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.

Laura Kamedulski, certified forest therapy guide, The Morton Arboretum

Laura Kamedulski is the coordinator for youth and family programs at The Morton Arboretum, where she leads programs for early childhood ages and supervises youth volunteers. She was certified as a forest therapy guide in 2017 by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, and she leads Forest Therapy walks at The Morton Arboretum. She enjoys helping people connect with trees, nature, and the land. She is passionate about urban places too, having formerly worked at the Chicago History Museum. She is a long-time board member of the Maxwell Street Foundation, dedicated to the history of the old Maxwell Street Market area in Chicago. She has a BA in psychology with a business minor from the University of Iowa and an MA in United States history with a minor in Mexican history from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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.

Program Schedule

Two-Hour Walks

WELL008-G: Saturday, February 24, 2024, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thornhill Picnic Shelter (Parking Lot 21)

WELL008-H: Monday, March 4, 2024, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thornhill Picnic Shelter (Parking Lot 21)

WELL008-I: Friday, March 15, 2024, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Thornhill Picnic Shelter (Parking Lot 21)

WELL008-AA: Monday, April 22, 2024, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. with Laura Kamedulski

Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13)

WELL008-BB: Monday, April 29, 2024, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. with Kristy Belton

Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13)

WELL008-CC: Monday, May 6, 2024, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. with Jeanne Iovinelli

Big Rock Visitor Station (Parking Lot 13)

WELL008-DD: Thursday, May 30, 2024, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with Kristy Belton

Thornhill Shelter (Parking Lot 21)

WELL008-EE: Thursday, June 6, 2024, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with Beth Bengtson

Thornhill Shelter (Parking Lot 21)

WELL008-FF: Thursday, June 13, 2024, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with Jeanne Iovinelli

Parking Lot 29

WELL008-GG: Thursday, June 20, 2024, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with Beth Bengtson

Parking Lot 29

 

Three-Hour Walks

WELL016-AA: Saturday, April 6, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon with Retta Hennessy

Parking Lot 29

WELL016-BB: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon with Beth Bengtson

Parking Lot 29

WELL016-CC: Saturday, May 11, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon with Jeanne Iovinelli

Parking Lot 29

WELL016-DD: Saturday, June 1, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon with Beth Bengtson

Parking Lot 29

WELL016-EE: Saturday, June 29, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to noon with Retta Hennessy

Parking Lot 29

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