County Wicklow Partnership and Wicklow Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) are delighted to announce the launch of Wicklow Forest Bathing on Friday the 29th of October 2021.
Forest Bathing in Wicklow is a new collaboration between a group of specialist guides in Co. Wicklow, Ireland who each bring their own unique vision and skill set to their work. This pilot eco-tourism training programme initiative was developed by Co. Wicklow Partnership, Ecowellness Consulting and funded under the LEADER Rural Development Fund 2014-2020.
The launch programme will take place at the Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs from 10.30am to 1pm. It will consist of a brief presentation on the benefits of Forest Bathing, a reading from special guest Irish poet Jane Clarke and a short immersive Forest Bathing experience within the beautiful grounds of the hotel.
Forest Bathing is a process of relaxation to reduce stress and help reconnect with nature. Forest bathing was developed in Japan as a national health programme. The simple method of being calm and present amongst the trees, observing nature around you, with all your senses, whilst breathing deeply has been proven to help boost health and wellbeing in a natural.
Forest Bathing comes under the umbrella of nature-based solutions for health and well-being. There is currently an international focus on the development of new green jobs in forest-based care for both the ecotourism and green care sectors.
12 Forest Bathing Guides have been trained through funding from the LEADER Rural Development Programme, supported by County Wicklow Patrtnership, who aims to establish Wicklow as the centre of forest bathing in Ireland.
Shirley Gleeson and Kerry Walker are two of the 12 new guides; Shirley is a nature wellbeing consultant as well as Managing Director of Ecowellness Consulting and the Co-Founder of Nádúr Centre for Integrative Forest Therapy. She trains and mentors Forest Bathing Guides both in Ireland and internationally and is the leading expert on Forest Bathing in Ireland. She is deemed an international expert in the area of nature and well-being.
Kerry Walker is a passionate Forest School Leader, Forest Bathing Guide, Forest Therapy Practitioner, and an Art Therapist.
Ahead of the Forest Bathing launch, Brian Carty, CEO at County Wicklow Partnership said: “Our own well-being, that of our staff here at CWP, our colleagues and the many clients within the wider community that we work to support is of key importance to us here, especially when we consider the busy, stressful lives we all live now.
“So many of us are looking for a way to slow down, destress and take time out from the daily grind to look after our mental health. Both the company, the board of CWP and the Local Community Development Committee are today delighted to announce the launching of this project and to see our new 12 fully trained guides working to make Wicklow the centre of Forest Bathing.”