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Holly Merker

Holly Merker

Holly has a background in art therapy, but today employs nature and birds to achieve the same result for of mental, physical, and emotional wellness in her work as a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide (ANFT) and Mindful Birding leader.  Holly is currently pairing her professional backgrounds in art therapy and over twenty years of bird guiding and environmental education, with coursework in MBSR, a certificate in Wellness Counseling, and the practice of Forest Bathing to create rich sensory experiences through nature-based wellness programs customized for her clients. Holly's gently guided experiences incorporate accessibility for all mobility levels and are designed to be welcoming and inclusive to all people. She has professional experience working with children K-12, people with dementia and age-related cognitive impairment and is comfortable working in all settings and habitats in the outdoors.  After using nature, especially birdwatching, for its therapeutic benefits while undergoing treatment and recovery from breast cancer when she was a young mom, Holly is dedicated to sharing the message that birds and nature can be powerful companions in all of our wellness journeys, bolstering the body's defenses against disease and boosting mental wellbeing. Holly promotes these concepts as lead author of the award-winning book Ornitherapy: For Your Body, Mind, and Soul (Crossley Books, 2021) which guides readers into deeper and more mindful experiences in nature through birds, and as coauthor of the book Die Kraft der Vogelbeobachtung (The Power of Birdwatching) available in German-speaking EU only.  Holly has a passion for community/citizen science and has been the state coordinator for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird project in Pennsylvania since 2005. She's also an avid contributor to iNaturalist, and believes that by contributing our findings in nature, we are paying forward, giving back, and benefiting our own wellbeing.  When not guiding Forest Bathing or Mindful Birding experiences, you might find Holly working for National Audubon's Hog Island Camp in Maine, the American Birding Association, Hillstar Nature, or counting migrant raptors at the beautiful Hawk Mountain Sanctuary along Pennsylvania's Kittatinny ridge in fall.  eBird Profile: https://ebird.org/profile/MTExOTQ/US  iNaturalist Profile: https://www.inaturalist.org/people/hollycybelle 
Penns Woods Winery

Penns Woods Winery

Apr 28, 2024 | 03:00 P.M. - 05:00 P.M.

124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, PA, USA

Wild Birds Unlimited and Ornitherapy & Nature-Based Wellness are partnering with Penns Woods Winery to bring you a NEW outdoor wellness workshop! https://www.pennswoodswinery.com/product/forest-bathing-with-birds-at-the-vineyard Join us in the vineyard on April 28th from 3:00pm-5:30pm with Holly Merker, founder of Ornitherapy & Nature-Based Wellness in this calming, medatative, contemplative workshop. "Forest Bathing" is  inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku that harnesses the health and restorative benefits the natural world holds for us. Deepen your connection to nature by engaging the senses and allowing the trees, vines and birds to intentionally guide you into slowing your pace and allowing the restorative benefits of nature to quiet your mind, body and soul while celebrating the spring season. This meditative experience includes a tea ceremony celebrating the spring season. Tickets include a complimentary glass of wine as well as a special 10% discount on wine purchases for participants following the conclusion of the workshop.
Willistown Conservation Trust's Rushton Farm

Willistown Conservation Trust's Rushton Farm

Aug 25, 2024 | 09:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

911 Delchester Road, Newtown Square, PA, USA

The lush and thoughtfully stewarded landscapes and garden at Rushton Farm provide the perfect backdrop for reaping the wellness benefits that nature provides us. With origins inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy, harnesses the health and restorative benefits the natural world holds for us. This experience will be a bit different than a traditional outdoor guided walk, not focusing on sharing naturalist knowledge or identification, but instead allowing the forest and birds to intentionally guide us into slowing our pace by a skilled leader who is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide.

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From our users . . . 

"Forest Bathing Finder has truly been a gift. I don’t have to worry about building a website, taking money when walkers sign up or marketing – now I can just concentrate on guiding my walks!"

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"As a guide I didn’t know how I was going to afford a website of my own – I saved so much money by joining Forest Bathing Finder. This website solved all my problems."

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"I was traveling to San Diego with five of my girlfriends and we wanted to go on a guided walk – we were able to easily find one, right near our hotel, by using Forest Bathing Finder."

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"I was looking for a spa that offered Forest Bathing and this is the only website that had all of my options in one place. Forest Bathing Finder made the search a piece of cake!"

- Suzanne A.

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