June 4, 2018 – Kawartha Conservation’s popular Forest Bathing program is returning to Durham East Cross Forest on Saturday, June 23. This will be the second of three planned Forest Bathing excursions to the popular conservation area lead by certified forest therapy guide Kristie Virgoe, Director of Stewardship and Conservation Lands at Kawartha Conservation.
“The beauty of forest therapy is that it connects humans and nature, so that both benefit from the renewed relationship,” explained Ms. Virgoe. “Research has indicated that spending time in nature not only strengthens human immune response and reduces stress, but also makes us more creative, mindful, and content in our lives.’
In the 1980s “Shinrin-yoku” (forest bathing) was developed in Japan and is viewed as an integral part of the Japanese health care system as a way for individuals to achieve greater health and well-being in their lives. The general principle behind the practice is that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest.
“Forest Bathing can help with physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing,” said Ms. Virgoe. “Deepening our relationship with nature has other benefits as well; it helps us to feel more content, to be more creative in how we approach challenges, and to feel more at ease.”
As more and more people are looking to connect to nature as a result of the health benefits, interest in Forest Bathing continues to grow locally, and has proven very popular in Durham Region.
“Following our first Forest Bathing event at Durham East Cross Forest, we have had a lot of calls and emails from people interested in experiencing forest bathing for themselves,” said Mr. Virgoe. “We decided to add another date to the conservation area to provide an opportunity for all of those interested to participate.”
The Forest Bathing program will run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, June 23. Participants will meet at the Boundary Road Entrance.
On Saturday, August 18 from 9 a.m. to noon, there will be a Forest Bathing event at Pigeon River Conservation Area, before the final event on Saturday, October 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at Durham East Cross Forest.
“Everyone can benefit from a forest bathing experience,” said Ms. Virgoe. “Our walks are slow paced (1- 1.5km over 3 hours) and accessible to most fitness abilities.”
Cost of the Forest Bathing sessions is $20 per person.