Nature and Forest Therapy Guides

Guide Training Immersion 4 days

Australia, Canberra - Birrigai Outdoor School 2024

Cohort

October 4, 2024
to
October 8, 2024

Enrollment Open

An opportunity to connect with other guides from other cohorts and learn from the shared experiences.
If you have completed at least module 4 and submitted the corresponding assignments, of the six-month remote Forest Therapy Guide Training you're eligible to apply. Completion of this immersion and the six-month training fulfills the requirements for full Certification. When space is available, ANFT-trained guides who have completed training in any past cohort can also participate. Please note that priority goes to students who need to take the immersion to get fully certified. Therefore, when you apply, you'll be put on a waitlist until three weeks before the start of the immersion.
Duration
6 months training +
4 day immersion
Hybrid Format
Remote Live Calls +
In Person Immersion
US$ 2495.00 +
US$495 (Travel expenses, lodging and meals not incl.)
Duration
6 months training +
4 day immersion
Hybrid Format
Remote Live Calls +
In Person Immersion
US$ 3350.00
‍US$495 (Travel expenses, lodging and meals not incl.)

A 4 day in-person gathering, with 1 or 2 trainers, and people from different cohorts where you will have the opportunity to apply what you learned, experience in-person forest therapy walks and simply connect and share experiences and stories with other guides.


In this immersion, you will:

Get a hands on experience of what you learned
Get to know trainers personally
Get to know other guides and connect
Learn from shared experiences with other guides
Deepen into the practice
Get the opportunity to ask specific questions that might come up

Once you complete this four-day immersion, your certification will be moved from provisional to permanent. You have  two years after you complete the six month core training course to complete an immersion. It will help to give you a sense of the community of guides that has grown and is active throughout the world.

This is an ASL video by Deaf certified ANFT guide, Summer Crider, explaining the details of this retreat, including some video clips of the Aspen Camp location.

Schedule for Live Events

What is Included in the Training? 

14 modules, over
120 lessons
Over 14 live calls with your trainers and cohort
Small group discussion calls with trainers
Downloadable manual
30+ short videos, recorded by different trainers
40+ assignments/ self exploration activities
20+ nature connection activities
Access to research papers and studies
Fun Facts and Reflections
Remote Forest Therapy walks guided by trainers
Guide your own walks and debrief them
Access to the largest forest therapy guide's community worldwide

About the Venue:
VENUE
Birrigai Outdoor School 2024
164 Tidbinbilla Road, (Canberra)
Tharwa ACT 2620
Canberra
Australia
https://www.education.act.gov.au/birrigai

Nestled amidst mountain peaks, native woodlands, tranquil streams and teeming with abundant wildlife, Birrigai sprawls across 570 acres of stunning Ngunnawal Country, adjacent to the Tidbinbilla Range and Namadgi National Park.

Embrace the Australian spring during your stay, marked by warming weather and kangaroo joeys (baby kangaroos). The native bush comes to life with the vibrant hues and fragrant aromas of wildflowers, including native orchids and the bulbine lily. Discover the beauty of Birrigai through its myriad private walking trails, inviting you to explore the captivating natural wonders of this more-than-human world.

Experience quintessential Australia where the land echoes stories spanning eons. Wander along ancient Songline trails, well-trodden for 25,000 years by the indigenous Ngunnawal people. Discover Birrigai's granite tors, rock formations, and culturally modified trees, encapsulating the essence of the land's rich history. Immerse yourself in the spiritual significance of the Birrigai Rock Shelter, the most significant Aboriginal sacred site in the Australian alpine region. We will be welcomed by the local indigenous people of this land and the staff at Birrigai.

Explore more before or after the immersion Directly behind Birrigai lies the spectacular Gibraltar Peak, featuring an acclaimed 8km hike to the peak that ranks among the top 10 day hikes in Australia. Adjoining Birrigai is Canberra’s premier Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, a haven for diverse wildlife. It is home to kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, potoroos, bandicoots, wallaroos, echidnas, emus, lyrebirds and many other birds and reptiles. The immersion coincides with Canberra’s internationally renowned Floriade festival - a celebration of spring, and the largest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

LODGING

Prices are listed in Australian dollars, and the estimated equivalent in USD (based on conversion rates at the time of publishing).

