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European ANFT Council Newsletter #9

Dear Guides and Friends,

Today is the first day of Spring. Today we celebrate the Equinox. The balance between day and night. Light and Shadow. All around nature is sparkling with new life, refreshing our spirits, awaking our senses and bringing us so much joy!

In these challenging times that we are going through, staying connected as a community and leaning into the heart of what this practice, that we have chosen to be a part of, offers, is a great resource. 

In our previous newsletter we announced the PR Tool Kit which has been received very well: thank you all for your beautiful feedback!

We have brought our hearts and minds together to collect useful tips,  information and inspirations for our practice and for our daily life in the times we are living. In this newsletter, you can find information on:

  • Guidelines for Guiding Walks in Times of Covid-19
  • Tending the Community
  • European Guide Survey - We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions.
  • Pro-Tip of the month reflecting on how to stay connected in this time where we are being asked to stay at home and very importantly how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
  • Update on the planned European ANFT Trainings for 2020
  • An overview of upcoming European Conferences
  • European Member Series (aka Professional Development) calls and Regional calls for the first quarter of 2020,
  • Scientific Research: Designing Workshops in Nature to Improve Team Effectiveness
  • An interview with our guide Liz Dawes from the UK
  • Arrows to the heart by Amanda
  • Book tip of the month.

We hope you’ll have fun reading, get inspired and get in touch! Please feel free to send us an email to europeancouncil@natureandforesttherapy.org if you have any questions, ideas or comments.

With connection In our hearts,

Ales, Amanda, Geeta, Heidi and Kat

IMPORTANT NOTE

This is a long newsletter so make sure that when you receive it in your email that you click on:

VIEW ENTIRE MESSAGE (at the end of the Newsletter, on your email)

Guidelines for Guiding Walks in Times of COVID-19

Here are some of the recommendations that have been shared by the ANFT Leadership Team with regards to guiding walks in times of COVID-19

Guiding Walks with Two  Participants or Less: 

If you do guide walks, ANFT recommends adapting parts of the walk and taking proper hygiene and social distancing measures:  

  • Limit walks to two participants
  • Limit your walks to only family and friends

Practice Proper Hygiene:  

  • Request that participants with any respiratory symptoms, i.e. coughing and sneezing stay home, regardless of the cause of the symptoms. Don’t be shy about requesting someone leave. 

Hand Washing:

  • Properly wash your hands before and after the walk (at least 20 seconds) 
  • Have hand sanitiser on hand and ask participants to use it properly as they arrive:  
  • At least 60% alcohol (other forms of sanitiser, such as essential oils or vinegar-based solutions, are not effective) 
  • Use enough volume to cover your hands completely 
  • Rub it in for 30 seconds or sing the happy birthday song twice 
  • Allow it to dry completely; do not wipe it off 

Practice  Proper Social Distancing Measures

  • Avoid physical contact with participants; try to keep  a distance of 6  feet/2 meters. Have a No Hand Shaking policy when greeting people and when the walk is over. 
  • Make a wider circle with participants standing further apart.
  • Sharing Piece: For small groups, a sharing piece is often not needed. If you do want to use a sharing piece here are some safer ways: Have each participant use their own sharing piece (perhaps you could create an invitation for this) or use an imaginary sharing piece.
  • Tea Ceremony (Threshold of Incorporation): 

Forego snacks and tea or ask participants to bring their own snacks and drink/tea. There are other ways to create a Threshold of Incorporation.

  • Have a final circle
  • (Optional) Create something together practicing proper social distancing measures. Each person could bring one or several things to the final circle and place them in the center one at a time.
  • Use the same prompt “Please share whatever you would like to complete the walk for you today.”
  • Get chatty
Tending the Community

ANFT is planning to host 2-4 Zoom calls per month, facilitated by trainers and mentors, that are open to any guides who wish to join. 

It isn't really about Forest Therapy, it's more about tending community, listening, and offering emotional support. 

In a time of social distancing, it's easy to succumb to feelings of isolation, apathy and numbness, and we hope that this humble offering may help alleviate these feelings.

