"Come to the woods,
for here is rest."
About me: Hello! My name is Jennifer Boudart, and I'm sending you greetings from the northeastern corner of Illinois. I have had a passion for wild spaces from a very young age. As a child growing up in the Midwest, I was lucky enough to have lots of unstructured time for roaming and enjoying hands-on interactions with plants and animals. Spending time outdoors is a habit I have embraced as an adult. I love walking local trails and make a point of exploring local ecosystems whenever I travel. Every walk is different. Something new is always revealed. My sense of awe and joy increases, and my feelings of stress and anxiety melt away.
I recently became a certified forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) to complement my 30-plus-year career as a science writer. This training allows me to share my love for nature with others in a very meaningful way. I have personally experienced the healing that comes from spending time in nature, and I am excited to help others reconnect with the land around them and reawaken their sense of wonder, calm, wholeness, and hope.
"It's a fantastic experience to get in touch with nature and yourself. Jennifer does a great job guiding!"
About my walks: As a certified guide, I create a safe environment that frees people from the need to track time, to chart a destination, or to have any agenda. Without these distractions, people can relax into the moment and interact with outdoor spaces in a simple, sensory way. They can experience what it means to be with nature versus simply being in nature. And they can deepen their sense of human connection as they gather with others to listen and share.
The "therapy" part of this practice does not refer to any clinical expertise I have in this area—rather, the ANFT motto is "The forest is the therapist. The guide opens the doors." My role is to partner with the land to offer a series of open-ended invitations that awaken and engage the senses. There is no expectation of what should happen. Each person’s experience is shaped by their unique response to their encounters with nature.
I'm happy to guide forest therapy walks for one person or for a group. A walk can happen in all sorts of natural environments—from wooded trails to city parks to backyard spaces. Walks generally last 1.5 to 3 hours, but they aren't strenuous. We go very slowly, typically traveling less than half a mile. Much of our walk will happen in silence, but there are times to share what you are noticing too. And we'll end our time together with snacks and tea made from locally harvested plants.
Let's take a wander in the woods together!