It's been a long time coming ...
“The Forest is the therapist ... the Guide opens the doors”
From a small child, nature has played an important role in my life. The rock-pools on the beach, the tall trees swaying gracefully, the flowers, sky, clouds, stars, wind, rain and snow ... all of the creatures, animals and birds. They were all a source of delight, mystery and wonder as I grew up - and they continue to inspire and thrill me today.
In recent years, I have delighted in leading mindful walks in the woods. To my joy, I was approached by Kent Wildlife Trust, who invited me to run 'Noticing Nature' walks every Friday - which I did for a year, until the project closed.
For decades, I have felt a calling to not only deepen my own connection with nature - but to encourage others to deepen theirs too, so that they can share the richness, wonder, beauty and peace it brings.
In Spring of 2017, I read about something called 'forest bathing' - and I immediately knew that this was something I needed to do - in fact much more than that ... I knew this was my calling. I immediately Googled it - and the top hit was to the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) who are the global leaders. Although there was no training available in the UK at that time, I connected with the ANFT founder - M. Amos Clifford - who said they were thinking of running some UK training the following year ... which is exactly what happened.
In May 2018, I completed an intensive immersion training week at Dartington Hall in Devon - which was quite a profound journey in itself! I became part of Cohort 24 - some of the most authentic and inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Then came 6 months of study towards certification. The Practicum challenged me in many ways - and I developed and grew hugely through this rich experience. I had a great mentor to guide me and the support from my 'tribe' - Cohort 24 - definitely helped me through. I met the Practicum deadline of end November 2018 and was then advised that I had been successful, culminating in a Graduation Call earlier this month.
I am now a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide - the only Certified ANFT Guide in Kent and one of just a handful in the UK. Even across the whole globe there are only several hundred Guides, so I am privileged to be a part of this community ... you can check out the Guide Map here.
So - my formal certification has been a while coming ... a lifetime, actually. But it is here to stay.
I am so excited that I have the opportunity to help people connect deeply with nature and the positive benefits that forest therapy will bring them. I encourage you to visit my Forest Therapy page to find out more about it - or contact me to arrange to experience it for yourself.
I am in the throes of planning a programme of Forest Therapy experiences - and I will be sure to post there here on the Updates and Events page, so please do stay tuned!
“Just being in nature for 15 minutes is scientifically proven to be a ‘natural de-stressor’ and has many benefits to our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.”