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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.
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.
Bethel Farm is set on 50 acres of private, quiet land and is surrounded by several hundred acres more of forest and meadows. At its core, it is an organic farm, but has become a place for people to meditate, practice yoga, find peace, and reconnect to the land.
The farm has winding trails throughout the surrounding forests and gardens. There are small nooks to be explored -- some with ponds and waterfalls, as well as trails that can be explored while barefoot. The rooms are minimalist and humble, but offer purity in simplicity and comfort.
Contact Stephen at Bethel Farm to arrange lodging. Phone: 603-464-5985; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a limited number of shared rooms, a small shared cabin, and a dorm. Each room costs $100/night and includes the price of 3 meals a day and linens.
Camping is available on several platforms for $85/night, which includes the price of 3 meals a day as well. There are tents available for rent at a small fee.
If someone needs to stay off site, they can purchase meals for $55 a day and a day pass.
Bethel Farm is a 50 minute drive from Manchester, NH and an hour and 45 minute drive from Boston, MA.
Meal prices are built into the price of accommodations, which includes camping as well. This is a vegetarian venue, and no meat or fish is allowed on the premises. If you have other dietary restrictions, you should notify Bethel Farm as soon as possible so that they have adequate notice to accommodate them.
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 Bethel Farm, you must make your own arrangements; the cost is not included in the tuition. Please check current exchange rates for conversion to USD or other currencies.
Nadine is founder and director of New England Nature and Forest Therapy Consulting thru 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.
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.