The topic of forest bathing was mentioned at a recent editors’ meeting. My eyebrows raised at some imagined scene of outdoor showering. Sidenote; according to hgtv.com, alfresco showers are a trend for homeowners attempting to bring even more of the outdoors in … but I digress. Forest bathing isn’t about actual bathing, it’s a version of nature therapy. Apparently, the Japanese coined the term forest bathing or “absorbing the forest atmosphere” as a way to encourage people to spend more time in nature. The key is to practice a type of mindfulness by silencing your cell phone and being truly present in nature, walking leisurely (this isn’t intended for aerobic exercise or counting steps) while taking in the sights, sounds and scents. Deep breathing is an important part of the process. Some research indicates regular nature walks can reduce stress hormones and improve the immune system. Some even write themselves “nature prescriptions” for regular 20-minute exposures to nature as a way to improve overall health. Even better, nature therapy is free and forest bathing doesn’t require an actual forest. A local park will do!
In this issue we share noteworthy updates about two local parks. First, Garden Park in Edina was recently renamed Yancey Park in honor of a pioneering Black family in Edina. Read a bit of history on the Yancey family and how thoughtful city residents and staff determined to honor their legacy in this way.
Then, turn to our feature story about the new Tranquility Garden at Arneson Acres Park. This long-planned renovation spearheaded by the Edina Garden Council is beautifully taking shape and could be a perfect spot for filling your “nature prescription.”
Getting outdoors was something we did more of in 2020. That’s a good thing. Let’s keep it up in 2021 by exploring and supporting our local park system.
Angela Johnson, editor
Read the digital edition.