Join Bennett Spring State Park team members on the third Friday of each month to honor our connection with the natural world by participating in green therapy. Researchers recommend spending five hours a month in nature to relax and reduce stress. Forest therapy, ecotherapy, forest bathing, grounding and “Earthing” are other names used for this experience.

During each program, participants will hike about 2 miles on Whistle Trail, traveling along the spring to the Niangua River and back to the trail access point. A portion of the trail traverses bluff tops and some climbing will be necessary. Participants are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes, use insect repellent and bring water and snacks. Each program begins at 11 a.m. at the nature center.

Program topics and dates:

May 19 – Nature Meditating: Use all five sense to experience the trail. Reflect on something you’re drawn to in nature.

June 16 – Touch and Taste: Come learn about wild edibles and improve your mental health by connecting with nature. Berries are due to ripen during this time.

July 21 – Deep Breathing: Slow down and observe aquatic and terrestrial lifestyles as dragonflies dance and begin to lay eggs.

Aug. 18 – Observation: Observe and meditate while watching visitors fish during National Fishing Month.

Sept. 15 – Gratitude/Nature Journaling: Celebrate Archaeology Month by viewing rocks and minerals in the nature center before heading outside. On the trail, take notes of things to be thankful for.

Bennett Spring State Park is located at 26250 Highway 64A outside of Lebanon. For more information about the event, contact 417-532-4338.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.