The Nature Prescription: Why the great outdoors may be the best medicine

Sep 20, 2019
We live in an increasingly digital age. Our jobs rely on computers, our classrooms are filled with technology, we carry our phones at all times and we’re connected to the internet more than any generation before. As our reliance on technology grows, another parallel movement has been gaining strength—one that’s focused on disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.

 

“People have always known intuitively that something about being outside makes them feel better but now the science backs that up,” explains Rob Klea, owner of New Trail Forest Therapy. “The direct health benefits from being in nature are unbelievable. They’ve proven that when you’re out in nature you’re able to pick up anti-stress, anti-depressant, happy chemicals just by being out there.”
 
The next time you need to destress, why not consider heading outside? BruceGreySimcoe is an amazing place to be outdoors. Whether you’re looking to hike or simply ‘be’ in the forest or our abundant green spaces, there are an increasing number of opportunities to reconnect with nature right here. Below are just a few outdoor experiences and local guides who can you start your journey back to nature.
 

New Trail Forest Therapy
Tobermory, Ontario

Rob Klea and his team are based part time in Tobermory and part time in Kitchener. Retired from the public-school system, Klea now spends much of his time as an independent contractor helping people reconnect with nature. “A lot of the work I do is in incorporating nature into the classroom in a way that’s going to help maximize focus and concentration,” explains Klea. That approach is something we can all benefit from.  
 
Klea firmly believes in the health benefits of time spent in nature and New Trail’s mission to is to spread the science behind that connection. On the Peninsula, New Trail offers Forest Bathing Walks and a variety of other nature connection experiences. They also have accommodation available—with both a Base Camp Cottage and a Cabin in the Woods for rent.
 
To find out more about what New Trail offers, visit their website.
 

Forest Bathing trail at Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
Collingwood, Ontario

A visit to the Scandinave is already a beautiful outdoor experience, but recently the spa has added another unique way to connect with nature. Their new forest bathing trail is just the second of its kind in Canada to be certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.

The trail is free to visitors, with the Scandinave encouraging spa guests to add this before or after their visit. The Forest Bathing trails leads to seven suggested marked stations (invitations), clearly marked on the trail. Guest Service agents at the spa can give you a Forest Bathing Guide to bring along. Prefer to have someone lead the way? Certified Forest Therapy Guide Beth Foster—who designed the trail—can be reserved in advance. Read on to learn more about Beth.
 

Forest Bathing with Beth
Barrie, Ontario
 

In addition to her recent work on the forest bathing trail at Scandinave, Beth Foster offers guided forest bathing experiences in the Barrie area. “As a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, I will guide you on a slow quiet walk and offer invitations to pause and notice your surroundings,” explains Foster on her website. “Each invitation is part of a sequence to help you connect with nature in a meaningful, healing way.” Foster is offering several walks on upcoming fall weekends. Visit her website to learn more or to book an outing.


Forest Therapy Walks with Tamara
Collingwood/Blue Mountains, Ontario

Forest Therapy Guide in training, Tamara Fournier is offering a series of walks in the Collingwood/Blue Mountains area. Learn more about her mission to help people reconnect with nature on her Facebook page.
 

Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre
Wyebridge, Ontario

 
 

This 150-acre facility is located right next to the Wye Marsh on forested land and meadows. Complete with hiking and biking trails as well as 10 four-person cabins in the woods, there’s also a large multi-purpose centre with great yoga and workshop facilities. Sugar Ridge hosts a wide variety of retreats and is the perfect place to get away from it all in the great outdoors. Find out more on their website.
 

Bruce Peninsula Eco Adventures
Tobermory/Lion’s Head, Ontario

Looking for a guided opportunity to get out in nature? Bruce Peninsula Eco Adventures offers a wide variety of outdoor experiences that will help you reconnect with nature. From their Soul Stroll outings to Brave the Caves and Birding by the Bay, they’ve classified their adventures by difficulty and content from family-friendly to cliff-edge and shoreline. Getting out with a guide is a great way to get started. Find out more about the Eco Adventures they offer on their website.

Looking for more natural adventures?  Check out Trails & Paddling in BruceGreySimcoe.