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SONI VILLAGE, JAPAN; JULY 2017 ----- my trips to Japan have changed my ways of being in and knowing of the world around me


"Why you should tell your team to take a break and go outside"
- Harvard Business Review

by Emma Seppälä and Johann Berli, June 26, 2017


"Greenery isn’t just an air-freshener that’s pleasant to look at, it can actually significantly boost employee well-being, reduce stress, enhance innovative potential, and boost a sense of connection. Yet most of us don’t spend much time in nature. Richard Louv, author of the Nature Principal, argues that we’re collectively suffering from “nature-deficit disorder,” which hurts us mentally, physically, and even spiritually. Adding a little wilderness to your corporate offices may just be the smartest move you can do this year."



"Exposure to nature may therefore foster boost superior decision-making which includes better foresight. Exposure to natural environments also strengthens attention and may even help strengthen memory."


"Finally, we know that the #1 trait leaders look for in incoming employees is creativity, and exposure to natural environments dramatically improves our ability to think expansively and make superior decisions."

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Forest Therapy

What is Forest Therapy?

This originated in Japan as "Forest Bathing" or "shinrin-yoku" in the '80s when the government recognized an increase in health problems brought about by the intensity and demands of their urban work environment. They conducted much research and realized that humans in the urban world were disconnected from the indigenous land and nature found more commonly in other parts of their country.

This video is a lovely overview of forest therapy process.

Val's certified by ANFT practice which is inspired by the Japanese practice and is a guided sensory experience that will aide you in slowing down - disconnecting to reconnect.



Your Host

Hi. I'm Val your Forest Friday host. In 2021, I became certified as a Forest Therapy guide by ANFT (Association of Nature and Forest Therapists). I tell my story of arriving at this place in a blog post. This has been a life journey of circuitous trails that has lead me to this spot today. Part of that adventure includes 8 excursions around the country of Japan connecting with their forests and indigenous culture of shinto. It makes sense that humans were not meant to spend so much time in constructed boxes with artificial lighting and instead belong in part in the wild that the earth offers as our home.

In 2018, I walked away from a long career as a graphic design professor to forge a new unpaved path among the trees in Tennessee in a particular region called the Western Highland Rim. I had never been to this area before, but it resonated with me when I saw in on one fateful November day. In the midst of winter, there was still green and beauty of this area that connected to my fiber. I decided that my creative spirit and my personal quest to heal from long toxic dysfunction would be best suited within the forest. I am the founder and director of Camp Wonder Wander - a nature immersion creativity retreat center.

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