*Please arrive a few minutes before noon as we will begin walking promptly at 12pm.
*Weather-permitting. Please call or text Esperanza, 516-578-2235, for cancellations and weather-related location changes.
All sessions are held at easily accessible locations and offer 30-minute slow nature walks with shared intention to simply enjoy restorative time in nature together.
Our gatherings will offer a balance between contemplative, guided, and communal nature exploration, with time for silence and reflection and time for connecting and sharing. The strolls aim to honor and accommodate a range of capacities and limitations that may accompany injuries, aging, and/or health challenges. Locations with lower tick populations have been selected, and mindful tick-safety practices will be shared and incorporated into our walks.
“On our nature stroll
My feet kissed the wet earth
My heart felt the rivers big flow
My mind settled into the
silence of a great tree
And I felt nourished by
our circle of self-care”
“I am struggling with a myriad of health challenges, and having these walks on my calendar to look forward to has been wonderful for me emotionally/socially.”
“The three facilitators are wonderful. They strike a harmonious balance sharing pertinent information/insights, gentle support, and loose structure. As a result, I find the experience both comfortable and comforting.”
As a wellness counselor and educator, Meredith works and plays with children and adults to strengthen resilience and maintain important bonds through life’s ups and downs, with a specialized focus on reducing the negative impact of cumulative stress, trauma, and chronic illness. She brings mindfulness practices into nature-based and wellness programs to help facilitate restorative, empowering, and often healing experiences. Meredith earned her MS in Mental Health Counseling, and draws on her professional training and background in body-centered trauma resolution, tick-borne and chronic illnesses, simplicity parenting, theater, emotional first aid, and a range of holistic healing modalities. Lessons from her own journey with Lyme deepened her appreciation for the healing powers of mindful nature connection, and guide her personal and professional pursuit of optimal health & wellness. More about Meredith...
For Meredith, it is a great honor to support others in coming home to their natural presence, their community, and Mother Earth. She has a counseling practice in New Paltz, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Ann has been introducing people of all ages to the wonders of nature on her walks for twenty-five years as the naturalist at the Mohonk Preserve and the Mohonk Mountain House. She would often stop along the path to let people be drawn by whatever attracted them: “That’s when they’d feel deeply connected and enriched by the nature around them.”
Her love of our planet began when she was an “outdoor child,” growing up on the shore of Lake Michigan and camping in the woods with her family. After college, she worked for NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, where she saw the first photos of the Earth from space: “Those beautiful images helped me relate to the Earth in a different and more personal way. They also made me realize how fragile our planet is.”More about Ann...
Retired for several years, she now writes articles and a monthly nature column in the Bluestone Press, as well as leading occasional nature walks. Given her deep love for the earth, Ann is also active with the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “We’ve done a lot of harm to our earth over the past decades. But we also know that we have the power to restore it to health. Given that desire, we can certainly live more attuned to the consequences of our actions.”
Because of her exposure to natural areas, Ann contracted Lyme disease several years ago. Although spared from physical ailments, she has reduced energy for long walks in nature. however, her “brain fog” often intrudes on her work and relationships. “But I certainly don’t hold any grudge against the ticks, or the mice and deer who ferry this disease,” she explains. “Instead, I think about how we humans have rearranged the natural world in ways that encourage greater exposure to these Lyme disease vectors.”
She also adds, “I’m learning about being more gentle with myself and more attuned to what helps to create a healthy life – like taking time to rest or nap each day. I also immerse myself in nature as an important part of my healing. A favorite mantra of mine has always been: ‘Nature absorbs our chaos!’ Try it!”
Esperanza is, and has always been, a teacher at heart. From the early age of 8 she would hold play groups in her church and tend to the young children who would often disrupt the sermons. This passion to teach carried on through the years, bringing her to SUNY New Paltz where she received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and History. While living in New Paltz, she merged her love for the outdoors, her passion for teaching and her organizational and leadership skills into many different educational programs. She has taught in various local schools, led theater groups, kids yoga, art programs and has worked with Wild Earth in a number of programs, starting in 2008. Her commitment to community connection has guided her to service work in jails, juvenile centers, Americorps, inner-city art programs, soup kitchens and many more volunteer based initiatives. She sees every child’s potential and knows there is no better way to hold their blossoming than through the arts and the exploration of the natural world.