Note: Group registrations will receive special rates.
Contemplative Photography Online Course
Research has demonstrated that simply gazing upon nature images can reduce our body’s stress hormones. In this program, participants will be invited to use contemplative and mindfulness-based practices to become fully present within the natural world before taking a photograph. After exploring our intuition and opening our senses we will use our time in nature to foster connection – to self, one another, mother earth, and the eternal. Finally, we will explore symbolism, metaphor, and the stories elicited from our nature images. No special skills or technology is required. We will practice contemplative listening and form a supportive non-judgmental community in which we will share our ideas, feelings, and images.
Forest Medicine Presentation with Demonstration and Q & A (1.5 -2 hrs)
Understand the basic science of forest medicine and the many human physical and emotional health benefits of the Japanese health-promotion practice of Shinrin-Yoku. Groups registering can request a particular focus, for example, using nature-immersion for improving physical health, mental health, creativity or spiritual wellbeing. This is a nice way to be introduced to the science of forest bathing before you sign up for a guided experience.
Virtual Forest Bathing Walk (1.5 – 3.5 hrs)
Come experience the healing power of nature-connection virtually as you are guided through relaxation exercises, gentle stretches, mindfulness meditation and contemplation practices. Research shows that we can benefit from nature-immersion practices involving photography, short videos or a house plant as well as time spent in outdoor spaces such as a backyard, parkette, urban ravine or remote wilderness site. After being led through some mindfulness exercises to connect body and breath, you will be led through a series of nature-connection invitations. Near the end of the “walk” you will be invited to engage in a simple contemplative practice with an individual tree or plant to provide you with an opportunity to receive, relax and reflect. During our time together, you will be invited to share (if you wish) as the rest of us practice contemplative, non-judgemental listening. We will conclude with a tea ceremony to offer gratitude to the earth.
Nature-Based Contemplation Workshops (1.5 – 3 hrs )
You will be introduced to and guided through several nature-based contemplative practices such as Guided Meditation, Nature-Immersion, Poetry Reflection, Journaling and Visio-Divina. Once you enter a place of stillness, you will be invited to explore questions that are relevant to our times. Using a variety of supportive methods including a non-judgemental sharing circle, we will support you in receiving comfort and clarity to inform your next steps. This inclusive inter-faith workshop will be suitable for people who consider themselves spiritual or religious.
Indoor Nature Connection Presentation with Resource List and Q & A (1.5 hrs)
We will briefly review the research literature and offer practical tips and practices you can use to connect to nature while indoors. This will be of particular interest to those who have limited access to outdoor spaces or people who wish to expand the benefits of nature-immersion by bringing nature indoors. All participants will receive a tip sheet following the presentation.
Environmental Education for Teachers (1.5 hrs)
Learn how to engage youth in environmental science and community activities including biomonitoring.
Children/Youth Programming on Citizen Science (1.5 hrs)
An engaging photography-enriched presentation on how to get young people involved in citizen science. You will be introduced to some of the many opportunities available to participate in and contribute to important environmental science. This will involve two contributors: a high school teacher and a youth. First, our teen presenter will share her experience engaging in citizen science from the pink dolphins in the Amazon to polar bears of the sub-artic to yellow-spotted salamanders located in central Ontario. Second, our award-winning environmental educator who has inspired thousands of youth to engage in community-based and science-based environmental activities will review ways that young people can get involved. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. This would be appropriate for students in grades 3-12 as well as camps and multi-aged youth groups.