Visit www.xe.com for the latest conversion rates.

Fees listed below are in addition to the tuition paid to ANFT. A booking platform fee will be applicable.

We'll enjoy exclusive access to Birrigai's expansive 570 acres for an immersive experience. The land sings a morning chorus made up of over 60 bird species, and 5 species of frogs. Kangaroos with joeys graze right outside your windows.

All participants are required to stay on-site; off-site options are not available.

Birrigai offers 18 rooms, including 4 twin-share rooms (2 single beds), and 14 simple, comfortable dormitory-style rooms (bunk beds).

The first 10 participants will have their own room, after which the remaining rooms may be shared with 1 other. Allocation of twin-share and ‘Hatcliff’ rooms (which will all be allocated as singles) is on a first-come, first-served basis, as outlined below:

● 4 twin-share rooms (2 single beds) en-suite bathroom.
● 6 ‘Hatcliff’ rooms (2-3 bunks each), en-suite bathroom.
● 8 ‘Green’ and ‘Honyong’ rooms (8 bunks each); bathrooms are shared between two rooms and may also be accessible to campers.
● Camping option is available, requiring you to bring your own gear, with shared bathroom facilities.

Prices are per person for the entire 4-night immersion, and include accommodation as noted, all lunches and dinners (catering for all diets), venue hire and fees, cleaning and use of facilities.

● Twin-share room, en-suite bathroom - AUD 833 (USD 546).
● Hatcliff room, en-suite bathroom - AUD 833 (USD 546).
● Honyong or Green room, shared bathroom - AUD 833 (USD 546).
● Camping with your own gear, shared bathroom - AUD 628 (USD 411).

VENUE TO CONFIRM FINAL PRICING BY END OF FEBRUARY 2024

On-site charge - AUD 155 (USD 101) per person additional charge for the entire duration, payable in cash at the venue to cover on-site costs. Upon confirmation of your registration, additional details on reserving accommodation will be provided.

If you have a preferred roommate, you can indicate this during the booking process. Bedding is provided for rooms. You will need to bring your own towel/s and toiletries.

Please refer to the cancellation policies of this immersion below.

MEALS

All lunches and dinners, from dinner on October 4th to lunch on October 8th, are provided.

**Breakfast is not included; however, a simple group kitchen equipped with fridge, stove, oven, microwave, cutlery, and crockery is available for self-catering.
**Snacks between meals are not part of the inclusive package.

Birrigai’s team includes two fully qualified chefs who will skillfully prepare our lunches and dinners. Dietary preferences such as vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore options can be accommodated; please specify your requirements during the booking process. Birrigai is a nut-free site. For additional supplies, the nearest grocery store is a 20-minute drive away at Lanyon Market Place, offering a petrol station, newsagent, chemist, and some restaurants. Please be aware that there is no public transport available.

TRANSPORTATION

Nearest airport: Canberra Airport 40 mins’ drive.

Getting to Birrigai:

Coordinated ride sharing amongst the immersion participants will facilitate airport transfers. Birrigai will provide assistance with limited daytime transfers on arrival and departure days.

By car
Birrigai is situated on Tidbinbilla Road, approximately a 40-45 minute drive from Canberra's CBD. Access is via Cotter Road or Point Hut Crossing. For accurate GPS directions, simply enter ‘Birrigai’. Keep in mind that mobile reception may be limited during the drive. From Sydney, Birrigai is a 4-5 hour drive. The nearest petrol station is at Lanyon Market Place, a 20 minute drive away. Watch out for wildlife. Native wildlife is abundant and many species are most active at dawn and dusk. Exercise extra care when driving during these times.

Uber/Rideshare
If opting for rideshare from Canberra airport, anticipate a cost of approximately AUD 80-100 (USD52-65) per ride. Parking On-site parking is available. Follow the signs to the public car parking area along the Birrigai driveway. Additional details on ride-sharing and shuttles, along with a map of the area, will be provided upon confirmation of your registration.

