I am officially a little over halfway through my summer internship with LHIP. Time has flown by so quickly and each week goes by faster and faster. Recently I’ve been working on Latino Conservation Week (LCW) because it is approaching very quickly. This year’s LCW will be virtual due to the pandemic, and will fall on the week of July 18th-26th. My event is focused on Nature Therapy and will fall on Friday the 24th. I am encouraging participants to disconnect from technology and immerse themselves in nature for as long as they are willing to participate. Ideally participants will be outdoors for a couple hours to get the full experience.
This practice is called Forest Bathing or Nature Bathing, but contrary to the title you don’t need to be in a forest to participate. The beauty of this event is that anyone anywhere can participate in any outdoor space where they feel safe and at peace. It can be a local park, the beach, a garden, or even your backyard. While in the outdoors, you can do anything that helps you relax and unwind. Personally, I like to paint or journal but you can also picnic with family members, meditate, draw, or even exercise. I wanted to give as much freedom and flexibility to participants as possible.
The main reason why I chose this event is because it was suggested to me by my SEKI mentors Cristina and Estephany after discussing some of my ideas with them. Forest bathing was suggested to me as a way to promote recreating responsibly during the pandemic. After looking into Forest Bathing and the positive effects it has on mental and physical health, I was sold. Not only did I think this would be a great way for Latinos to get outdoors, but this also serves as an opportunity for people to discuss the importance of mental health, which is a taboo subject in Latino households. Due to the current state of the world, I think now more than ever there needs to be more mental health awareness. I hope that this event not only helps people who are struggling with their mental health but also helps families start a conversation about mental well-being. Hopefully this blog post inspires some of you to go outdoors and give your minds a well deserved break from your busy lives. Listen to what your body is telling you and find something you enjoy and do it for yourself. Always remember to check in on friends and family members, you may not know who is struggling a little.
You can learn more about my event or Latino Conservation Week, at https://latinoconservationweek.com.
Agency: National Park Service
Program: Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP)
Location: Sequoia National Forest