Hosting experiential art events in urban nature, I have learned a few things:

1. Time spent in “nature” with our non-human neighbors is deeply beneficial–linked to significant health benefits ranging from reduced anxiety and depression to lowered risk of cancer and heart disease.

2. Even small and wounded patches of wildness have the capacity to heal and to be healed.

3. The increasingly fast and virtual nature of our everyday realities is disastrous to our bodies and to the body of the earth. Tuning into our senses and enjoying the sensations of the physical place that we occupy has profound spiritual and political implications. These experiences inspire a sense of belonging and compel me to defend the sacredness of the earth. By contrast, time spent online and rushing from meeting to meeting leaves me feeling too passive and drained to follow through on purposeful work.

4. The urgent environmental issues that we face have their roots within our psyches. In order to “fix” the world out there, we must work to heal the wound of separation within ourselves.

These realizations led me to enroll in a forest therapy guide program offered through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. I am excited to host my first forest therapy walk with fellow guide-in-training Ryan Harroun and collaborator Julia Sosin! On Friday, October 25, 2019, our forest therapy walk will occur in Palmer Park in Detroit, Michigan, as part of the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit (GLBD) Conference.

The GLBD Conference will bring together people who are working for a more just, lively and beautiful world–youth and indigenous activists (such as Mishka Banuri and Casey Camp-Horinek, respectively), along with local ecologists and neighbors–sharing a mission to make their yards and cities wilder and more hospitable to life. Come, find your people, and together we will change the world. To register to attend the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference, please visit their website.

Registration takes place from 8am until 9am on Friday, October 25 in the Detroit Mercy Student Union (4001 W. McNichols Rd). Buses to Palmer Park depart at 9:30am and return at 11:45am.

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