Friends of the Forest is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Essex, CT. Our mission is to inspire individuals to connect with, care for, and protect our wildlife and wild spaces.
We believe that to inspire people to engage in the healing of our planet; we need to start by providing opportunities for people to develop a relationship with the living Earth.
Our Approach is Simple. Connecting with nature is at the heart of everything we do. We provide engaging, sensory immersion experiences with the more-than-human world to help people build positive wellness habits through a heart-centered healing relationship with our natural world.
Our Current Nature Immersion Programs:
- Forest Bathing Walks
- Gratitude Walks in Nature
- Nature-Based Meditation, Yoga, and Movement
- Nature-based Creative Arts and Journaling
- Goddess Gatherings
- Nature Engagement for our Senior Community
- An essential part of our mission is to bring the outside world into the lives of seniors living in nursing homes and facing isolation—FREE of charge through our Nature Nurtures Project. Participants engage with plants, small animals, natural materials, and expressive arts. The project consists of four programs: (1) Bird Tales (2) Feeders for Friends (3) Sensory Stories and (3) The Happiness Garden
The work we do and the experiences we provide help people feel happier, healthier, and more connected to our living Earth.
Friends of the Forest is looking for a permanent home to grow. All of our programs sell out months in advance, and as we grow, we need a permanent home to expand our offerings.
We envision a farmhouse and acreage that could offer the following:
- Four acres + for planting a wildflower teaching meadow. The presence of wildflowers with nectar-rich plants helps support dwindling populations of native pollinators, including butterflies, moths, and bees, helping to sustain insects that pollinate our food crops.
- A home for bees. Apiaries will be set up in the meadows and used as a live teaching tool. Proceeds from the sale of honey will support our Nature Nutures project.
- Woodland area for offering mindfulness walks in nature, such as forest bathing and gratitude walks.
- Indoor space to host Nature-Based Meditation, Yoga, and Movement classes
- Indoor space for an Herbal Tea Room
- Indoor space to host a new program called Creative Spaces. Creative Spaces will bring together lonely and isolated seniors who have mild to moderate dementia, providing positive opportunities to take part in nature-based activities and meet other people in similar situations.
- Indoor space for an office area with space for storage.
- Barn for at least two rescue horses for our horse-centered program, Sacred Connections.
In closing, spending time outside isn’t just something we should do in our spare time; it provides essential benefits to our physical and emotional health. This is backed up by established evidence. Our work harnesses the benefits that time spent in outdoor spaces can bring in terms of mental health.
We are looking for a partner to help us create meaningful and lasting connections between people of all ages and abilities and the natural world.
We would explore a long-term lease, lease to own, and partnership opportunities.