Photo: The ANFT International Training Team at annual trainers' summit, Joshua Tree California, January 2019
What Distinguishes ANFT: Our methods and scope of practice are based upon scientifically backed research in health science. We teach our forest therapy guides a standard sequence of techniques that assist participants in receiving the full health impacts of forest medicine. The standard sequence provides a strong framework that helps participants slow down, awaken their senses, and reconnect with the more than human world, and it is culturally neutral so that it can be creatively adapted to working with an incredible diversity of populations. Our forest therapy practice operates within the paradigm of holistic healing; the medicine of the forest is a complex wellness experience, good for the body, the mind, and the spirit.

Our forest therapy guide training is more than a set of techniques, it is also a pathway to understand what it means to be a guide. A Forest Therapy Guide works with the forest as a partner, to support the wellness and healing of people and nature alike. The guide is not a therapist; the forest is the therapist. Guides help others open the doors of their senses and heartfelt presence, so they can enter completely into a healing relationship with the forest and other places in the more-than-human world.

ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guides have gone on to found businesses in alternative health and eco-wellness tourism, work in the non-profit section for special populations, provide corporate wellness programs and retreats, incorporate our techniques in educational settings, and collaborate in wellness programs through botanical gardens, arboretums, and private and public land managers. What began as a dream from the Earth, to simply restore our relationship with the Forest, has become a global movement. We invite you to join us on this incredible path.
FIND A GUIDE NEAR YOU

We are an international community of Forest Therapy Guides who have been trained by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. There are more than 850 of us (growing each month), in 55 countries on six continents, guiding in a dozen or more languages and in many cultures. We share our love of the more-than-human world and a passion to skillfully guide others toward remembering our deep relationship with all beings. We are energized by our shared commitment to establishing forest therapy as a high-quality, standards-based practice that is recognized throughout the world as an effective way to promote the well-being of people and of forests.

The Association was founded by M. Amos Clifford in 2012. Amos combined elements of Shinrin-Yoku practice in Japan with his four decades of experience in wilderness guiding, Zen meditation, psychotherapy, educational consulting, and nature connection to create a framework for Forest Therapy that is now taught by many organizations.

The first training that ANFT provided for guides was held in California in 2014. By the end of 2018 we trained 37 guide cohorts and have developed training teams in other parts of the world. In September of 2018 a major milestone was providing our first guide training in a language other than English; we trained a cohort of guides in Spanish at a mountain retreat center in Spain. At the end of 2019 we trained 49 cohorts of guides in over 48 countries on six continents. We are a truly global organization with a commitment to creating practices that are appropriate for every culture.

What energizes our work is our love of nature; but also our sense of impending environmental catastrophe caused by  global overpopulation and Western Culture's emphasis on unsustainable patterns of consumption. Our contribution to finding solutions to these problems is to help as many people as possible to develop meaningful relationships with nature.

The reality is that most people don't spend much time in nature; and when we do, we are often distracted and don't interact meaningfully with the plants and other inhabitants of the forest. We agree with Jacques Cousteau that "people protect what they love." Love of nature arises naturally when we come into heartfelt, embodied relationship with it, a kind of relationship that is not characterized as much by "knowing the facts" as it is of our fundamental kinship with all beings.

We are inspired by the vision of mobilizing the largest referral network in the world—medical and healthcare systems, along with alternative and complementary healing modalities—to connect people with nature. There is now a large, robust body of research that soundly demonstrates what we have always known intuitively: that time in nature in good for us. The Association's role is to develop a solidly-grounded practice that supports the well-being of people and, by connecting them with nature, inspires millions to become advocates for healing our relationships with the more-than-human world.

Training Opportunities for Forest Therapy Guides

Administrative and Operations Staff

Amos Clifford

Founder | CEO

Liz Dawes

Trainer-in-Training

Sara Ahmadi

Chief Operations Officer

Angela Gross

Admissions & Venue Coordinator
Email

Caitlin Williams

Mentor Training Project Manager, Trainer and Mentor

Pam Andruskiewicz

Practicum Coordinator

Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D.

Medical Advisor

Michele Lott

Brand Manager and Product Designer

Trainers & Mentors

Toby Bloom

Mentor

Carlos Collado

Mentor, Trainer-in-Training

Carolynne Crawley

Trainer and Mentor

Robin Hancock

Mentor, Trainer-in-Training

Hanna-Kaisa Heilimo

Mentor

Leigha Horton

Mentor, Trainer-in-Training

Clare Kelley

Mentor

Jackie Kuang

Trainer and Mentor

Vicky Kyan

Trainer and Mentor

Stana Luxford-Oddie

Trainer & Mentor

Nadine Mazzola

Trainer and Mentor

Kat Novotna

Mentor, Trainer-in-Training

Ken Ouendag

Mentor

Ben "Crow" Page

Trainer and Mentor

Andrea Prazmowski

Trainer and Mentor

Darlene Rooney-Keller

Mentor, Traner-in-Training

Cayla Samano

Mentor

Ronna Schneberger

Trainer and Mentor

Manuela Siegfried

Trainer and Mentor

Brenda Spitzer

Mentor

Geeta Stilwell

Trainer & Mentor

Sari Telpner

Mentor

Christy Thomson

Trainer and Mentor

Jane West

Mentor, Trainer-in-Training

Tam Willey

Trainer and Mentor

Pamela Wirth

Mentor

Youmin Yap

Mentor

Amanda Yik

Mentor

Katarina Čuk

Mentor