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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.
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 3 double rooms, a 5 person dorm, a 10 person dorm, and 7 tent platforms that can fit 11people, (there are no single rooms). There are both indoor and outdoor bathroom facilities forpeople staying both inside and outside. There is also a cabin with two floors, which is up a short hillfrom the rest of the farm. One mattress is on the ground floor and the other is in the loft.Rooms cost $100/night per person, which includes the price of food, linens, pillows, and towels.Camping is available for $85/night per person and will also include the price of food. It’s possible thatnights can be cold, so campers should be well equipped. The venue does not supply sleeping pads,bedding or towels to campers.There are three 8’ x 8’ platforms appropriate for 2 person tents, and four 8’ x 10’ platforms appropriatefor 4 person tents.There are tents available for rent: $5/night for a two-person tent (which will actually fit one person), and$10/night for a four-person tent (which will actually fit two people).People can also bring their own equipment.For people who aren't staying on site, there is a day use fee of $35 per person per day.Rooms and tent platforms will be assigned in the order in which requests are received by the venue.Requests by participants should be emailed directly to bethelfarmyoga@gmail, not as part of athread.
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.
Stana Luxford Oddie
Forest Therapy Guide, Mentor and Trainer
Stana has been working for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) for over twenty years as the Senior Conservation Educator. Inspired by Earth Education, the Coyote’s Guide to Nature Connection and Forest schools, Stana aims to connect people with their head, heart and hands to nature. Through the CRCA, Stana brings Forest Therapy walk experiences to the community, private and public organizations and continues to pilot Forest Therapy to elementary and secondary school aged children and youth. The CRCA was the first conservation authority in Ontario to offer Forest Therapy which is now rapidly spreading to other CAs.
Stana received her BA from the University of Waterloo in 1998, in the Applied Studies Co-op program with Honours History. She earned her Bachelor of Education at Queen’s in 1999 from the Specialized Outdoor and Experiential Education Program.
Her work related to Forest Therapy continues to open her heart and deepen her relationship with all beings.
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.