Adult Opportunities

Forest Therapy Walks

Find peace in nature with the practice of forest bathing.

Content Detail

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

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.

On the walk, experience a series of guided, gentle invitations to open the senses, cultivate presence, and invite healing interactions between people and the natural world. To finish, enjoy a closing ceremony with tea made from plants foraged from the forest.

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.

Instructors: Kristy Belton, certified forest therapy guide, Prairie Pathways; Retta Hennessy, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum; Laura Kamedulski, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum; Beth Bengtson, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum; Jeanne Iovinelli, certified forest therapy guide

Age: 16 and older

Course number: WELL008

Instructors

Kristy Belton, certified forest therapy guide, Prairie Pathways

Kristy A. Belton is a certified forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, a native plants enthusiast, and an Illinois Master Naturalist. She loves engaging in earth-centered practices, whether through gardening, volunteering for the DuPage County Forest Preserve, 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. Learn more at Prairie Pathways.

Beth Bengtson, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum

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.

Retta Hennessy, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum

Retta Hennessy is a certified forest therapy guide, completing her training at The Morton Arboretum in 2017. She has been on staff at the Children’s Garden as program assistant at The Morton Arboretum since 2008. She is a long-time early childhood educator with a master’s in education; she is also a master naturalist. The Arboretum has enabled her to share a love of teaching and nature with people of all ages. She believes the Arboretum provides a path for everyone to experience the beauty and healing opportunities that nature offers.

Jeanne Iovinelli, certified 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.

Jessica Rodriguez, certified forest therapy guide

Jessica Rodriguez is a certified Forest Bathing guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and has been guiding since March 2022. They hold a BA in environmental studies and sociology and currently also work as a horticulturist. Their passion lies in opening the doors between people and nature to connect and heal together. They can be found on Instagram and Facebook @reciprocalforestbathing.

What to Know

This program is held entirely outdoors.

Check the weather and dress for the forecast. Dress warmly for extended time in cold conditions.

Walks are at a slow, gentle pace with frequent stops.

Wear comfortable shoes or boots for walking a short distance on and off trail.

Two-Hour Walks Schedule

This program meets during these times; choose your sessions. Pricing is per session.

June

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Jessica Rodriguez
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Thursday, June 20, 2024, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Beth Bengtson
Parking Lot 29, West Side

July

Thursday, July 18, 2024, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Retta Hennessy
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Thursday, July 25, 2024, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Jeanne Iovinelli
Parking Lot 29, West Side

August

Thursday, August 8, 2024, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Retta Hennessy
Parking Lot 29, West Side

September

Tuesday, September 17, 2024, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (Special Full Moon Walk)
Jane Wandless
Thornhill Picnic Shelter, Parking Lot 21, West Side

Thursday, September 26, 2024, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Jessica Rodriguez
Big Rock Visitor Station, Parking Lot 13, East Side

Three-Hour Walks Schedule

This program meets during these times; choose your sessions. Pricing is per session.

June

Saturday, June 29, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Retta Hennessy
Parking Lot 29, West Side

July

Saturday, July 13, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Jeanne Iovinelli
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Saturday, July 20, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Beth Bengtson
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Saturday, July 27, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Jessica Rodriguez
Parking Lot 29, West Side

August

Saturday, August 10, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Jeanne Iovinelli
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Saturday, August 17, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Beth Bengtson
Parking Lot 29, West Side

September

Saturday, September 7, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Retta Hennessy
Parking Lot 29, West Side

Saturday, September 14, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Jeanne Iovinelli
Big Rock Visitor Station, Parking Lot 13, East Side

Saturday, September 21, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Beth Bengtson
Big Rock Visitor Station, Parking Lot 13, East Side

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