Off-site Tours

Research has indicated that spending time in nature not only strengthens human immune response and reduces stress, but also makes us more creative, mindful, and content in our lives.

The beauty of Forest Therapy is that it connects humans and nature, so that both benefit from a renewed relationship.

Forest Therapy – Take a Walk in the Woods (T2F/T3F)

Led by Stana Luxford Oddie and Kristie Virgoe
Off-Site Field Trip Tuesday November 19, 2 PM – 5:15 PM

Delegates will be guided by exploring the forest to receive the therapeutic benefits and healing that the forest has to offer as well enjoy a tea ceremony to complete their Forest Therapy Walk experience.  This field trip provides a complete immersion to what Forest Therapy Walk is and will allow participants to get out of their heads and into their senses by being immersed in a natural setting. Forest Therapy Walks allow participants to deepen their relationship with themselves, each other and nature through guided invitations and opportunities to share in circle.  Walks are being hosted by certified Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides from Kawartha Conservation and Cataraqui Conservation.

Please note to come prepared to be outside and being able to sit down on the ground.  It is advisable to dress as if you were going outside all day in the winter.  Many layers, waterproofing, winter boots, hats, mitts and snow or wind pants are all necessary to receive the benefits from the experience.  We go less than one kilometre in two hours and it is a very slow and mindful experience.  We found last year that delegates that dressed for being outside in the winter weather with many layers, including bringing a blanket and hot warmers were helpful.  So please pack these extra items if you are planning on joining in on this field trip experience.

Meet the Forest Therapy Walk Leaders

<strong>Stana Luxford Oddie</strong>
Stana Luxford OddieSenior Conservation Educator/ANFT Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority
Stana Luxford Oddie joined the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority in September 1999 as the accredited OCT Educator. Along with program design, development, administration, and teaching, Stana also supervises the daily running of the education programs and mentors Education staff, Queen’s Teacher Candidates, Volunteers and the Nature Explorers summer camp team. The CRCA education department delivers interactive curriculum enriched Outdoor and Environmental Education and Nature Connection Programs to all ages ranging from preschool to senior participants.

Stana is thrilled to be a certified Forest Therapy Guide (Nov. 2016), Mentor (2017) and Trainer (2018) with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. She has guided many groups from the Kingston and surrounding community such as Queen’s Smith School of Business or St. Lawrence College’s Health and Fitness students on Forest Therapy Walks. Stana finds deep gratitude for the opportunity to hold space and be a part of the experience with those she guides in supporting their remembering of their relationship to themselves, each other and the land.

<strong>Kristie Virgoe</strong>
Kristie VirgoeDirector, Stewardship and Conservation Lands
Kawartha Conservation
Kristie Virgoe is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide and a member of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides. She has a long standing relationship with nature that includes wandering the Andes Mountains, Ontario’s wild spaces, and providing Forest Bathing walks in Durham Region, York Region, Simcoe County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. In her professional life, Kristie is the Director of Stewardship and Conservation Lands with Kawartha Conservation. In this role, she is able to work with dedicated landowners and the land they love so much. Kristie is the Chair of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and her work experience includes various Land Trusts and Conservation Authorities to help protect Ontario’s sensitive spaces and provide people with the opportunities to deepen their own relationships with nature. In her role as a Forest Therapy Guide, Kristie has led many groups through the forest bathing process including the York Region Forestry Department, College students, scientists and even the Minister of Health. Kristie and her family live in Cannington Ontario and can often be found on the many trails throughout the area.

Forest Therapy Walk: Indigenous Focus (W3F/W4F)

Led by Carolynne Crawley, Forest Therapy Guide, Mentor, and Trainer for the Association of Nature & Forest
Off-Site Field Trip Wednesday November 20, 1:15 PM – 4:45 PM

Therapy Programs will start the session with a talking circle that will focus upon breaking down colonial ways of thinking and interacting that separate people from their natural surroundings.  Afterwards, Carolynne Crawley will guide a Forest Therapy walk from an Indigenous perspective to support participants to slow down and to connect with All Beings by building reciprocal relationships with the land.

Carolynne is a Forest Therapy Guide and Trainer.  She leads walks for the general public and she is contracted to led walks for schools and organizations

Carolynne is a Mi’kmaw woman with mixed ancestry from the East Coast. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice and supporting Indigenous led community work related to food sovereignty and food security. Carolynne is passionate about connecting people with the land, themselves, and with each other. She leads workshops in relationship building to develop and strengthen healthy, reciprocal relationships based upon Indigenous teachings that decolonize existing interactions with the land.

