"I just wanted to say how thankful I am for taking this online course during this weird and crazy time. I truly feel like my daily nature practice is one of the major things keeping me grounded right now."
– Kelly, Recreation Therapist, Canada
"That was amazing! Thank you for slowing my mind and body. To bring nature to the forefront of my life and remind me how to play again has made such a difference. Each day I see the world in a different way. Taking nature breaks energizes me. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us as well as being patient while we take the time to finish the whole course!"
– Georgina Hartman, Recreation Therapy Assistant, Sherwood Park, Alberta
Feeling crazy busy caring for others?
Exhausted & concerned about burnout?
Not getting the restorative self-care you need?
Noticing nearby nature may be just what you need in your daily life. It's an evidence-based self-care practice, and benefits are often felt immediately.
Previous participants report feeling joy and rejuvenation, with improved mood, energy and ability to focus.
This experiential online program is an 8-module interactive guide to savouring nearby nature for personal and professional self-care.
You’ll be guided through the process of creating enjoyable new habits to improve how you feel and function in your daily life.
*Designed with healthcare professionals in mind, it's also open to caregivers of people and planet.
The content is both playful & profound
I’ve lovingly curated relevant research findings, nature photos, quotes, poetry, and real-life stories to inspire and inform you.
The sensory activities and self-reflections can be easily personalized to suit your unique nature interests, your location and the time you have available.
You're invited to share with other participants in the comments right within the program, on your own time. Stories from previous participants are there for you to enjoy and be inspired by.
For Recreation Therapists:
CE Pre-Approved by NCTRC for 15 hours or 1.5 CEUs
“One of the most intriguing and most useful, practical courses I’ve taken in quite a while. So fun, informative and extremely useful practice of self care that can often be neglected. I was skeptical of online, but content was fun, delivered with a variety of tools such as video, poems, books. Such a perfect way to learn at my own pace. Loved it! Thank you!”
– Anonymous participant evaluation
The nature activities will reawaken your senses to the beauty and wonder of your natural habitat, including your sense of curiosity and fascination.
“I just realized the other day when I was out for a walk, that prior to this course, if I was out walking, I’d be lost in thought. I could walk for an hour and not really take note or observe my surroundings in any detail as I’d be thinking, planning etc.
Now, when I’m outside for a walk, getting fresh air, I’m actually “lost in nature”. I’m observing colours, textures, tiny bugs, changing colours of plants, new emerging flowers and buds on trees, fluttering and songs of birds and sounds of insects.
I’m slowing down on these walks, and feel rejuvenated, refreshed, more connected to my world and surroundings. It makes me laugh a bit. I feel like I have a new set of eyes and ears now! ”
– Lindsay Hooton, Recreation Therapist, Coquitlam, British Columbia
Each of the eight modules includes up to two hours of learning and activities, for a total of 15 hours. For those of you with limited time available, you can complete the program in less time by doing only the activities and reflections, and skipping the stories, research, and additional resources.
If you're a Recreation Therapist wanting the CEUs, you'll be directed to a quiz at the end of each module, requiring responses that could come from any of that module's learning material.
"As a result of taking Shelagh's course, I realize how important it is to give myself a nature prescription. Even though the primary focus of my work is helping people connect with nature, I was always too busy caring for the well-being of others to take a break on my lunch hour. Now I find myself eating outside, going for a quick walk, or stopping to pick flowers.
I realize that I have more to give by giving myself permission to take a break and look around. I don't have to go far to feel reconnected to nature and part of something greater than myself."
- Emma Rooney, Creativity Facilitator & Founder, Blooming Caravan, Toronto, Ontario
As a registered horticultural therapist and online educator, I am passionate about promoting the health and well-being of people and planet through daily engagement with nearby nature.
For 23 years, I developed and facilitated therapeutic garden programs for seniors living in care homes, while supervising and mentoring many students and volunteers. I taught people with mental health issues how to grow their own food, collaborated on the design of restorative and enabling gardens, and created and taught a 130-hour Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program.
My current focus is to inspire healthcare providers and caregivers to notice and engage with nearby nature for restorative self-care. Sensory nature play is a joyful daily practice for me, a source of nourishment and delight, and an evolving journey that I'd love to share with you. Join me, as we learn together to thrive with nature.
"It was amazing! I found that since I have done the course, I really notice nature in a different way, a deeper and more meaningful way."
I really feel a difference in my body…. I find when my stress is so high, I notice nature more. I worried sometimes and wondered if it was dissociating, but then I realize it is a moment of sanity in amongst the stress. It is something that is truly grounding me right now. Noticing the mountain ridge today just made me feel like everything was all going to be okay, and I think nature is there to serve as a reminder of that. The constant beauty and simplicity of it is such a gift!”
- Janay Babuin Funk, Recreation Therapist, BC, Canada
“I really enjoy your evidence-based information and the course was awesome – I would love to take another course with you, on just about anything!”
– Jessica, Recreation Therapist & Registered Nurse, Canada
"It’s amazing to be in this course at this time when there is so much uncertainty. Reading everyone’s comments, learning about stress and self care and connecting with nature has helped me keep things in perspective. Thank you so much Shelagh and everyone!
My awareness and appreciation of nature is really expanding. So very inspiring! So many simple things we can do that can bring so much joy! "
- Carol Shoji, British Columbia, Canada
I'm too busy. I don't have time to do the program
I'm with you! That's why I provide a worksheet for each module. Print it off and take it outside with you, or wherever you choose. The worksheet includes key points, activities, and self-reflection questions.
I'd rather do the program at my own pace, with no requirement to keep up or to comment
I hear you. This is a self-paced program and you have access for one year, so you can take your time. You're not required to comment or interact with me or the other participants unless you wish to.
I live in a dense urban area without nearby nature to enjoy
You'll learn creative ways to notice nearby nature that you may not have been aware of before, and you'll learn simple ways to add more nature content to your everyday life, where you live, work and play.
"Prior to taking the course, my time spent in nature could often be 'mindless', when I would be focused on my thoughts and not aware of my environment. I now make a conscious effort to say thanks and honour my environment and allow nature to heal and enrich my soul."
- Sherry Dodson, Horticultural Therapist, Ontario, Canada
Frequently Asked Questions
"This course is truly fantastic! I was in a sad place when I first started and getting out in Nature and seeing life in a different perspective has really lightened my being.
Thank you, Shelagh. I truly believe this course came along at the right time."
– Debbie Boef, Instructor of Recreation Therapist Assistants, Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC
3% of your program enrollment fee will be donated to The Nature Conservancy.
Their mission: Conserving the lands and waters upon which all life depends.
Their goal: A world where people and nature thrive.