Conservation

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.  

Wellness Programs

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 this video to learn more about Shinrin Yoku!

Hike for Health

April 18, 9:30-10:30am at Jester Park Nature Center

May 16, 9:30-10:30am at Yellow Banks Park, Shelter #1

June 13, 9:30-10:30 at Thomas Mitchell Park, meet at pond parking lot

July 11, 9:30-10:30am at Jester Park Nature Center

August 15, 9:30-10:30am at Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #3

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.

REGISTRATION: Required

DEADLINE: The day before

COST: Free

AGES: 10+

Metaphors in Nature: A Journaling Workshop

April 28, 6-7pm at Brown's Woods

Come learn how mindful observation of nature’s order can deepen our understanding of the self.  We will learn to utilize nature journaling to connect with ourselves to build awareness of our life story thru natural metaphors in the wild.

REGISTRATION: Required

DEADLINE:  Register by April 26

FEE: $15

AGES: 15+

Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing)

April 23, 1:30-3:30pm at Jester Park, Shelter #2

May 7, 1:30-3:30pm at Brown's Woods

June 4, 10am-12pm at Jester Park Nature Center

July 16, 10am-12pm at Thomas Mitchell Park, Shelter #1

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.

REGISTRATION: Required

DEADLINE: Two days prior

COST: $15

AGES: 12+

Sunset Yoga

May 24, 7:30-9:00pm at Jester Park Nature Center

June 20, 8-9:30pm at Jester Park Nature Center

July 18, 8-9:30pm at Jester Park Nature Center

August 22, 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

REGISTRATION: Required

DEADLINE: The day before

COST: $15

AGES: 12+

Hike for Health

April 18, May 16, June 13, July 11, August 15

Metaphors in Nature: A Journaling Workshop

April 28

Shinrin Yoku

April 23, June 4, July 16

Mother's Day Shinrin Yoku

May 7

Sunset Yoga

May 24, June 20, July 18, August 22