We will keep you updated on the dates and times for these calls as soon as they are posted.

European Guide Survey - PARTICIPATE

Time flies! We have been together for one year already. It has been a great ride with all of you! We would like to honour each one of you in answering the call to be part of this community which is continuously growing.

We are so grateful that each and every one of you is such an essential piece of this community. We are all doing very important work, in partnership with nature, by bringing people into intimate relationship with themselves, the more-than-human world and each other.

One year ago, the Council launched the first survey where we tapped into the collective wisdom of the European guides, listening to the needs and expectations for the work of this Council. The time has come again, to ask for your support to calibrate what we've been doing. What do you need more of? What do you need less of? Is there something new you'd like to see offered? Your contribution by completing this survey is super important, so that we are working towards what you really need.

This past year, we launched the monthly newsletter, ran regular Professional Development calls in English and Spanish, regular Regional calls, created a Whatsapp group, completed and launched the PR Toolkit in English and are currently working on translating it into all European languages.

It is also the time to elect the next European Council team. If you feel called to be part of the Council, you definitely have to read on and complete the survey. Council elections for 2020 - 2021 will take place at the end of April 2020. See below for more info.

We really appreciate your guidance and contribution in steering this gloriously delicious green collective European forest forward.

COMPLETE GUIDE SURVEY HERE
Pro-Tip of the Month

STAYING CONNECTED - NOURISHING SELF-CARE

When we are being asked to #StayAtHome, How can we stay connected to ourselves, to the More Than Human World, to our Loved Ones? How can we immerse ourselves in nourishing self-care?

We have put together some tips that will hopefully support you through these times of confinement and social distancing.

Presently, we are aware that not everyone can access nature. Here are a few tips on how to stay connected even within your home:

- What more than human beings share your home with you? 

Spend some time with the living beings in your home - human and more than human. Sit with your potted plants. Sketch them.

- Sit Spot at the Window 

If you can see nature from your window, sit spot there. Reach out to the more than human world with the threads of connection from your heart. Strengthen the ropes of connection with your sit spot beings. Even if you are not able to go to your regular sit spot, close your eyes and imagine you are there. Allow your heart to travel and sit with your beings.

- Listen to Sounds of Nature. 

Here are links to a few playlists to listen to:

Forest Birdsong

Spring Forest

Calming Sounds of the Night Forest

- Use Essential Oils

If you have essential oils at home, use them regularly. Place a few drops in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together. Close your eyes and bring hands towards your face. Cup your hands around nose and mouth and take deep breaths. Allow your imaginal sense to take you to the source of those oils. Flowers or Trees. What are you noticing?

- Bring Natural Elements into Your Space

If you can go outside, bring natural elements back with you. Ask your garden or the Forest what elements would like to come back into your home. Anything from leaves to sticks. Whatever presents itself to you. Find a place in your home for them. 

- Nature TV Shows*

When you want to watch something on TV or your computer, go for programs that feature the Natural World. Here are a few suggestions:

Our Planet

Planet Earth

Seven Worlds, One Planet

- Great Animation Films that feature Nature*

My Neighbour Totoro

Princess Mononoke

Spirited Away

*The links provided here are for providers such  as Netflix and BBC. If you do not have access to these, maybe get creative and find a way? There are many free streaming websites available. 

- On Your Computer

If you are working on your computer and have not done so yet, use nature image screensavers. Use a timer and have them start automatically every 45 minutes. This will give you a conscious break from work and also images to resource with. When the images come on, sit back on your chair, take a deep breath and take in what the images are offering. What are you Noticing?

- Virtual Forest Therapy Walks

All through March and April Geeta will be offering Virtual Forest Therapy walks. You can join even if you can not be outside. It is a great way to connect to yourself and your community. You can find information about the walks HERE

- Meditation

This is a great time to meditate. Take time to be with yourself and move deeply into what is alive for you right now. How do you like to meditate?

- Walking Meditation

HERE we share a video from Thich Naht Hanh teaching walking meditation. You can do this inside or outside. 10 minutes is a great practice. Remember his teaching - "Walk as if your feet are kissing the Earth".

