This 3-hour immersive walk in nature will be mostly silent, honor each participant’s personal space, and cover just about a mile and half over generally flat surfaces. We encourage a phone-free experience, but this is not required and is solely dependent on your comfort level.
Throughout the walk, we will be providing multiple “invitations” or suggested ways to connect with your surroundings. These invitations are not assignments or exercises. There is no “right way” to do them. However you personally respond to the invitations is exactly how the invitations should be received. If you’re uncomfortable with a specific invitation, feel free to modify it in a way that works for you. At the end of each invitation exploration, we’ll gather and share a few words. Sharing is always optional. The walk will conclude with a tea ceremony.
Our destinations are public places; solitude from other visitors is not expected nor guaranteed.
Please dress appropriately for the weather. If the conditions are chilly, dress far warmer than you think you’ll need, as you will not be able to rely upon body heat generated from quick movement to keep you warm. Rain heightens the senses, so we will continue to walk in the rain unless there is lightning and thunder. Your safety is our primary concern, and walks will be canceled and rescheduled in the event of severe weather watch or warning.
Be prepared for possible sunburn, insect bites, allergy conditions, excessive heat, and excessive cold. When appropriate, please bring necessary repellents, weather protection, medications, and plenty of water.
While we will not be in the remote wilderness, access to drinkable water and restrooms may be limited. Please be prepared to carry enough water to stay hydrated during our time together. The Welcome Letter all participants receive before the walk will detail the facilities available.
Who it is geared toward: This event is geared toward all people over the age of 12 who are able to slowly traverse an unpaved/gravel path.
What makes it unique: Nature and Forest Therapy, or Forest Bathing, is a different kind of immersion in nature than you may have experienced in the past. Our walks are not fitness hikes. They are not naturalist-led point-and-name tours, nor are they psychotherapy in a natural setting. Instead, our walks are most like guided walking meditation, paired with tactile attention to and connection with nature. We guide invitations—suggested ways to connect with your surroundings at any given time—that are crafted to awaken your senses, encourage you to take in nature at a much slower pace than you’re probably accustomed to, and enliven a more conscious connection with the inherent healing properties of nature.
Crafted to refresh, reconnect, and revitalize, our walks are an antidote to the pace and distraction of modern life. They’re an opportunity to:
unplug from technology
allow nature to invigorate our immune and cardiovascular systems
bring a sense of grounded equilibrium to our mental health
reintroduce us to our balance in the ever-changing world
Our walks are inspired by the Japanese art and science of Shinrin-Yoku (a research-based practice translating as “Forest Bathing” or “taking in the forest with all of one’s senses”), which seeks to explore the physiological, cognitive, and emotional benefits gained through time spent in this manner. Our approach integrates the scientific insights gained over nearly 40 years of rigorous Japanese government-sanctioned study, ancient wild-tending methods practiced for millennia by indigenous peoples worldwide, and our certification through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.
Leigha Horton is a Certified Guide and Mentor for the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, and has 19 years experience in the museum field developing and delivering programming about science, history, and the arts to thousands of visitors at the Walker Art Center, The Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota History Center. She resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her beloved fiancé, the best pup in the entire world, and three very surprising cats.