Living in a dense urban population can make it difficult to practice connecting to nature. Concrete, cars, and humans dominate the landscape in cities, and opportunities to drop into the senses and explore relationship with the more-than-human-world may seem far-fetched. However, they are not impossible. In fact, opportunities arise daily for city-dwellers, yet most often they go unnoticed. Forest Therapy Guide Bibi Calderaro shares with us her story of connection while deep in the New York urban jungle. May this story encourage all the readers who are city-dwellers to find moments of relation such as this one, and to recognize that opportunity to connect with the natural can be found in even the most human-dominant places.
For many of us at ANFT, we feel a deep, innate sense of love and connection to trees- that is why we are in this work. But have you ever wondered where this deep love comes from? Is there clues in our ancestral past which point to this connection? Is there more to our love than just our personal experiencing with trees and the forest? Forest Therapy Guide and ANFT Staff member Denell Nawrocki answers some of these questions. Prompted for an Indigenous Medicine class for her graduate school program, Denell uncovered her ancestral connection to her love of trees and dove deep into historical connection of this reverence. We hope you find this piece intriguing and inspires you to dive into your own ancestral connection to your love of trees and nature.
The beginning of Spring is only days away for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Although we are grateful for the return of the light and warmth, we like to reflect on the Winter season and notice the unique offerings it brings to those of us who spend time in the forest. In this weeks piece, Forest Therapy Guide Robin Hancock shares with us her touching story of how the Winterized forest held her through the grief process and through which emerged a new found appreciation and admiration of the Winter season. We hope this piece stirs your heart as it did ours, and supports you in your journey of appreciation for the darkest season of all.
There are only a couple of short weeks left until we can officially call it 'Spring' here at the ANFT headquarters in California. We have had a wet, wet winter, yet we are noticing the signs of warmth just around the corner: mainly, new buds emerging from the trees. This new grow has led us to notice the trees more as they spring back into life from hibernation. On our daily office walks around the neighborhood, we have been in inquiry about connecting with a tree near us, even if it happens to be next to a street or a sidewalk. Guest writer Barry Lee gives us a simple invitation of making the conscious and aware act of befriending a tree, and we further this by inviting you to notice the changes the tree goes through as it moves from its winter-sleep to an awakened and alive state in the Spring (for those in the Northern hemisphere). We hope you enjoy the process of befriending a tree, and also invite you to share you experiences in the comments below. Happy friendship building!
One aspect of Nature and Forest Therapy that we emphasize a lot here at ANFT is the healing which comes from tuning into your senses and opening up the the full sensory experience of being in a forest. We also talk about how there are chemicals in the forest air which when inhaled (regardless of tuning into them or not), supports the human body to heal and regenerate. Guest writer Randy Eady explores this topic and provides a highly interesting and informative piece on just how our Olfactory sense is initiated while in a forest environment. We hope you find this piece as fascinating as we did, and next time you suddenly get that 'forest' smell in your nose, know that it is highly beneficial for your health and well-being.
Blog pieces are written by ANFT Writers, guest contributors, and introduced by Blog Editor Denell Nawrocki. Submissions may be emailed to Denell at ANFTsubmissions@gmail.com for consideration.