- Kundalini Meditation

We leave you here also with a suggestion of Osho Kundalini Meditation. It can be a good meditation to support the nervous system to release tension. If you are feeling too overwhelmed by the current situation, this might not be ideal. Feel it in your belly if shaking is something that can support you. 

It is a one hour meditation with 4 stages. You can find the music for it HERE

1st Stage - Shaking - Stand with your feet well rooted into the ground, close your eyes and allow the body to shake freely. Allow the gentle shaking to happen. You might need to initiate the shaking and after a while you will see your body will do it.  Include the whole body, head, arms, chest, legs. Trust the intelligence of your body. Gentle shaking supports the nervous system to release whatever it needs to release.

(music will change)

2nd Stage - Dancing - Allow the body to move in whatever way feels good. 

(music will change)

3rd Stage - Sitting - Find a comfortable position to sit, keep your back upright.

(music will change)

4th Stage - Lying Down - Lye down in a comfortable position and simply rest.

(gong will signal the end of the meditation)

We sincerely hope that these tips will support you to stay connected to yourself, to the more than human world and that as a community we stay connected too.





2020
ANFT European FT Guide Trainings

ANFT is taking the novel coronavirus pandemic extremely seriously. We recognise that it is imperative at this time for the world to come together to contain the spread of this virus, and that it is our ethical responsibility to do whatever we can to support this global mission for the health and safety of all people. 

For this reason, we have decided it is in the best interest of the public health to reschedule spring Forest Therapy Guide Trainings to later in the year. 


THE NEW DATES WILL BE POSTED BY APRIL 3RD.


At this time trainings from June 12th on will go ahead as scheduled.

The schedule for Guide Trainings for 2020 is live on the ANFT website HERE

If you have had participants on your walks that have manifested interested in pursuing the training, please direct them to the ANFT website HERE

The trainings in Europe are the following:

Czech Republic - To be Rescheduled for 2021

Finland -  To be Rescheduled 

England, UK - To be Rescheduled 

Norway - 28 Jul - 4 August 2020

Germany - 11 - 18 October 2020

EARLY BIRD TUITION FOR 2020

Early Bird Special for 2020 trainings is available up to 6 months before the start of the training. Payment must be received in full by the early bird deadline, or the regular tuition rate will apply. 

NEW Scholarship Program 2020

The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs offers twelve scholarships for forest therapy guide trainings to applicants who experience financial barriers to training programs like ours, and who demonstrate a strong potential for bringing forest therapy to communities and settings that open the doors for others to participate. Click HERE for more information.

Upcoming for 2020
European Conferences

RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Cancelled

19- 23rd May 2020 - London - UK

More Information HERE

Nature Connections 2020 - Still ON

16th June 2020 University of Derby

More Information HERE

Trauma Summit 2020 - Still ON

22-23th June 2020 - Belfast

More Information HERE

Inner Peace Conference - Still ON

19th – 20th September 2020 Amsterdam - Netherlands More Information HERE

International Forest Therapy Days - Postponed 

21 - 27th September 2020 (to be confirmed) - Parkano - Finland

More Information HERE

VII Convegno Nazionale di Montagnaterapia - Still ON

14 - 17 October 2020 - Parma - Italy 

More Information HERE
Workplace, Wellbeing and Stress Forum - Still ON

19 November 2020 - Hilton Hotel, Canary Wharf, London

More Information HERE

9th International Adventure Therapy Conference - Still ON

21-26 June 2021 - Kristiansand - Norway

More Information HERE

More dates and events will follow.

If you know about any interesting event where ANFT should be present, please let us know.

European ANFT Calls

Every month we plan professional development calls to support your training as a Forest Therapy Guide. And starting from 2020 we will organize regional calls every quarter for community building purposes within your region. 

Get your calendars out and schedule the calls that call to your attention. Better safe than sorry.

