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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.
Eco-Kamp Koren is a place of discovery, adventure, and reconnection with the beautiful world around us. It is the first campsite in Slovenia to be awarded the EU Ecolabel as an environmentally friendly campsite in 2011, and has existed in harmony with its beautiful surroundings ever since. This campsite is devoted to both the environment and the adventurers who live in it, and offers a range of affordable accommodations for those who want to stay by the aquamarine waters of Soča River. It sits atop a canyon formed by the river and offers beautiful views of the rushing river with white gravel banks.
While Eco-Kamp Koren is our most affordable location to attend this training, it certainly doesn’t lack in comfort. There are both campsites and chalets available for rent, and they can easily accommodate anyone with a campervan.
There are both chalets and campsites that have been reserved and are available to participants.
Each chalet has two bedrooms, which both have two single beds. These can serve as double rooms or the beds can be pushed together to serve as a single. Each chalet also has a living room, a tv, free wi-fi, a dining area, and a small equipped kitchen.
Single rooms cost 40 euro a night and double rooms cost 35 euro a night. There is a small tourist tax per night of 1-2 euro depending on the number of people sharing a space, as well as a cleaning fee for each chalet of 40 euro to be split between the rooms of each chalet. The rooms in chalets are expected to go quickly, so we recommend that once you confirm your enrollment, you promptly book your accommodations which you can do through the campsite directly. You will need to pay a deposit to the venue to reserve your space.
There are also campsites reserved which offer access to electric hook-ups and bbqs. Campsites cost 12.5 euro a night per person, which, again, does not include a small tourist tax of 1-2 euro. Electrical hookups cost 4 euro a day. Campers have access to multiple clean bathrooms, warm showers, a washer and dryer, and wi-fi.
Tents can be rented for 10 euro a day and can fit 3 people each.
ANFT will be coordinating a shuttle to and from Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport to Kamp Koren that will cost 15 euro per person each way. The trip takes approximately 2 hours.
There are kitchens in each chalet and barbecues at the campsites. There is a supermarket within a 5-minute walk, and a small store in the campsite that carries food for lunch and dinner as well, so there should be an abundance of options for mealtime.
Participants are responsible for the coordination of their own meals. Often times, participants will coordinate and share meals together when there isn’t catering, but those arrangements will not be arranged by ANFT for this training.
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, transportation, or meals.
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.
Carolynne Crawley is a Mi'kmaw woman with mixed ancestry from the East Coast. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice and supporting Indigenous led community work related to food sovereignty and food security. Carolynne has worked with one of Canada’s largest food security organizations for the past decade. She was the Indigenous Food Access Manager. During her time as the IFA Manager, she worked with remote communities along the James Bay to support the increase of access to affordable and healthy foods, developed a cross cultural youth program focusing upon the Indigenous way of being in relationship with land, and organized a province wide Indigenous Food Sovereignty Gathering that included ceremonies and networking opportunities. In a previous role, she built school food gardens, created and facilitated curriculum -linked food literacy programs for both students and teachers.
Carolynne is passionate about connecting people with the land, themselves, and with each other. She leads workshops in relationship building to develop and strengthen healthy, reciprocal relationships based upon Indigenous teachings that decolonize existing interactions with the land. She is also a Forest Therapy Trainer and Mentor. She leads trainings world-wide. She is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. On occasion she offers workshops focusing upon healthy eating on a budget. Previously, Carolynne has worked, as a Child & Youth Worker for two decades supporting people with developmental and mental health needs.
Carolynne is in the process of launching her new business, in early 2019, Msit Nokmaq which translates to All of My Relations in Mi’kmaw. She has had the pleasure of working with universities and colleges to create opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of food security and food sovereignty, along with connecting with the land. Currently, Carolynne works as an Independent Contractor, Consultant, and Public Speaker.
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.
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.