education Program.

Her work related to Forest Therapy continues to open her heart and deepen her relationship with all beings. Stana enjoys expressing her love by weaving song into her forest therapy guiding and nature connection practice.

ANFT guide, mentor, apprentice trainer and Immersions coordinator

Christy was born and raised in the northeast Indiana countryside, granddaughter into two large local farming families. She has always had an affinity for the land in Indiana; the farmland, the gardens she tends, the orchard on her land, time hiking with family, but also her escapes to the mountains, where her beloved pines grow. She grew up playing piano and violin, singing and performing for churches and organizations local and abroad in Europe. Her early college studies included German and Vocal performance.

She homeschooled her four children for 12 years starting in 2004, loving the constant opening to curiosity about the world that was bubbling out of them. Those years spent with them guided her to her work in forest therapy in many ways. As a mom, with the normal events of childhood illness and fueled by the desire to do the best for their growing bodies, she began an in-depth study of herbal medicine and alternative therapies. Plant medicine continues to be the major source of healing for her and her family. Allowing her child’s mind to arise again and following her own healing journey guided her to ANFT in 2016.

As a musician, she has taught violin and piano for nearly three decades and performed with many area orchestras. She plays with a string quartet and currently administers her music program through the local YMCA, teaching violin, viola, guitar, piano, cello and voice lessons, employing local teachers.

During her practicum, she enrolled in school studying Environmental science and Religious Studies. There, she discovered that her spiritual journey found a grounding. She plans to earn an MDiv in Theology starting in 2020, with her focus and research in eco-theology, a branch of feminist theology allowing her focus on her understanding of healthy embodiment and the connection to the divine’s embodiment in the more-than-human world.

She is thrilled at the opportunities being a guide has brought to her life. The way it has called out medicines in herself that were laying dormant has been a great exercise in self-compassion and gratitude. The growth has not been painless, but has been truly worth it, especially as she has the fortuity to share in other’s journeys as well, supporting them in their own work, as a friend, mentor and teacher.