SCHEDULE DETAILS

Arrival and registration: 4 October 2024, between 2-4pm Welcome circle: 4 October 2024, begins at 4pm
Closing and check out: 8 October 2023, by 2.30 pm.

If you are booking flights, please make sure your domestic departing flight leaves no earlier than 5pm to give yourself enough time to commute to the airport without leaving the program early.

GENERAL NOTES

Payment and Cancellation Policies

Payment Terms:
● A 15% deposit is required upon booking.
● The remaining balance is due 60 days before the start of the immersion.

Cancellation terms:
● Up to 60 days before start: Full refund, less booking fees.
● 59 to 30 days before start: 50% refund, less booking fees.
● 29 days or less before the start: No refund. We highly recommend you obtain travel insurance.

WIFI and Connectivity]
Free and fast WiFi internet in and around the buildings. Mobile network is not available as at the date of publication

Venue Policies
No smoking.
No pets allowed.
Fire is permitted on designated campfire and BBQ sites.

COVID Policy
Participants will not need to have a negative COVID test, unless they are experiencing symptoms. Please be in touch directly with the trainers for this immersion if you have any additional questions.

Additional costs to consider
● Breakfast is not included; however, a simple group kitchen equipped with fridge, stove, oven, microwave, cutlery, and crockery is available for self-catering.
● On-site charge - AUD 155 (USD 101) per person additional charge for the entire duration, payable in cash at the venue to cover on-site costs.
● Car rental if you want to go off-site during the immersion.
● Travel insurance (highly recommended).

Ride-sharing and accommodation sharing options
If you're interested in ride-sharing or accommodation sharing, you'll have the opportunity to share your travel details and contact information to connect with fellow participants registered for the immersion.

Payments
Payments are made by credit card to Birrigai directly. A booking platform fee will apply.

Tuition

The tuition for the four-day immersion is $495. Wait to pay until you are ready to register for a specific immersion. You will have two years from the completion of your core guide training to do the immersion.

Immersion tuition does not include transportation, lodging or camping fees and food. These expenses are separate from the program costs for the four-day immersion and are the responsibility of the trainee.

IMPORTANT: Please wait until you receive enrollment confirmation before booking travel and lodging.

Tuition figures are current as of January 1 2021 and are subject to change.

Trainers

Entrenadores

Bansi’s journey began exploring the wilds of Kenya, and later the Australian outback. Over the years, she has intuitively gone to the Wilderness to heal, to re-calibrate, to rest.
She has witnessed the transformative power of nature on people, which lead her to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide. Bansi co-founded Shades of Nature to help people bring nature & nature-based practices into their everyday lives. She offers Forest Therapy experiences, movement in nature, and nature-based retreats & safaris in Australia, Africa and Asia.
Bansi holds a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Sydney. She is also a trained and qualified Pilates instructor, Yoga teacher, and a PADI Scuba Divemaster. Her deep interest in grief, sorrow, and loss, and the role of the more-than-human world in these experiences led her to complete the Grief Ritual Leadership training with Francis Weller, psychotherapist and author of 'The Wild Edge of Sorrow.'
Bansi’s happy place is in the Wilderness, and she has a particular passion for reptiles, scuba diving, slow hiking and stand-up paddle boarding.


Vicky Kyan is the first ANFT Certified Guide, Mentor and Trainer in the Southern Hemisphere. She is a strong advocate for the practice of Nature and Forest Therapy, and for the promotion of trainings in the South Pacific. She is largely inspired by her local ocean beach, seashore and estuary ecosystems, where she has pioneered this work since her Guide Training with ANFT in North California in May 2015.

Vicky operates a small Homestay holiday retreat, where she offers ‘Wellbeing Wanders’ Nature and Forest Therapy guided experiences. When she is not travelling she uses her Pacific Island home as a base for mentoring ANFT trainee guides and building network with nature connection contacts both nationally and around the world. She is also an active member of the ANFT International Training Team and travels to trainings around the world.

