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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Ecotherapy walks into the new semester

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve
People sprawling out during an activity on a forest therapy walk photo courtesy of Blake Ellis program manager for ecotherapy.

Ecotherapy, a program under the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve at Chico State is back and taking on another semester. The program has been around since 2021 and was implemented to help students deal with the hard times that COVID-19 had made us all so familiar with.

The program had been providing forest therapy sessions as early as 2019 in response to the 2018 Camp Fire, according to program manager Blake Ellis. The program was adopted and implemented under the BCCER and has expanded to offer more services to the Chico State community.

The first event took place last Saturday. It was a forest therapy walk for all of the campus community. These walks are done in different locations including some that take place on campus for those looking to get more in touch with the nature surrounding Chico State.

The ecotherapy program also offers full- moon walks. These experiences are done near the night of the full-moon per the ecotherapy webpage. This activity allows the Chico State community to connect and experience the moonlight with others in a way they may have not before. 

Ecotherapy also offers scheduled group sessions. “You can request a private walk and we will work with you to set up something on our calendar. You can choose the location and number of participants and we really work to meet the needs of the folks that want our services,” Ellis said.

The benefits of this restorative practice include stress relief and being more connected to one’s own surroundings. The ecotherapy program adds that, there are no obligations and specific results are not anticipated. It is up to the participant what they choose to engage in and refrain from and what they may gain from the experience is ultimately up to them. 

Forest therapy walks usually allow for around 15 to 20 members to join accompanied by one certified guide, and the moon- bathing activity can get up to 30 members with two certified guides. 

Full moon photographed near sundown.
Full moon photographed near sundown courtesy of Blake Ellis program manager for ecotherapy. (Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve)

The core of the program revolves around taking the hustle out of the day-to-day. 

“The intention behind this practice is to help folks slow down, relax and to experience the natural world with all their senses,” Ellis added. 

Ecotherapy is entirely funded by grants and donations, so these experiences offered come at no cost. More information on the ecotherapy program can be found on the website linked here, and the events calendar for the program is linked here. Donations to this program can also be made at this link here.

Wyatt Alpert can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Wyatt Alpert
Wyatt Alpert, News Editor
Wyatt Alpert is a fourth-year journalism major from Temecula California. He enjoys studying history and is aiming for his minor in the subject. Wyatt enjoys sports and is an avid Liverpool supporter he dreams one day to attend their matches regularly. He is looking forward to his second semester on The Orion and aims to be a regular contributor.

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