Ann Ward is a native and an Ambassador of the Ring of Gullion. Her family heritage is closely connected to Slieve Gullion Mountain. Ann founded Xhale, a tourism and development organisation a few years ago. She has a rich tapestry of experience within the community, arts, education and private sectors, as a development facilitator. Personal empowerment is at the heart of all of her work where she offers transformative programmes tailored for individuals, groups and organisations. She explains here about her new project an online Nature Immersion Course.
While I was sitting resting in the forest around 7 weeks ago, I was inspired to develop an online 6 week Nature Immersion Course. I designed it around the main nature connection pathways and its development has been guided by my own nature immersions.
I am currently testing it with participants who have engaged in my forest bathing sessions. Each week includes a grounding meditation and gratitude for nature is weaved throughout each session on zoom. It is a wonderful exchange of the appreciation of nature developed through nature based homework through the expressive arts.
The benefits of the course have been emerging each week and include:
- deepening a connection with nature through the senses;
- nurturing creativity and a symbiotic relationship with nature;
- boosting mood and stress reduction.
One participant said ‘I used to pull the dandelions from my garden but this week, I observed a Goldfinch eating their seeds, it then dawned on me, how important they are for our biodiversity’.
For European Heritage Open Days (12th and 13th Sept 7-9pm – social distancing measures in place), Ann had decided to do an exhibition of her photography. It is called ‘A Journey Guided by Nature and Heritage’.
As a result of the magic which has unfolded during the nature immersion course, participants will also be contributing to the exhibition through their artwork inspired by their nature journey. This will include paintings, photography, textiles and literature. For more information, visit, Ann’s website.