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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.
Our trainers are among the most experienced guides in the world and each one undergoes a rigorous training process beyond their certification as guides.
In this training, you will learn:
- The Standard Sequence of Guided Forest Therapy Walks
- Professional standards and competencies: what a Forest Therapy Guide should know and be able to do
- The pedagogy and fundamentals of nature connection
- 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
- Creating space for others to find their own authentic nature connection
- Accelerating connection to deep mindfulness and bodyfulness through simple sensory invitations
- What makes a good setting for forest therapy
- How to facilitate restorative human connection through storytelling and witnessing
- Our theoretical framework of deep nature connection through embodiment, liminality, reciprocity and relationship
- 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.
Shire in the Woods
Shire in the Woods is a private, wooded retreat center tucked away in the Solana State Forest, and has achieved a delicate balance between inviting coziness and the wilds that surround it. It is built not only to encourage restfulness, but connection with both the land and the people who inhabit it.
The Shire in the Woods boasts a community space, library, wood burning sauna, 5 miles of groomed trails, tended gardens, ponds, tree swings and hammocks, outdoor fire pits, and access to trails in the Solana State Forest. While the Shire has forests and meadows on its property, it is also surrounded by wetlands: offering a variety of landscapes, environments, and wildlife. It is, as its name suggests, a verdant sanctuary of peace, comfort, and natural beauty.
There are two large cabins reserved for our trainees on site. There are a limited number of single and shared rooms reserved, at prices ranging from $50-55/night + tax (prices will reduce further as more people book).
Participants may also book separate accommodations onsite. Private cabins are available for $80/night + tax.
Camping is available and costs $50/night + tax. There are two tents for rent for a fee. Campers will have use of the facilities and common areas.
If someone would prefer to commute, day use is $25/day + tax.
With this venue, it is best to book early to ensure availability. All requests for reservations and questions about the accommodations can be directed to the venue.
The venue is around an hour’s drive from Duluth International Airport, and a little under two hours from Minneapolis.
Meals will be catered (for campers as well) for $53/day, including tax. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets can be accommodated. The cabins also have fully equipped kitchens for participant use.
Tuition for the six-month Guide Training and Certification Program is $3410 USD. This includes the week-long intensive training and six months of mentored practicum. It does not include travel, lodging, ground transportation, or meals. If you wish to book with Shine in the Woods, you must make your own arrangements; the cost is not included in the tuition.
Shire in the Woods
Nadine is founder and director of New England Nature and Forest Therapy Consulting through which she does work as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, speaking and corporate wellness consulting. She also works with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) as their Practicum Director and has been training and mentoring new guides since 2016. As a cancer survivor, practicing good self-care is Nadine's most important guiding principle for herself. She has come to know the healing and support that nature can offer us through her own personal wellness journey. Nadine has a business and marketing background and was formerly a world professional pocket billiards player competing on the Women's Professional Billiard Tour. Also, an artist, she facilitates Expressive Arts classes often incorporating elements of forest therapy throughout. She works with a wide variety of populations including the corporate business world, wellness professionals, people affected by cancer, students, special needs and seniors. A Massachusetts native who loves spending time forest bathing with her dog Nadine is also writing a book, “Forest Bathing with Your Dog”. She is joyous to be sharing forest bathing and creating environments for forest therapy. Nadine is available for consulting, group forest bathing workshops and speaking engagements.
Vicky Kyan is the first ANFT Certified Guide, Mentor and Trainer in the Southern Hemisphere. She is a strong advocate for the practice of Nature and Forest Therapy, and for the promotion of trainings in the South Pacific. She is largely inspired by her local ocean beach, seashore and estuary ecosystems, where she has pioneered this work since her Guide Training with ANFT in North California in May 2015.
Vicky operates a small Homestay holiday retreat, where she offers ‘Wellbeing Wanders’ Nature and Forest Therapy guided experiences. When she is not travelling she uses her Pacific Island home as a base for mentoring ANFT trainee guides and building network with nature connection contacts both nationally and around the world. She is also an active member of the ANFT International Training Team and travels to trainings around the world.