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Age: High School-Adult
Title: The Nature of Well-being: the Social and Emotional Benefits of Nature
Description: The overwhelming amount of health benefits that come from spending time outside in nature and green spaces is well documented. This series will explore the social and emotional aspects of forest bathing and other exercises in nature.
Ashley Cannon is a 16-year veteran health and physical education teacher based in Smyth County, Virginia. An alumnus of ATC’s Trail to Every Classroom program, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and member of the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club, she has developed an outdoor curriculum for elementary physical education that includes an annual 6-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. Ashley can also be found teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Wytheville Community College, and exploring the Trail with her husband, son, and daughter all across Southwest Virginia.
Tina Hayes is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT). Growing up in the Southwest Virginia Mountains, she came to recognize how nature played a role in her own well-being throughout her life, including major surgery to amputate her arm. Forest Therapy helped steer her to her true calling. After many years of contemplating yoga training, she finally took the leap and became not only a certified yoga teacher, but also an iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation Teacher and hopes to continue her training in other areas and combine these services by using nature as the platform. She is eager to share her knowledge of how nature can provide support through this Forest Therapy practice.
Tanya Hall has worked at Hungry Mother State Park for 7 years at Chief Ranger of Visitor Experience also known as Park Interpreter. Before coming to the park she worked as a preschool teacher in the private sector, a Recreation Supervisor for Blue Ridge Job Corps and as a federal park ranger for the US Army Corps of Engineers. She has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of not only youth, but adults also throughout her career. She is a certified Virginia Master Naturalist and is an appointed Advisor to the board for the Holston Rivers Master Naturalist group here in southwest Virginia. She is an ACA certified canoe instructor, and a PLT, Project Wet and Underground facilitator. “Ever since I was young, I have loved the outdoors. I had three other siblings, very close in age, and my mother always said she would clean me up last or I would be right back out the door getting dirty again. Nature truly calms me and makes me realize how important our natural world is to our well being.”