Carolynne has worked with one of Canada’s largest food security organizations for the past decade.  She worked with Indigenous communities within the city of Toronto and with remote communities along the James Bay area.  She also co-produced a documentary titled ‘Reckoning with the Wendigo’ that highlights the resiliency within the Cree communities along the James Bay. Carolynne has had the pleasure of working with universities and colleges to create opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of food security and food sovereignty, along with connecting with the land. She is a Holistic Nutritionist, and has worked as a Child & Youth Worker for twenty years.  She now operates her new business, Msit Nokmaq, which translates to All of My Relations in Mi’kmaw.

What to Bring on the Forest Therapy Walks:

  • Please bring a water bottle or thermos with a hot drink
  • Wear comfortable, layered clothing. It’s suggested you bring one more warm layer than you think you will need. We will be moving very slowly and often being still so the fall temperatures may feel cooler than you expect if it is snowing. Bring anything else you may want to be warm and comfortable outdoors.
  • Waterproof, comfortable winter boots for walking on easy terrain.
  • Bring anything else you may want to be comfortable outdoors and sitting on the ground. We will have some sit upons and stools that you can opt to borrow and carry with you. Some people bring a small backpack to carry these items with them.

Endangered Species Site Walk (T2G/T3G)

Led by Peter Burke and Laura Williamson of Savanta Inc.
Field Tour Tuesday November 19, 2 PM – 5:15 PM

Endangered Species Site Walk

The County of Simcoe, Savanta Inc., Gartshore Environmental, American Forests, Environment Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have teamed up to initiate an exciting natural experiment to create habitat for one of the world’s rarest songbirds, and restore a piece of lost legacy on the Ontario landscape. Once described by early settlers and explorers as open pine barrens that stretched over regions of the province, these early successional forests were the result of naturally occurring and intentionally set fires by First Nations people. Today, 200 years later, these processes have been replaced by human development, forest management in the absence of fire and a new range of species that has changed the face of southern Ontario’s ecosystems significantly.  With this change has come the disappearance of young Pine-Oak savannas, and a significant loss of species in abundance and diversity associated with them. Perhaps the most emblematic of these is the Kirtland’s Warbler, a globally threatened songbird (S1B, G1) and Great Lakes endemic, listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in Canada and Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. It is selective in its habitat requirements, preferring large areas (>20 ha, and ideally >80 ha) dominated by dense young Jack and Red Pine for breeding, accompanied by open, early successional ground cover on sandy soils.

This multi-year project, now in its third year, is creating 50 ha of suitable breeding habitat for the warbler, as well as a rare vegetation community in Ontario on a former CPR railway ballast pit.  By providing an example of a restored early-successional pine-oak ecosystem, we will increase awareness and encourage further opportunities across southern Ontario’s landscape management. We will provide breeding habitat for not only an endangered songbird, but also a broad group of organisms that are experiencing declining populations. This includes many species of native sand-loving plants (including trees), birds, various butterfly and moth species and many other insect pollinators that are perhaps best suited to grapple with climate change into the future.  Our field visit will take participants through the process of how the site was selected, how the plan fits with the Simcoe County Museum (land owner) theme, planning stages and implementation, layout of the site, issues regarding goals for multiple users, the logic behind the species diversity being established and management issues since planting and seeding in spring of 2019.

Join us and learn more about this exciting conservation initiative!

Aggregate Resource Planning and Rehabilitation (W1G/W4G)

Workshop and Tour Wednesday November 20, 8:30 AM – 4:45 PM

The morning session presentations will provide attendees with: an introduction to the aggregate industry, extraction operations and the aggregate planning process; an overview of current planning and regulatory issues in the aggregate industry; and a presentation on the completed comprehensive study on aggregate site rehabilitation.

This will include a presentation on biodiversity offsetting related to aggregate proposals which introduces the afternoon field trip to Duntroon Quarry where a forest biodiversity offsetting project is underway.

The afternoon session will consist of a field tour to Duntroon Quarry to view an active quarry operation as well as visit an offsetting program involving unique and aggressive techniques to create healthy and diverse woodlands. The tour will visit a nursery where plant material for the project is sourced and the opportunity for scenic views in the Niagara Escarpment area of Clearview Township.

Duntroon Quarry
This tour is hosted by:

Sharon Armstrong, Ontario Stone Sand & Gravel Association
Ken Lucyshyn, Walker Industries
Kevin Elwood, Clearview Nursery
Anne Guiot, Skelton, Brumwell and Associates
Michael Wynia, Skelton, Brummell and Associates