Advisors

Entrenadores

Dr. Qing Li

Dr, Qing Li (MD, PhD) graduated from Shanxi Medical University in China and got a PhD degree from Kagoshima University in Japan. He has studied at Stanford University School of Medicine.

He is a clinical professor at Nippon Medical School, President of the Japanese Society of ForestMedicine, Director of the Forest Therapy Society, Vice-President and Secretary General of International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine (INFOM) (https://www.infom.org).

Prof. Li is the world’s foremost expert in forest medicine and immunology. He has received Society ward from the Japanese Society for Hygiene in Forest Medicine in 2022 and University Award from Nippon Medical School in Forest Medicine in 2011 (https://researchmap.jp/read0045249?lang=en)

Some people study medicine. Some people study forest. Dr. Li studies forest medicine to find out all the ways in which walking in the forest can improve our well-being. He started the forest medicine research (Shinrin-yoku/Forest bathing/Forest therapy) from 2004 and has published many articles in scientific journals and books in forest medicine.

His book: Shinrin-yoku (https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/308285/shinrin-yoku/9780241984857.html) has been translated into 26 languages.

His book: Forest bathing (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/579709/forest-bathing-by-dr-qing-li/) was ranked in the bestseller list in the US in 2018.

Dr. Susan Abookire

Susan Abookire, BSEE, MD, MPH, FACP, is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, a practicing Internist, and a senior executive with 20 years’ experience leading healthcare organizations. She has served as Chief Medical Officer, System Chief Quality Officer, and Chair of Quality and Patient Safety. Dr. Abookire began her career as an electrical engineer in aviation systems. She has taught nationally and internationally on patient safety, high reliability, systems design, and the health benefits of nature. Dr. Abookire also enjoys being a Forest Therapy guide and incorporates Forest Therapy into medical curricula.

Dr. Robert Zarr

Dr. Robert Zarr is a physician researcher and public health pediatrician based at Unity Health Care, Inc. and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Canada. He has provided medical care to minority and immigrant populations for more than 20 years.

A longtime advocate for Medicare for All, Dr. Zarr served as PNHP president from 2015 through 2016. He founded and was the first medical director of Park Rx America, a community health initiative to prescribe nature to patients and families to prevent and treat chronic disease and promote wellness. A certified nature and forest therapy guide by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, Dr. Zarr previously served as the Park Rx Advisor to the National Park Service in his national advocacy to connect patients to parks.

Dr. Zarr earned his medical degree at Baylor University and his MPH at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and completed residency in pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor.

Advisor

Entrenadores

Summer , as a certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide, works in partnership with Nature to provide opportunities to help humans re-connect with the Earth and themselves. Born and raised in the cypress swamp of North Florida, Summer has navigated through various life experiences as a human being who happens to be deaf. After getting their degrees in Expressive Art Therapy and Deaf Cultural Studies, and certified in American Sign Language, Summer taught ASL, Spanish, and Deaf Culture in various high schools and colleges/universities for 15+ years. They also established a media consulting business, making educational films accessible to the sign language community.After they experienced some challenges with severe anxiety, Summer found Mother Nature calling them back home. Summer decided to study Nature and Forest Therapy through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and eventually found a new purpose- assisting humans from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and languages to rediscover their connection with the Natural world through the healing practice of forest bathing.

Summer , as a certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide, works in partnership with Nature to provide opportunities to help humans re-connect with the Earth and themselves. Born and raised in the cypress swamp of North Florida, Summer has navigated through various life experiences as a human being who happens to be deaf. After getting their degrees in Expressive Art Therapy and Deaf Cultural Studies, and certified in American Sign Language, Summer taught ASL, Spanish, and Deaf Culture in various high schools and colleges/universities for 15+ years. They also established a media consulting business, making educational films accessible to the sign language community.After they experienced some challenges with severe anxiety, Summer found Mother Nature calling them back home. Summer decided to study Nature and Forest Therapy through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and eventually found a new purpose- assisting humans from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and languages to rediscover their connection with the Natural world through the healing practice of forest bathing.

