Adult Field Course: Nature and Forest Therapy
July 22, 2023 @10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Join Mattie Decker, a certified forest therapy guide, for a relaxing two to 2.5 hour stroll through the forest at our stunning Grandfather Mountain. Through a series of invitations, you will have an opportunity to focus on being present in the moment, deepening your connection with nature and community, and enjoying the many gifts nature has to offer.
“Forest bathing” is a walk in nature during which your guide will share mindfulness practices and invitations designed to connect you more deeply to your inner landscapes as well as the world around you. Inspired by shinrin-yoku, (literally ‘forest bath’) the Japanese art of immersing oneself in a forest environment, forest bathing walks invite guests to spend time in nature in a way that invites healing for us, as well as our fraught ecosystems, and our community. Dr. Mattie Decker, a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT).
Mattie is also a mindfulness teacher, a Zen practitioner, an Episcopal oblate, and a retired professor of education. She is also certified in wilderness medicine and first aid. Mattie’s says, “The forest is the therapist. The guide opens the doors.” As a guide she assists us in opening the doors of the senses, to deepen our relationship with nature, which is our own true nature.
Program Itinerary (10 a.m. until 1 p.m.)
10:00: Meet at the Woods Walk Picnic Area
Located about a third of a mile from the Grandfather Mountain Entrance Gate along the park road. We begin with an Introduction to Forest Bathing, the watershed and history of the ancestral lands of the walk.
10:15: Experience the forest and trails along the loop, with a variety of “invitations” to explore our relationship with the forest and “more than human world” of nature, and we will end with a tea ceremony with tea made from plants of Grandfather Mountain.
This Adult Field Course costs $60 for general admission and $51 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club, plus tax. Attendance is limited to 20 participants. Registration opens on this page on May 22 at 9 a.m.
Your program cost includes admission into the park, field instruction, and transportation during your program (you may drive your own vehicle to visit sites on the mountain if you would prefer). It does not include meals or lodging. Bringing a bagged lunch is recommended for most field courses, although Mildred’s Grill will be open to attendees. Tips are not accepted for field courses. However, donations to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation are accepted if you would like to recognize a program.
General Clothing List
Much of your time will be spent outdoors and all programs are held rain, snow or shine. You should be prepared for a variety of mountain weather conditions and temperatures. Appropriate clothing, equipment, and footwear are very important.
- Daypack with enough room to carry extra clothing, water, lunch, camera, etc.
- Water Bottle
- Hiking boots
Equipment Specific to this Course
- Sturdy hiking boots or closed-toed shoes are required
- Long pants and preferably long sleeved shirts are strongly encouraged
- Any snacks or items needed for personal care (there is a public restroom at the Woods Walk Picnic Area)
- A sit-pad will be provided
Adult Field Courses generally sell out and have a waiting list associated with the event. If you cannot attend the field course that you are registered for, a full refund will be granted within a 5-day notice of the day of the field course. This allows time for individuals on the waiting list to make accommodations to attend the event. We ask that individuals who are sick with any illness to stay home to ensure the health and safety of other participants, our staff, and the field course instructors – refunds will be granted to these individuals.
More about Field Courses
We at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation are excited to share the unique wonders of the mountain with you. Since 2008, GMSF has aimed at creating educational programming that deepens understanding through in-depth study and field research. Our goal is to provide you with a rich experience in a particular field of study, and to also provide a safe and memorable trip to Grandfather Mountain. Read more about Field Courses.