October 7 2020
By Tanya Hammond
During the pandemic, people around the world have been heading outdoors more than ever for recreation, leisure, inspiration, and wellness, and those of us living here in Leeds County are no different.
Recently, I discovered that local photographer Ted Kaiser is taking his love of nature to a whole new level by completing a certification in Forest Therapy Guiding with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy – ANFT. As part of his training, he and a group of close friends and family members are participating in a Forest Therapy session led by Stana Luxford-Oddie, an outdoor educator and an ANFT certified forest therapy guide employed by the Cataraqui Conservation Authority.
The forest therapy walk will occur in the Lost Bay Nature Reserve located in the Black Rapids Rd area off County Rd 3 in Leeds and the Thousand Islands. Part of the Algonquin to Adirondack Connection within the Frontenac Axis, the 238-hectare reserve is one of only twenty-six reserves managed by Ontario Nature and home to twenty four species at risk. According to Ted, Lost Bay resident, “Emily Conger and Cameron Smith were the main energy behind the establishment of the Lost Bay Nature Reserve.” The local couple feel as do the organizations involved, that forming a healthy relationship with nature helps face the threats of climate change, inappropriate development and invasive species.
When I hear the name Lost Bay, I can’t help but think of the saying, “sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself.” Perhaps instead of getting lost in the literal sense, you need to instead focus on your natural surroundings, listening to the sounds offered up to you by sitting for a time, and connecting to the woodland wildlife and the community within the trees, the streams and the ground beneath your feet.