2nd Forest and Nature Based Health & Wellbeing Practices SUMMIT

18 -21 June 2020

WHY

You will have the unique opportunity to learn directly from practitioners of Nature Connection, Nature & Mental Health and Forest & Wellbeing Practices

21 speakers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, USA & Spain,  

HOW IT WORKS

1 Topic per day, 4/6 speakers per day, 45 minutes per talk

The talks have a webinar format with 25 minutes talk and 20 minutes for questions. It will be hosted in English.

The cost for the 4 days summit is 20 euros with all profits going to a number of local environmental charities.

“Once you have paid you will have access to all the live talks and also access to the recordings for three days from the 22nd-24th June if you can not make some of the talks".

Thursday 18th June - Nature Connection

Marc Ayats

Nature for All. How can nature connection improve the lives of the most vulnerable?

The nature-based pioneering “Nature for All” project was created in 2008 as part of the Balearic Islands Spanish Red Cross efforts to improve the lives of people, especially the most vulnerable. The objective of this project is to boost the wellbeing of vulnerable people by rediscovering or deepening their connection with nature. Since then, under this conceptual umbrella, a range of diverse sub-projects and activities have been developed, that could be categorized into two groups: social and therapeutic horticulture activities (eco-social gardens, urban gardens) and nature bathing activities (groups trips and hikes). A brief description of each one is explored, with its objectives, necessities of people attended, methodology applied and results when available (mostly qualitative).

Short Bio

9pm Sidney | 12pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 1pm Madrid & Berlin | 8am Brasilia | 7am Toronto & Washington | 4 am Los Angeles

​Jacques Girerd

Jacques

Forest bathing combined practices

​​Given the facts that Forest Bathing offers numerous, well identified and documented health and well-being benefits, it can be very interesting to combine it with other similar activities resulting in the same types of advantages. This is an experiential field that I have started to integrate in my offerings as a forest bathing guide. And I believe from my own experience, that it could be a powerful mixed in terms of health. For example, mixing Yoga with Forest Bathing can enhance the relaxing effects they both induce. Practicing breathing during a yoga exercise while doing a forest bathing walk is more than appropriate to boost the respiratory effect on the nervous system. In this case yoga will provide a physical activity that forest bathing will enhance, given the frame of mind and state of relaxation it brings to the participants. Incidentally, the air of the forest is also generally far less polluted than in any other types of ecosystem, not to mention urban areas. This results in a powerful intake of fresh and clean air to the lungs, all beneficial to the blood and cells of our body. The improved energy flow that a Qi Gong class will provide, works even better in a natural setting, and due to the forest bathing inner qualities, such as a slower rhythm, for instance, will be, even more impactful. There are in fact quite a few disciplines that can be happily associated with forest bathing, going from the creative side, such as land art for instance, to the more well-being and health conscious approach.

Short Bio

11pm Sidney | 2pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 3pm Madrid & Berlin | 10am Brasilia | 9am Toronto & Washington | 6 am Los Angeles

Duncan Murdoch

Technology and Nature: The Power of Connection

Technology, with smart phone use and internet dependency, has often been to blame for our increasing disconnection from nature and each other. But as we have had to collectively isolate due to the modern pandemic, these technologies have been critical to our sense of connection and belonging to this world. I take a look at the similarities and the power of both the "world wide web" and the "wood wide web" and how we can effectively navigate both networks for our health and the planet's prosperity. As a certified nature and forest therapy guide, I have facilitated and designed forest bathing experiences deep in the forests of Vermont, a constructed indoor "forest room" in NYC, in guided mobile device audio walk format and on-line virtual events. Hear about my participant's feedback from these experiences and what I have learned from providing opportunities for people to connect to nature using these various settings, mediums and technologies.

Short Bio

12pm Sidney | 3pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 4pm Madrid & Berlin | 11am Brasilia | 10am Toronto & Washington | 7am Los Angeles

​Alexandra Lowry

Exploring Your Untapped Power in Nature to Restore, Reconnect & THRIVE!

