Council of Waters & Trees

Jouvence Lodge in Winter

Full with Wait List

Immersion 8-11 Oct 2018
YMCA of the Rockies Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado

Fall in the Rocky Mountains: Council with the Aspens and the waters of mountain streams. Listen to the voices of the more-than-human world, hear what they are asking of us in the times we are in.

Who should attend
Schedule Overview

In this four-day program we enter the liminal space of renewed possibility for deepening our connection with the more-than-human world through Forest Therapy and The Way of Council.

​Forest Therapy
is the practice of sensory connection to come into intimate relationship with the more-than-human world and with each other. A series of guided invitations bring us into the present moment, opening the doors of communication with the forest, waters, and landscapes we explore. We encounter not just the forest, but through the many mirrors of nature, we also encounter ourselves.

The Way of Council is a process of communication with ourselves and each other that supports deepening into our experience. Through council we can discover the meaning of our emerging stories through sharing and being witnessed in circle. Council invites us to become more intimate with our own lives, and support each other as we move through our processes of learning, growing, grieving, and healing. Because it invites authentic expression, council can be quite intimate. Your facilitators will show how the form of Council can create space that is both vulnerable and safe.

Restorative Practices build on the Way of Council to create opportunities for exploring and healing harms in relationships. In the Council of Waters and Trees we introduce "Aloha Ropes," a restorative practice developed by Amos Clifford. Inspired by the Hawaiian tradition of Ho'oponopono and other sources, we will use this practice to deepen our relationship with the more-than-human world of nature. Through Aloha Ropes we will discover how the land can listen and speak to us, and through us give voice to its longings, wisdom, and needs.  Like Council, Aloha Ropes is a method that can be readily transferred into other settings such as schools and communities.

This four-day journey will allow us to sink deeply into the medicine of the forest. Mornings will be spent immersing ourselves in the experiential practices of Forest Therapy.  Afternoon Council meetings support the deep rooting of the medicine the forest has offered us. We will experience the brief "light touch" council as it is used in Forest Therapy as well as diving into the deeper practice and learning-by-doing the core skills of council leadership.

Who the Council of Waters and Trees is for: We recommend this if you are interested in ecotherapy, forest therapy, and experiencing the Council format. It will emphasize deep nature connection as a practice of connecting with our own wisdom, personal and group insights, and pathways to wellness. ​​

  • You are curious about Council and/or Forest Therapy and would like to learn more about these powerful connective practices.
  • You are a therapist or helping professional who would like to learn powerful techniques of eco-therapy.
  • You have a desire to deeply immerse yourself and be held by the healing power of the forest, making time for both self-reflection and community sharing.
  • You are a Forest Therapy Guide/Guide-in-training and wish to deepen your understanding of Council Practice.
  • You are interested in how Council and Forest Therapy work together as a deeply restorative practice supporting wellness of people and the many other species and places upon which we depend.
  • You are considering becoming a Forest Therapy Guide and want to know more about it before committing to the training.

Council of Waters and Trees: Schedule for Estes Park event.

  • October 7: Take the 1:00 PM shuttle from DIA (reservation required; $85 round-trip) for a late afternoon start. We will have introductory activities and an evening lecture.  We will also organize logistics such as food shopping, transportation, and other needs. Dinner at 6:00 pm.
  • October 8: Breakfast on your own, activities from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sack lunch provided. Dinner at 6:00 pm.  Guided Forest Therapy Walk and Council. Introduction to Restorative Dialogue with the More-than-Human World.
  • October 9:  Breakfast on your own, activities from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sack lunch provided. Dinner at 6:00 pm.  Guided Forest Therapy activities, Council, and Introduction to Imaginal Communication.
  • October 10:  Breakfast on your own, activities from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sack lunch provided. Dinner at 6:00 pm. ​ Self-Guided Forest Therapy. Structured solo forest wander with restorative dialogue with the more-than-human world. Council of Waters and Trees.
  • October 11: Breakfast on your own. Check out of rooms before we begin the morning workshop at 9:00 am. We will end at noon so those who need to can catch the 1:00 pm shuttle back to DIA.  Brief Forest experience and Incorporation Council.

Airport: Denver International (DIA)
Shuttle Service:Available>> ($85 round trip from DIA, reservations required)
Location: YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park
​Meals: Lunches and Dinners provided
Lodging: Double Occupancy in large lodge with common room and other amenities
Lodging and Meals: $298 for four nights
Tuition: $795 USD
Total Cost (does not include travel): $1,093

Fitness Requirements: This event will be at higher elevation (7,500 feet) and will include short walks (up to 1/2 mile) on easy to moderate trails, at a slow pace. Typical weather for this time of year is cool with nightime lows near freezing and daytime highs in the 60s.  ​

About the Venue:

YMCA of the Rockies Colorado

Graced by the awe-inspiring mountains, elk, deer and other wildlife and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, YMCA of the Rockies’ Estes Park Center offers a wholesome, spiritual environment where families, friends and groups will be inspired by Nature and grow closer together.

Surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park, which was recently recognized as the #1 Outdoor & Adventure Destination in the United States, Estes Park Center is a unique mountain community offering more recreational and programming activities than any other area property. In addition to wildlife viewing, activities include individual and guided hiking tours into the park, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, hayrides, a zip line, two performing arts centers, a variety of educational programs and one of the finest craft shops in America.

The quaint town of nearby Estes Park, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colorado and one of the highest-rated family destinations in the U.S., offers a variety of restaurants, shops and festivals throughout the year, and more wildlife than any other destination in Colorado. Elk, deer and an occasional bear frequent both Estes Park Center and the town of Estes Park.

One of the YMCA of the Rockies two facilities, Estes Park Center offers a variety of affordable accommodations, including family and family reunion cabins (most with fireplaces), and comfortable lodge rooms located close to the Center’s core recreational, dining and meeting facilities.

Whether enjoying the many activities offered or admiring the spectacular natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the plentiful wildlife at Estes Park Center, families, friends and groups will be inspired by Nature and grow closer together.


Airport: Denver International (DIA)
Shuttle Service:Available>> ($85 round trip from DIA, reservations required)


$795 tuition (10% discount for ANFT Members)
$298 Lodging and Meals

About the Venue:

YMCA of the Rockies Colorado

Amos Clifford is the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and author of the best selling Your Guide to Forest Bathing (Conari Press 2018). A student of Buddhist philosophy for over 20 years, Amos founded Sky Creek Dharma Center in Chico, California, where he emphasized the importance of meditation practice in wild places. Amos is also widely known for his work in restorative justice. He is founder of the Center for Restorative Process, where he has led the inquiry into how the principles of restorative justice can inform ways to heal the broken relationships between humans and the more-than-human world of nature. Amos holds a BS in Organization Development and an MA in Counseling from the University of San Francisco. Amos has been the primary developer of ANFT's acclaimed training programs.

Christy is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide and Mentor. Her forest therapy practice works primarily through local organizations: counseling services, local and state parks, and ACRES landtrust. Indiana's beautiful deciduous forests are wonderful, all four seasons. She also guides walks for the Western Dupage Special Recreation Association. She is currently in school studying Environmental Science, with a minor in Religious Studies. Besides her interest in indigenous people's use of plant medicine and the translation of that in to modern herbal medicine, Christy is deeply involved in a personal inquiry around the intersection of faith traditions and forest therapy, and she leads quarterly discussions with guides on this topic. She is the music program director for the local YMCA, a violinist and vocalist. She finds her quiet time in the outdoors to take the star role in her self-care.