Advisor

Summer Crider

Summer , as a certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide, works in partnership with Nature to provide opportunities to help humans re-connect with the Earth and themselves.

Born and raised in the cypress swamp of North Florida, Summer has navigated through various life experiences as a human being who happens to be deaf. After getting their degrees in Expressive Art Therapy and Deaf Cultural Studies, and certified in American Sign Language, Summer taught ASL, Spanish, and Deaf Culture in various high schools and colleges/universities for 15+ years. They also established a media consulting business, making educational films accessible to the sign language community.

After they experienced some challenges with severe anxiety, Summer found Mother Nature calling them back home. Summer decided to study Nature and Forest Therapy through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and eventually found a new purpose- assisting humans from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and languages to rediscover their connection with the Natural world through the healing practice of forest bathing.

Advisors

Tamberly Kerr - Conway - PhD
Tamberly serves as an ANFT Certified Guide and ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Trail Consultant. Tamberly holds an MS and PhD in Forestry, with a focus upon Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, focusing upon diversity engagement, health and nature connections, forest health/human health relationships, and community empowerment in conservation.

Tahia Devischer - PhD
Tahia is a research and teaching fellow at the University of British Columbia. She holds a PhD in ecosystems science from the University of Oxford, and is a certified forest therapy guide with ANFT. She works at the nexus of urban forests, human well-being and climate resilience.


Certification Pathway

STEP 1
6-month remote training
STEP 2
4-day in-person immersion
STEP 3
Get your certification
STEP 1
You will start with a 6-month remote training, covering the content on live calls with the support of your trainers, fellow students, a very user friendly learning platform, many self exploration and nature connection activities that are done outside. After completing this training you get a provisional certification as a Certified Forest Therapy Guide. To view the available trainings scroll down
STEP 2
After completing module 4 you can apply to attend a 4-day in-person immersion, for hands on forest therapy guiding experience with trainers and fellow students. You have two years time to complete this step. To view the available immersions click here
STEP 3
After completing the 6-month remote training and the 4-day in- person immersion, you will receive your permanent certification as an ANFT Certified
Forest Therapy Guide
and be part of the largest Forest Therapy
Guide Community Worldwide. Click here to see the guide´s map.
IMPORTANT: Before you send out your application, please make sure that the
schedule for the calls works for you and your time zone. Check the detailed Schedule HERE
Additional Questions?  Check our FAQ section

Advisors

Tamberly Kerr - Conway - PhD
Tamberly serves as an ANFT Certified Guide and ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Trail Consultant. Tamberly holds an MS and PhD in Forestry, with a focus upon Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, focusing upon diversity engagement, health and nature connections, forest health/human health relationships, and community empowerment in conservation.

Tahia Devischer - PhD
Tahia is a research and teaching fellow at the University of British Columbia. She holds a PhD in ecosystems science from the University of Oxford, and is a certified forest therapy guide with ANFT. She works at the nexus of urban forests, human well-being and climate resilience.


Advisors

Tamberly Kerr - Conway - PhD
Tamberly serves as an ANFT Certified Guide and ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Trail Consultant. Tamberly holds an MS and PhD in Forestry, with a focus upon Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, focusing upon diversity engagement, health and nature connections, forest health/human health relationships, and community empowerment in conservation.

Tahia Devischer - PhD
Tahia is a research and teaching fellow at the University of British Columbia. She holds a PhD in ecosystems science from the University of Oxford, and is a certified forest therapy guide with ANFT. She works at the nexus of urban forests, human well-being and climate resilience.


Advisors

Tamberly Kerr - Conway - PhD
Tamberly serves as an ANFT Certified Guide and ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Trail Consultant. Tamberly holds an MS and PhD in Forestry, with a focus upon Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, focusing upon diversity engagement, health and nature connections, forest health/human health relationships, and community empowerment in conservation.

Tahia Devischer - PhD
Tahia is a research and teaching fellow at the University of British Columbia. She holds a PhD in ecosystems science from the University of Oxford, and is a certified forest therapy guide with ANFT. She works at the nexus of urban forests, human well-being and climate resilience.