Scientific research has now caught up with ancient knowledge that spending time in the forests heals us physically and mentally. Trees and the benevolent nature of the forest have a profound impact on restoring and repairing our over stimulated, stressed out brains and bodies. Understanding and applying our biophilic connection can be a powerful tool in creating success individually, and now, organizations are beginning to understand how our disconnection to nature impacts the bottom line. The Wisdom Alliance will begin to offer programs to companies and organizations who have a wellness initiative currently or who would like to explore what designing one can do for their organization. These programs will promote at their foundation, the vital impact that nature, trees, and the forest has on our ability to thrive individually and collectively.

Short Bio

1am (next day) Sidney | 4pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 5pm Madrid & Berlin | 12pm Brasilia | 11am Toronto & Washington | 8 am Los Angeles

Tessa Howell

Dancing Under Wide Open Skies- dancing in nature to consciously cultivate wisdom, wellness and wonder

We will explore the benefits of becoming more embodied on the earth- specifically how dance and mindful movement in nature supports us in tapping into the somatic intelligence within and around us. For many millennia people have gathered together to dance out of doors, at some point someone decided dance should become an indoor studio-based activity, disconnecting us from the wild wonders of dancing in nature. Tess Howell from Wild Moves has revived that ancient tradition by using "silent disco" technology to deliver conscious dance sessions in spectacular nature based settings. Working in this way offers the freedom of dancing together in areas of outstanding beauty- with no noise pollution to the surrounding environment.

Short Bio

3am (next day) Sidney | 6pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 7pm Madrid & Berlin | 2pm Brasilia | 1pm Toronto & Washington | 10 am Los Angeles

Friday 19th June - Nature & Mental Health

Sofie Dieu

Forest and water rituals to fight eco-anxiety

After last Australian summer, and the unprecedented bushfires, local residents from affected areas have been deeply traumatised and suffer from extreme eco-anxiety. Looking at meditation, senses openness and nature based art performance, Sofie will discuss how mimicking the different states of water and answering to the bush through creative rituals can lead towards recovery. She will take as example both her art practice and her creative work with drought and bushfire affected communities to share her different strategies. Sofie will speak of her ongoing work since 2017 with Gippsland communities and how she had to put in place new stratagems to remotely support those suffering from eco-anxiety. Inspired by her most recent body of work Water Ritual and her time spent last December in the Alpine bush, Sofie will speak of the key role played by the Australian bush and its rivers in artistic and cathartic processes.

Short Bio

7pm Sidney | 10am Dublin, Lisbon & London | 11am Madrid & Berlin | 6am Brasilia | 5am Toronto & Washington | 2 am Los Angeles

Alex Gesse

Case Study – Forest Therapy Intervention: Health Impact for People with Mental Illness

This project has been defined as one of the best cases examples at the “Human Health and Sustainable Forest Management” publications lead by FOREST EUROPE Expert Group on Human Health and Well-being established in the framework of the FOREST EUROPE Work Programme 2016-2020. Alex will present the conclusions of the 12 weeks Forest Therapy Intervention Study. The goal of this study “was to analyse the health impact of Forest Therapy for people diagnosed with serious mental illness using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. In the parameters of the study, four of the eight Schalock and Verdugo glossary dimensions of quality of life have been used because, given the nature of the activities, they were the dimensions that would be most impacted (physical well emotional well-being, personal development and interpersonal relation personal variables, like sex, age, service attended.”

Short Bio

9pm Sidney | 12pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 1pm Madrid & Berlin | 8am Brasilia | 7am Toronto & Washington | 4 am Los Angeles

Debbie Owens

Pathways to Change which is a six-week eco therapy programme

Debbie will introduce Pathways to Change which is a six-week eco therapy programme. Debbie will discuss the concept of the programme and how within our lives change is consistently taking place and how nature can support the change process and offer resilience in times of change.

