Join us for a

Scudder Nature Preserve
Register to Receive the Site Address & Directions
Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey

What is Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy is a research-based framework for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural environments. In Japan it is called "shinrin yoku," which translates to "forest bathing." Studies have demonstrated a wide array of health benefits, especially in the cardiovascular and immune systems, and for stabilizing and improving mood and cognition.



Join the Monmouth Conservation Foundation as we host our first Forest Therapy Walk just in time for the holiday season (a.k.a. the most stressful time of the year for many of us). This hour and a half walk will be led by a certified Forest Therapy guide (visit The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides to learn more about the amazing benefits of Forest Therapy . This walk is an opportunity for mindfulness in nature and is not intended to be a strenuous hike. The walk will take place at the Scudder Nature Preserve, a property owned by the New Jersey Audubon in Middletown, New Jersey (close to Atlantic Highlands and has an Atlantic Highlands zip code). The exact location and directions will be provided upon registration.

Pre-registration is required and there are a limited number of spots available to ensure the quality of the experience. 
For registration and any questions please email Amanda at

$20 Donation Per Person.


Roni Detrick, LCSW
Roni has certification in Nature and Forest Therapy Guiding. For many years Roni worked as a clinical social worker, focused on optimizing individuals’ well-being. Adept in facilitating groups and leading guided meditations, Roni brings strong therapeutic skills to her nature guiding. She savors her spiritual relationship with the earth. (Roni also is an adjunct professor at Drexel University. She is on the board of the Whitesbog Preservation Trust. Roni really finds pinecones irresistible!)

Paul Detrick
Paul was born and raised in the Pine Barrens. Paul is endlessly curious as to where the next trail will take us and looks with intention for the nature surprises each walk brings. He brings his love of the outdoors to his guiding. (Paul also is a practicing attorney with McDowell, Posternock, Apell and Detrick and a blueberry farmer. Paul truly loathes litter!)

More about Forest Therapy and Shinrin-yoku from "The Little Handbook of Shinrin-yoku" by M. Amos Clifford

Forest Therapy, also known as "Shinrin-Yoku," refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness.  The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.” Although we are inspired by the Japanese practice our use of the terms Forest Therapy and  Shinrin-Yoku do not mean a specifically Japanese practice. We mean spending time in nature in a way that invites healing interactions. There is a long tradition of this in cultures throughout the world. It’s not just about healing people; it includes healing for the forest (or river, or desert, or whatever environment you are in).

There are an infinite number of healing activities that can be incorporated into a walk in a forest or any other natural area. An activity is likely to be healing when it makes room for listening, for quiet and accepting presence, and for inquiry through all eight of the sensory modes we possess.

This view of healing interactions implies some baseline requirements for Shinrin-Yoku and Forest Therapy:

  • There is a specific intention to connect with nature in a healing way. This requires mindfully moving through the landscape in ways that cultivate presence, opening all the senses, and actively communicating with the land.
  • It is not something to rush through. Shinrin-Yoku walks are not undertaken with the primary goal of physical exercise. We prefer to avoid the term “hiking” because of its implications of physical exertion. As taught by the Association, Shinrin-Yoku walks are typically a mile or less and range in duration from two to four hours. 
  • Healing interactions require giving generously of our attention. We encourage mindfulness through an evolving series of suggested invitations. Each invitation is crafted  to help participants slow down and open our senses. As we do this we begin to perceive more deeply the nuances of the constant stream of communications rampant in any natural setting. We learn to let the land and its messages penetrate into our minds and hearts more deeply.
  • It’s not a one-time event. Developing a meaningful relationship with nature occurs over time, and is deepened by returning again and again throughout the natural cycles of the seasons. Like yoga, meditation, prayer, working out, and many other worthy endeavors, shinrin-yoku is a practice. And because it is a practice, it is best to learn it from a qualified guide.
  • It’s not just about taking walks in the forest. The walks are important, but there are other core routines that we can do that will help in our deepening relationship with nature, and in the exchange of health benefits between humans and the more- than-human-world. We often incorporate some of these practices in our guided shinrin-yoku walks, particularly the practices of sit spot, place tending, and cross-species communication.

These five elements together provide a framework for the practice of Forest Therapy.