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Adult Opportunities

Forest Therapy Walks (in person)

Experience the healing and wellness-promoting effects of shinrin-yoku, the practice of bathing the senses in the atmosphere of the forest.

Content Detail

Awaken your senses and reconnect with nature during these mindful walks with a certified forest therapy guide. No two walks are the same; visit different locations at The Morton Arboretum and enjoy a variety of awareness-raising exercises.

“‘Forest bathing’ suggests to me a more casual experience among the trees, unburdened by expectations, oriented to simple pleasures.” Amos Clifford, Your Guide to Forest Bathing

On this two-hour winter walk, you will experience a series of guided, gentle invitations to open the senses, cultivate presence, and invite healing interactions between people and the natural world. Afterward, warm up by the fire with a closing ceremony.

This program meets in person at The Morton Arboretum.

Instructors: Jeanne Iovinelli, certified nature and forest therapy guide; Beth Bengtson, certified nature and forest therapy guide; Kristy A. Belton, certified nature and forest therapy guide

Health and Safety: Program participants must abide by the Arboretum’s health and safety guidelines. Guidelines are subject to change, so please check back frequently.

Age: 16 and older

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Instructors

Jeanne Iovinelli, certified nature and forest therapy guide

Jeanne Iovinelli became a certified forest therapy guide in January 2019. She was trained under Amos Clifford, the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood, CA. She has enjoyed nature throughout her life and has been visiting The Morton Arboretum since early childhood. She is also a volunteer at The Morton Arboretum with Tuesdays in the Tallgrass.

Beth Bengtson, certified nature and forest therapy guide

Beth Bengtson is a certified forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT). She has also been an education program guide at the Arboretum since 2008, teaching nature education programs for youth and adults in both lab and outdoor settings. She has certifications in natural history and N-ACT (Natural Areas Conservation Training) through The Morton Arboretum. She works with a volunteer steward group restoring the Arboretum’s East Prairie, and she leads students and youth volunteers on natural areas restoration projects. She has a BA in English from the University of Iowa and, prior to entering the field of nature education, worked professionally as a writer and editor. She still enjoys writing freelance and personal projects. Her work has been published in literary journals and various print and online publications.

Kristy A. Belton, certified nature and forest therapy guide

Kristy A. Belton is a certified Association of Nature and Forest Therapy guide, a native plants enthusiast and an Illinois Master Naturalist. She loves engaging in earth-centered practices, whether through gardening, volunteering for the DuPage Forest Preserves, or guiding people in forest therapy and outdoor yoga practices. She is the founder of Prairie Pathways, an organization that offers rewilding practices to reconnect people to the land they live upon. Belton holds a PhD in political science and has more than twenty years’ experience in higher education, serving in diverse roles.

What to Know

  • Held entirely outdoors, rain or shine. Walks are at a slow, gentle pace with frequent stops.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Dressing in layers will help keep you comfortable for an extended time outdoors. A warm hat, gloves, socks, and waterproof shoes are recommended.
  • Sunglasses and a mat to sit on are optional.

Program Schedule

Two-Hour Forest Therapy Walks, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Section A: Saturday, January 21, 2023, with Beth Bengtson

Section B: Saturday, February 4, 2023, with Jeanne Iovinelli

Section C: Friday, February 17, 2023, with Kristy Belton

Section D: Saturday, March 18, 2023, with Beth Bengtson

Section E: Saturday, March 25, 2023, with Beth Bengtson

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