The workshop will discuss solutions for coping with change and underpinning theories of change management and how by entering the pathways of the woodland and forest canopy allows to us to invite the trees and natural habitat to be of support in changing times.

Throughout the workshop Debbie will draw upon her extensive social work, teaching practice and eco therapy to guide participants through theories and research and how they have become integrated within her Eco Therapy and Mindfulness Outdoors programmes.

Short Bio

11pm Sidney | 2pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 3pm Madrid & Berlin | 10am Brasilia | 9am Toronto & Washington | 6 am Los Angeles

Natalia Ruiz de Cortázar



Iolanda Batalla

Introducing Adventure Therapy at a Mental Health Hospital: A pilot experience for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is the most prevalent personality disorder. One of the main components of a treatment plan for BPD patients is developing skills to gain awareness of their primary dysfunctional traits. Some examples of these traits are impulsivity, low frustration tolerance and anxiety, amongst others. Experientia designed and carried out a pioneer Adventure Therapy (AT) program for ten patients receiving treatment for BPD at the Santa María University Hospital in Lleida (Spain). The patients were part of the Partial Hospitalization Specific Program (PHSP) at the hospital´s adult psychiatric day unit. The AT program was structured in fourteen weekly sessions lasting two hours each. The sessions involved problem solving, outdoor and physical activities. Some of these activities were hiking, climbing and balancing on slacklines. All the activities had a component of challenge. Patients were supported and encouraged in developing skills to resolve those challenges and reflect on the experience.

Short Bio

The program was carried out by a multidisciplinary team. It was designed and facilitated by a psychologist from Experientia and an occupational therapist from the PHSP, both of whom were AT experts. The facilitation team was supported by a psychologist and a psychiatrist who were also part of the PHSP team. All PHSP professionals worked directly with the patients, and were part of their general therapeutic team. This allowed them to give support when needed. We conducted a scientific study to evaluate the short term effects of the AT intervention for patients diagnosed with BPD. In order to do so we used a control group, which participated in treatment as usual, 90 minutes of group therapy using a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach. The study aimed to assess the AT intervention’s short-term effects on patient’s quality of life, physical health as well as in clinical and psychosocial areas compared to treatment as usual. To our knowledge, this is the first study to have tackled this issue. Our study concluded that AT is a viable option for BPD treatment as it results in healthier life habits, increased quality of life as well as increased functionality for patients who are inclined towards self-destructive behaviors.

Short Bio

1am (next day) Sidney | 4pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 5pm Madrid & Berlin | 12pm Brasilia | 11am Toronto & Washington | 8 am Los Angeles

Katarzyna Simonienko

Projection mechanism in forest therapy practice- case reports.

Practicing forest therapy activities and walks we often use so called invitations to deepen participants connection with nature and themselves. However sometimes some forest aspects bring to mind difficult memories, traumas or deep emotions. In this presentation I would like to discuss case reports, participants stories and possibilities of intervention.

Short Bio

3am (next day) Sidney | 6pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 7pm Madrid & Berlin | 2pm Brasilia | 1pm Toronto & Washington | 10 am Los Angeles

Saturday 20th June - Nature & Mental Health

Alexander Rose

Adventure and Nature based therapy for people with burnout: a program in the Italian Alps

​​​Nature-based (or nature-assisted) therapies are defined as therapeutic interventions that incorporate plants, natural materials, and/or outdoor environments, without any therapeutic involvement of animals or other living creatures (Annerstedt and Wahrborg, 2011). On the other hand, Gass, Gillis, and Russell (2012) define adventure therapy as “the prescriptive use of adventure experiences provided by mental health professionals, often performed in natural environments that involve kinesthetically the participants at cognitive, affective and behavioral levels”. Terapia Aventura is introducing Adventure and Nature-based therapy in Spain since 2008. The organization is specialized in training, program development, and knowledge transfer. Our two defined lines of intervention are treatments for people suffering from drug abuse, and burnout treatment. ICD-11 (WHO, 2019) defines Burn-out as “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Three dimensions characterize it: - Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; - Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and - Reduced professional efficacy. Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life”. Burnout in the mental health sector is high.

