A Forest Therapy Guide facilitates safe gentle walks, providing instructions—referred to as “invitations”—for sensory opening activities along the way. These walks follow a standard sequence. Each walk begins with establishing embodied contact with the present moment and place. Next come a series of connective invitations, often improvised in the moment and adapted to the needs of participants. These may be followed by wander time and/or sit spot. The walks end with a ceremony of sharing tea made from foraged local plants.
Forest therapy walks are not hikes in the traditional sense. An entire walk is typically 2 to 4 hours in duration and often covers no more than a quarter mile distance. In that short distance most people experience contact with nature in a much deeper way than they ever have prior to the walk. On Forest Therapy walks, people have a wide range of experiences, some of which they feel are significant, even profound. Guides are trained in the skills and perspectives needed to be supportive witnesses of these experiences.
During these walks people experience the therapeutic power of the forest. The forest itself is the therapist. We don't train therapists; we train guides. By slowing people down and facilitating sensory experiencing, guides open the doorways through which the forest can accomplish its healing work.
You will learn:
- The Standard Sequence of Guided Forest Therapy Walks
- Competency standards: what a Forest Therapy Guide should know and be able to do
- The pedagogy and fundamentals of nature connection mentoring
- Nature and forest therapy research and effects on health care and well-being
- Our framework for the Way of the Guide, wisdom on the inner aspects of the art gained through decades of experience
- The leadership skills and style of the Guide archetype
- Accelerating connection to deep mindfulness through simple sensory invitations
- What makes a good setting for forest therapy
- How to facilitate social connection, to strengthen nature connection
- Sequencing forest therapy invitations for maximum impact and benefit
- Expressive arts activities for forest therapy
- Somatic techniques for embodied awareness
- Our aim is simple: to train competent guides. However, many participants report that this training profoundly affects many aspects of their lives.
Community of the Great Commission
Community of the Great Commission is settled on a ridge between the forks of the American river. Offering breathtaking views of the Crystal Range mountains, CGC rests on 428 acres in the Sierra Nevada Foothills with towering pines, panoramic views all around, and wide, easy paths. The land at this venue is perfect for forest therapy and is a beautiful place to bathe in the autumnal light streaming between the branches, but is also a place of excitement, discovery, and fresh air.
Community of the Great Commission offers the Claar house, as well as camping. The Claar house boasts of beautiful natural light, a large meeting space, and a fireplace that keeps the house warm and cozy. Accommodations are humble but comfortable, and there will be a large kitchen for midnight snacks. Rooms in the Claar House will be shared, and vary from 2-4 people maximum.
Those who choose to camp will have access to the facilities at the Claar House, but will need to bring their own camping equipment.
The cost to stay 7 nights in the Claar House, with all meals paid, will be $800.
The cost to tent camp 7 nights on the property, with all meals paid, will be $425.
If you have been accepted and enrolled into our program, you can make your reservation and payment for your accommodations through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community of the Great Commission is approximately an hour and twenty minutes from Sacramento International Airport. Reception isn't strong on the road to the retreat center (but the views are incredible), so we recommend writing or printing our directions beforehand if needed.
Meals will be catered, nourishing, and are included with the cost of accommodations. Community of the Great Commission is able to accommodate special dietary needs as long as they are given at least 30 days notice. All questions and dietary needs can be communicated to email@example.com directly.
There are also cooking facilities in the Claar House for those who would like to snack during the day or want to bring something special with them.
$3410. Please note that this is the cost of tuition and does not include transportation, meals, or accommodations.
Ronna Schneberger is a professional naturalist and hiking guide, speaker, coach and yoga/ meditation teacher. She is an award-winning guide and Master Interpreter in the Canadian Mountain Parks. She is the first person in Alberta to guide the simple yet powerful Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku. As faculty with Leadership Development at the Banff Centre, Ronna has been working with professionals and executives using nature as the teacher to create powerful reflections and transformation. She knows that when people feel connected to nature they become connected to themselves, others and everything else in their life becomes clear.
As a certified nature and forest therapy guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, Jackie loves guiding people for an immersive experience in Nature. She also loves teaching others how to make certain Chinese food, including dumplings. So she combined her two passions and launched a successful AirBnB Experience called “Forest Bathing with Jiazi Dumplings” in the spring of 2018. Born and raised in rural China, Jackie spent a lot of time outdoors as a child, helping her grandmother gather firewood and following her grandfather around as he raised buffaloes. She came to the United States as a PhD candidate in 1990 and made Los Angeles her home after completing her studies. Besides leading forest therapy walks, Jackie also does translation work and advocates for her autistic son Chris.