March/April 2020
Member Series Calls

5 April 2020

18:00 CET* - Presenting about Forest Therapy at Conferences

w/ Amos Clifford

3 May 2020

18:00 CET* - Language of invitation

w/ Ben 'Crow' Page

7 June 2020

18:00 CET* - Edges & Headroom

w/ Amos Clifford

CET* - Central European Time

March / June 2020
Regional Calls

Central & East EU Region 
25th March 2020 - 19:00 CET

Theme: Guiding different populations/Groups w/ Ales 

Uk, Ireland & France Region

Date: 25th June - 20:00 CET

Theme: Guide's Self-Care Toolbox w/ Amanda

Germanic Region 

23 March 2020 - 19:00 CET

Theme: Guiding different populations/Groups w/ Kat 

South Europe Region 

Date: 27th March - 19:00 CET

Theme: Guiding Different populations w/ Geeta

Scandinavian Region 

Date: 28th June 2020

Theme: Guides Self-care Toolbox w/ Heidi 

NOTE: Recordings for these calls will be sent out via email by the facilitator of the call.

Call Schedule
Recordings of Past Calls
Trainers Facilitating Calls this Month

This month we'll have the pleasure of having calls with different trainers from the ANFT team.

Amos Clifford

Founder


Ben 'Crow' Page

Director of Training, Trainer & Mentor



Scientific Research
Thesis from the Field

Anna Schober: Designing Workshops in Nature to Improve Team Effectiveness

This time, we'd like to bring to your attention: A thesis written by Anna Schober about Designing Workshops in Nature to Improve Team Effectiveness. Anna's findings might be interesting for those of you who'd like to focus on teams and Corporate Wellness. Read below an abstract from Anna's thesis, or download the entire thesis via the button below.

ABSTRACT

The widespread use of technology and digital devices increasingly distracts people and enforces an ‘always available’ mentality, causing mental fatigue and stress. Organisational studies suggest that getting away from demanding work environments and investing time in personal contact with colleagues may address some of these challenges. Combining this insight with research showing that spending time in nature decreases stress levels, enhances emotional wellbeing, increases focus and prosocial behaviour, this study explores how team building workshops in nature lead to increased team collaboration and effectiveness. 

Anna Schober: Designing Workshops in Nature to Improve Team Effectiveness
Liz Dawes
Meet a Guide

This month, our guide Liz Dawes from Skipton in North Yorkshire in the UK shares with us her journey to being a guide and what is alive for her with this practice right now. Click below to read the interview with Liz.

Full Interview HERE
For a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Here's some inspiration for this month...

Nature Connection
Arrows to the Heart

This month we share with you some Arrows to the Heart from Amanda:

Pine trees offer us the elixir of life

Becoming whole as humans reconnects us with all beings 

Plant medicine helps us to remember who we are


The Healing Forest in Post-Crisis Work with Children A Nature Therapy and Expressive Arts Program for Groups by Ronan Berger and Mooli Lahad
Book of the Month

This month we recommend you the following book: 

The Healing Forest in Post-Crisis Work with Children
A Nature Therapy and Expressive Arts Program for Groups’ by 
Ronan Berger and Mooli Lahad.

Reviews:

“This is essential reading for anyone looking for new ideas about how to work in a creative, gentle way with children who have experienced trauma.”
John McLeod, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of Abertay, Scotland and Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo.

“This book is an invaluable resource for educators and clinicians who work with children under duress. It provides an artful synthesis of trauma theory and nature therapy applications for use with children in classrooms and natural environments.”
Vivien Marcow Speiser, Professor, The Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lesley University.

Excerpt:

‘Nature therapy is an innovative method of therapy that takes place experientially in nature, and considers nature a partner in the therapeutic process (Berger and McLeod, 2006). The conceptualisation and development of nature therapy as a treatment method sprang from the expressive arts therapy, gestalt, the narrative approach (White and Epston, 1990), eco-psychology, transpersonal psychology, body-oriented approaches, and adventure therapy. Its principles are based on a synthesis of perceptions and models drawn from traditional rituals and Shamanism’.

 Find it HERE

ANFT European Council

P.O. BOX 1764, Santa Rosa
California CA95402 United States

Photo credits: ANFT, Geeta Stilwell

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