Short Bio

7pm Sidney | 10am Dublin, Lisbon & London | 11am Madrid & Berlin | 6am Brasilia | 5am Toronto & Washington | 2 am Los Angeles

Shirley Gleeson

Environmental Injustice: The importance of access for all to good quality green space.

The quality of our natural environment is one of the determinants of mental health. It is often the case that the most socio- economically deprived communities have poor access to good quality green space. This can widen the health inequality gap and lead to an increase in mental health difficulties amongst the most disadvantaged groups in society. This talk focuses on the need for raising awareness and advocacy in this area and to discuss possible solutions to tackle this issue of environmental injustice.

Short Bio

9pm Sidney | 12pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 1pm Madrid & Berlin | 8am Brasilia | 7am Toronto & Washington | 4 am Los Angeles

Tessa Kingston

Let Nature Tell Us

In academia, we are taught about different theories, research, techniques and evidence base as we learn to become therapists. We read about established forms of therapy, proposed by great minds and backed by scientific research. We practice these and try find our personal style and flow with the new techniques…. In nature, the therapy just is. All these things present themselves as needed. For example, you find peace while on a walk and later realize you were engaging in 'mindfulness'. You overcome a fear on the water while learning a new skill, and if tracked by a psychotherapist, it would be labelled an experience of CBT. In my work, I have been exploring the use of different therapeutic techniques that fit well with my work in the outdoor environment, only to discover there were already there and that I had been doing them for years! This presentation aims to bridge the gap between the academic world and the natural world. I will discuss specific examples of using CBT, humanistic and existential approaches while working outdoors. I will explore metaphors, parallel learnings and catalysts for change that are constantly presented by nature. Early in my career working in nature-based wellness programs, an interested outdoor instructor asked me “who invented outdoor therapy?” ... I found myself answering “this is not something new, but something we have just disconnected from. This was our way of life not long ago, and now we are wondering why we are sick. We try to put a label on it to help understand our loss and help us reconnect”… since then, I have let nature inform my direction.

Short Bio

11pm Sidney | 2pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 3pm Madrid & Berlin | 10am Brasilia | 9am Toronto & Washington | 6 am Los Angeles

Jennifer "Juniper" Owens

Healing Trauma with Ecotherapy Practices

Trauma is an experience of extreme psychological distress and can contribute to significant mental and physical health issues. 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That's 223.4 million people. More than 33% of youths exposed to community violence will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a very severe reaction to traumatic events. This talk will explore how ecotherapy and nature based healing modalities can serve to understand, treat and heal from the psychological and physical wounds of trauma. We will explore the science of trauma, foundations of ecotherapy in mental health and ecotherapy practices and modalities for trauma treatment.

Short Bio

Holden Dillman


Short Bio

1am (next day) Sidney | 4pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 5pm Madrid & Berlin | 12pm Brasilia | 11am Toronto & Washington | 8 am Los Angeles

Nevin Harper, PhD

Nature-based Therapy: Possibilities, Practices and Problems

​​​​What does nature-based therapy look like with clinical clients? Have you always wanted to take your therapeutic practice into the outdoors, but not felt the confidence or background to do so? This presentation will share a basic understanding of nature-based therapy: foundational theories, the practitioner's relationship with nature, when to take therapy outside, utilising an ecological assessment, engaging in risk and play-based activities that effect regulation, and other clinical, ethical, and cultural considerations for nature-based therapy

Short Bio

3am (next day) Sidney | 6pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 7pm Madrid & Berlin | 2pm Brasilia | 1pm Toronto & Washington | 10 am Los Angeles

Sunday 21st June - Forest & Wellbeing Practices

Laurent Petit

Can an active lifestyle help reforest our planet?

