Greetings from Executive Director-Jennifer Jones
Last year a friend gave me the book, The Joy of Forest Bathing, by Melanie Choukas-Bradley. Perhaps it was the look on my face when I opened the gift that caused her to say, "I know you spend a lot of time in the woods and don't need any encouragement, but I thought you'd enjoy the book." I will admit I was a bit skeptical … it took me about a year to actually read it.
For those of us who grew up in the woods, the idea of forest bathing sounds kinda silly, right? But I guess it doesn't matter what anyone calls it, as long as we get out there in the woods.
More and more research is demonstrating that spending time in nature is good for our physical and mental health. This is especially true for veterans and children suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. "Research has proven nature's healing effects on anxiety, mental fog and malaise," cites a recent article in The New York Times.
As the author explains, shinrin-yoku or "forest bathing" originated in Japan and is defined as a "full sensory immersion in the beauty and wonder of nature." Thirty-seven years ago, the Forest Agency of Japan started promoting shinrin-yoku to help stressed out citizens spend time in forests. "If you're lucky enough to spend time with a shinrin-yoku guide … you're unlikely to harbor any doubt that the experience was beneficial," writes Choukas-Bradley. And just in case, you can have your blood pressure and heart rate checked before and after a walk on a designated forest therapy trail. Choukas-Bradley, is a certified forest therapy guide and leads nature walks from her home base in Washington DC (let's hope she's fully booked). There's even an Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs that offers activities for forest bathing walks by 700 guides in 46 countries.
The Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed is 85 percent forested. We might not call it forest bathing around here and we might not talk very often about what our forests do for our mental and physical health. And yet, I have a feeling we all share the same yearning to be out there, rather than in here.
The forests of this watershed continue to give us many gifts – high quality water, plants and animals that only live here because of our forests, clean air, a sense of wonder and peace. Our forests give us a lot to be thankful for. The Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust can't protect the gifts of this watershed without financial support from people like you. Thank you for being as generous as you can this holiday season so we can continue to permanently protect land in the watershed. And happy forest bathing!
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We assist landowners and communities in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Watershed with maintaining healthy rivers, protecting forests and farmland, and preserving rural heritage for the enjoyment and well being of present and future generations.
Rare Native Plants Found!
Grass Pinks Calapogon Orchid
Kates Mountain Clover
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