For the last 4 years I’ve been running experiential learning adventures and educational nature retreats through Animist Ecology exploring our connection to forests.
On our adventures, we learn to explore the forest through all of our senses, explore our interconnectedness with other living beings inn the web of life and learn to identify the plants, trees and fungi that have medicinal properties.
I’ve found teaching in the forest to be incredibly rewarding. As I’m always trying to learn new things and improve, I’m constantly on the hunt for new documentaries on forest ecology, fungi and nature connections practices such as the Shinrin-Yoku tradition that comes out of Japan.
If you want to learn more about how forests can heal, here are some highly-recommended documentaries on forest ecology and what the Japanese call “Shinrin-Yoku”, which roughly translates as “bathing in the atmosphere of the forest”:
1. Secrets Of A Living Planet: The Magical Forest
One of my favourite forest ecology documentaries, this documentary film goes in-depth into mycelium and the crucial role of fungi in the forest ecosystem.
2. Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees
The best documentary I’ve seen on forest ecology. This film by Canadian scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger explores our profound biological and spiritual connection with trees and how forests are one of the world’s most significant sources of food, new medicines and the oxygen we breathe.
3. Shinrin-Yoku: The Art of Forest Bathing
Stuck swiping Insta every day? Discover how the practice of forest bathing can change your life and heal both mental and physical problems. Unplug with Mike and Kati on an ancient Japanese trail, learning the creative and health benefits of Shinrin-Yoku.
4. How Forests Heal People
An excellent short documentary by an organization called Healing Forests on how forests have the ability to heal us. Watch this film and develop a greater awareness about the link between human beings and nature.
5. Forest Therapy: The Lore Company and Shinrin Yoku
Come on an adventure to Tujunga in the mountains near Los Angeles to take a walk and learn about Shinrin Yoku forest therapy. Follow our forest therapy teacher Ben Page and Creative Director Sally Choi as they traverse the forest and mellow out in nature.
6. The Science of “Forest Bathing”
Learn about the science of forest bathing and how spending more time in forests reduce your stress, improve your sleep, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and make you feel more connected to the awe-inspiring power of nature.
7. Windows To The Wild: Forest Bathing
Windows to The Wild Guide Willem takes a guided hike deep into the woods where he learns how to slow down and experience nature with all his senses.
Enjoy the films!