​​​​In a couple of months, a community of active and eco-conscious individuals has enabled the plantation of more than 85 000 trees in sub-saharan countries with the recording over 20 000 sport activities with Active Giving. Creating awareness around the importance of forests and trees while maintaining an active and well-balanced lifestyle

Short Bio

9pm Sidney | 12pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 1pm Madrid & Berlin | 8am Brasilia | 7am Toronto & Washington | 4 am Los Angeles

Rafael Costa

Ecological Walking Program - wellbeing and environmental citizenship

The history of human evolution is directly linked to nature as we learn from different ancestral societies and philosophies. However, this is no longer the reality of most modern society, which over time has disconnected itself from its natural connection with the environment and the integrality of being. Modern scientific studies have proven the therapeutic efficacy of direct, conscious and frequent contact with nature. This is due to biochemical and electromagnetic interactions between the natural environment and the physical body and the energy field of practitioners. The connection with nature keeps us connected to the infinite source and nourishes body, mind and spirit with vital energies necessary for an excellent quality of life and a feeling of well-being. Thus, promoting a natural awakening to the inner and outer transformations we want to see in the world and in our lives.

Short Bio

11pm Sidney | 2pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 3pm Madrid & Berlin | 10am Brasilia | 9am Toronto & Washington | 6 am Los Angeles

Joshua Heath

Mindfulness in Nature

The Lodge at Woodloch has been at the forefront of the Forest Bathing movement long before it became a trending story in the news. Back in 2013, the team started offering classes to explore the philosophy. Six years and several certifications later, The Lodge at Woodloch continues to evolve and revolutionize their offerings. Last summer, with Naturalist Joshua Heath at the helm, the Outdoor Adventure Department reorganized to better serve the ever-increasing need to connect with nature. The Outdoor Experiences Department now has two sections, one remaining dedicated to Outdoor Adventures and the new section dedicated to Mindfulness in Nature. Hiking, biking, kayaking, disc golf, and fly fishing remain options through Outdoor Adventures.

The Mindfulness in Nature section added classes such as Forest Therapy walks, Sunrise Photo Walks, and Ritual of Tea classes, in addition to existing offerings such as Forest Bathing, Birdhouse Making, Terrarium Classes and more. One of Josh’s favorite pieces of advice for being mindful in nature is getting guests to slow down. “I like to set an uncomfortably slow pace,” explains Heath. “People are so used to rushing from point A to point B that they don’t have the capability of truly slowing down. I like to remind guests of the famous quote by Lao Tzu, “Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Short Bio

1am (next day) Sidney | 4pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 5pm Madrid & Berlin | 12pm Brasilia | 11am Toronto & Washington | 8 am Los Angeles

Julianne Skai Arbor

Tools for Rebonding with Nature

​​​​Forest Ecotherapy aims to be more than a refreshing walk in the woods with physical and mental health benefits; it means to be deeply impactful and transformative in creating experiential pathways for people to form deep interrelationships with the more-than-human world as a resource and ally for mutual reciprocity. How can we do this as guides and facilitators? What other skills do we need and what other tools should be in our toolbox beyond the basics to aid people in re-bonding with the forest, nature and life itself? In this talk, I will share some of the most effective ways I've experienced to engage with clients and the landscape itself through the practice of Forest Ecotherapy.

Short Bio

3am (next day) Sidney | 6pm Dublin, Lisbon & London | 7pm Madrid & Berlin | 2pm Brasilia | 1pm Toronto & Washington | 10 am Los Angeles

TECHNOLOGY 

We use zoom. You just need to download the free app. You don’t need a professional account. We are hosting the webinar.

Check your time zone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/

ALL PROFITS WILL SUPPORT THE FOLLOWING CHARITIES: 

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