At The Uplands Center (TUC), we host a wide range of retreats focused on renewing those who serve others and empowering social change-makers. While each group’s experience is highly tailored to their interests and desires, there is one element that stays consistent among all of the retreats: immersion in the natural environment. We aim to provide a setting that is inherently revitalizing, healing, and inspiring – all qualities that our local ecosystem possesses. So how does exposure to nature enhance our personal well-being?
For as long as humans have lived on Earth, we have relied on our local environment to satisfy our most basic needs: fresh air, clean water, shelter, and a healthy food web. Surrounding ourselves in a diverse, lively ecosystem ensures us on a subconscious level that we are are safe and secure – that we can survive in our habitat. This has a calming effect on our nervous system, and it can take us out of our “fight or flight” response to “rest and digest”.
The relaxing effect of nature on our bodies and minds seem logical – perhaps even commonsense. However, the recent inundation of handheld technologies have an immense power to distract us from nature, and as a whole we have been isolated from our vital relationship with our ecosystem. With issues like depression, anxiety, and attention disorders at an all-time high, a new surge of scientific research is underway, documenting the beneficial impact of exposure to the natural world. A wealth of data now indicates that spending time in nature can lower stress hormones, reduce blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, improve concentration, lift mood, boost the immune system, and much more.
We access these healing effects of nature at TUC by offering various environmental programs. Visitors have opportunities to engage in meaningful interactions with the center’s farm, woodland, meadows, and wetlands. Activities include interpretive nature walks, harvesting organic produce from the gardens, outdoor yoga, and practicing mindfulness in the woods. Guests leave feeling revitalized, relaxed, and at peace.
However, it’s important to note that this experience isn’t a one-way street. Through these outdoor experiences we hope to not only rejuvenate our guests, but inspire them to appreciate and care for the natural world. Knowing that our ecosystem exists in a delicate balance enables us to acknowledge humankind’s vital role on the planet. Traditional ecological knowledge teaches us that in order to survive long-term, we have the duty to give back to the environment that sustains us. We aim to inspire visitors at The Uplands Center to take home with them a sense of earth stewardship; to care for the land and to find reciprocity within their ecosystems.
Ready to experience the healing power of nature with your group at The Uplands Center? Contact us to get more information, or fill out our Co-Create a Retreat Form if you’re ready to plan your experience!