Rooted in Nature
Connect with Nature by hiking a trail, exploring a park, kayaking or canoeing, picnicking in the park, birding at a PCC natural area, registering for a Rooted in Nature program. Take time out and enjoy nature at one of 23 Polk County Conservation parks and natural areas.
Research has proven time in nature lowers blood pressure, improves depression, anxiety and decreases cortisol levels. Trees and plants in nature give off chemicals called Phytoncides. These forest chemicals boost the immune system, improve mental health, and self-esteem. Many doctors are now prescribing nature to improve the patients overall health and wellness.
Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, Integrative Physician and one of the first certified forest therapy guides in Iowa says, “There’s just been an explosion of interest in this in the last coop couple of years, and an increasing understanding that this is real medicine, both by people who practice it and in health care.”
One example of the Rooted in Nature programs is Shinrin-Yoku. Shinrin-Yoku, a Japanese term meaning, “forest bathing”, is a guided mindful nature practice where participants are invited to explore their natural surroundings via various sensory experiences. Research finds that time spent in nature, in this way, offers health benefits ranging from improved mental well-being and memory to reducing cortisol levels, fighting cancer, and improving heart health.
Watch these videos to learn more about Shinrin Yoku and Sunset Yoga.
Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing)
April 15, 1:30-3:30pm at Jester Park, Shelter #5
June 3, 10am-12pm at Brown's Woods - Adult and Youth Experience
June 3, 1-3pm at Brown's Woods - Adult with Canine Companion Class
August 19, 9-11am at Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3
Explore the natural healing path of Shinrin Yoku or Japanese Forest bathing with Brandy Case Haub, a certified forest guide. This mindful walk will invite you to use your senses to enhance your well-being. This Rooted in Nature program is one of many being offered in sponsorship with Unity Point.
DEADLINE: Two days prior
Hike for Health
April 17, 9:30-10:30am at Jester Park Nature Center
May 15, 9:30-10:30am at Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3
June 20, 9:30-10:30am at Easter Lake Park, Shelter #4
July 17, 9:30-10:30am at Thomas Mitchell Park, meet at pond parking lot
August 21, 9:30-10:30am at Brown's Woods
Why walk the mall when you can be enjoying the great outdoors? Hike along with this friendly group of nature lovers who walk the trails each month for exercise and fun.
DEADLINE: The day before
May 23, 7:30-9pm at Jester Park Nature Center
June 26, 8-9:30pm at Jester Park Nature Center
July 24, 8-9:30pm at Jester Park Nature Center
August 21, 7-8:30pm at Jester Park Nature Center
Take time to unwind as the sun sets on the outdoor plaza or the Great Hall of the Jester Park Nature Center. The class will begin with a short nature hike to give participants a chance distress and enjoy the beauty of nature. The yoga class is perfect for beginners. The focus is on creating a mind and body nature connection as the sunsets. This Rooted in Nature program is offered in sponsorship with Unity Point. Items to bring: yoga mat and blocks, hiking shoes, comfortable clothing, water bottle
DEADLINE: Two days ahead
Mini Mindfulness Retreat
July 22, 10am-12pm at Jester Park Nature Center
Unplug, reconnect, and refresh using an evidence-based practice of mindful awareness. We will engage experientially with our senses and commune with nature and the present moment through various mindfulness practices such as awareness of breathing, sound meditation, body scan, walking meditation (outside weather permitting), self-compassion, and mindful movement. Beginners welcome.
Instructor Allison Peet, owner of From Within Wellness, is a certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor trained at UMass Center for Mindfulness, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. She is a certified Buteyko Breathing Method instructor and registered yoga instructor (RYT200).
DEADLINE: July 20
Shinrin Yoku & Kayaking Combo
July 22, 1-4pm at Jester Park, Shelter #5
Enjoy a combo afternoon of mindfulness and kayaking. Participants will explore the natural healing path of Shinrin Yoku or Japanese Forest bathing with Brandy Case Haub, a certified forest guide. The first portion of class will be a slow, mindful walk through the woodland. The second part will floating in a kayak on Discovery Pond and enjoying the restorative power of nature and water.
No experience needed in kayaking as this a great introductory to kayaking. Paddles, life jackets and kayaks provided for the class. This "Rooted in Nature" program is offered in sponsorship with Unity Point.
DEADLINE: July 20
April 15, June 3, August 19
Hike for Health
April 17, May 15, June 20, August 21
May 23, June 26, July 24, August 21
Shinrin Yoku & Kayaking