Certified forest bathing and local psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Fendya, led a unique experience at Tifft Nature Preserve on an unusually hot and sunny April day. Forest bathing is a very specific practice, unlike hiking, as it is sensory based and slow. Forest bathing is a Japanese based practice which induces a calming feeling that can be practiced anywhere (but in nature, a real bonus). Jennifer asked participants to take their time from our starting point (highest mound, she referred to the front door) and be observant of what was noticed. We then walked down the mound where Jennifer again asked us to notice and observe (were there any differences?). We crossed the bridge or back door, and along the way, we sat for 20 minutes in one spot and silently observed what was happening in our spot (I observed coltsfoot, purple violets, a nut catcher, a turkey vulture, potato bug, fat ant, a black admiral, flies, and the many sounds of birds). Our group then discussed our observations and how they made us feel. Proceeding on and past an immense area of planted and protected trees, we proceeded to the boardwalk and wetland area. Our closing gathering, at a partially shaded spot, we each shared our overall feelings while we sipped delightful hand brewed rosemary tea and savored a light snack (thank you Jennifer!)
Not many pictures were taken as that alone would have been a distraction in our practice. Also, we were asked to keep conversations to a minimum (pretty amazing for ADKers), and this proved it can be done! Even with all the loud sounds of nature, Fuhrman Blvd., and passing children, the group was able to participate in forest bathing and left feeling calmer and more relaxed than when we arrived.
– Pam Sander