I ordered this little gem of a handbook as soon as I discovered it. It contains everything you need to know about the benefits of forest bathing or "shinrin yoku," how to lead small groups, suggestions for regular home nature connection practices, resources lists, a walk evaluation form to copy, and great wisdom about allowing a group to form their own connections.
Someday I would love to be able to afford the trip to California, costs of camping and the 5-day training to become a forest guide through the program M. Amos Clifford has expertly created.
The more I learn about approaches to nature connection and lineages within the field of ecopsychology/ecotherapy, I see there are varied approaches to the questions "how many senses do humans have?" and "does nature welcome us immediately or want us to seek permission?" To me personally, whether a human is scientifically identified to have 53 senses or 8 matters less than the actual connection and healing experience I and others have.
I especially appreciate the humor sprinkled throughout the book, as exemplified here in the description of an end of walk tea ritual: "This tea is made of wild plants. . . that bugs have walked on. . . maybe even birds have poo'ed on them. . . it's not just a tea, it's an adventure!"
(For the concerned, boiled water helps).
The author devotes space in his handbook to safety and common sense. "Hazardous or not? It's a good idea to know, and to know when you don't know." (p. 9).
It occurs to me I have been extremely fortunate. I wonder if I have a little "nature angel" of some sort because without any real wilderness training I have gone on long solo hikes often outside the zone of telecommunications for at least 25 years without injury or problem. Some of what I have done defies common sense. So the arena of wilderness training is where I want to gain more skills if I am going to properly and safely guide folks who may not themselves have such a "nature angel" working overtime. . . and for such a day when that angel decides to take a nap. ; )
Nothing earth-shaking or ground breaking here, but great fun to compile. I have many more nature photos to choose from for another more detailed book to include resources specifically for family caregivers as I continue my daily forays into the woods and wild spaces within proximity to me.
It started as a course requirement for Project NatureConnect to come up with a single exercise that could be done to help people connect to nature and turned into 20!
The link to purchase this book on Amazon is listed on the Healing Outdoors Store page but I post it here as well: Naturography
I have no desire to become an accredited "counselor" in the standard sense, but I look forward to continuing my education journey in the field of ecopsychology and ecotherapy so that I can serve and reach more people hungry for this "return home" connection.