Summer Adventure is the time to celebrate all the ways we enjoy and engage with nature! Have you heard of forest bathing? Fully enjoy forest bathing by being present with your body and noticing the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest around you. Try visiting these nearby parks and practicing these exercises. Then read along with Sheryl’s related blog, 'Experiencing the Outdoors in a New Way', about her personal experience exploring forest bathing.
Mindfulness Exercises to Try
by Noelle Cruz and Caroline Davis
Ritchie’s Follow your Breath! offers mindful exercises to enhance your family’s forest bathing experience.
Your Nose Knows exercise
- Keep your eyes closed.
- Breathe in deeply and slowly through the nose and smell the surrounding forest.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth to help bring you back in the present moment and repeat a few times.
- Smell the surrounding forest – what do you smell?
Try this exercise with your other senses!
Chopra’s Just Breathe offers other styles of experiencing mindfulness exercises. Try a walking meditation during your forest bathing!
A Real Slow and Quiet Walk exercise
For this exercise, notice your posture – are you standing up straight or are you slouching? Where are your arms? Are they folded across your chest? Are they in your pockets?
- Stand tall and relax your arms by your sides to begin this walking exercise.
- Look ahead and take a breath with each step.
- Breathe in as you lift your foot and breathe out as you put it down.
- Repeat until you reach ten steps. Let your breathing go back to normal and think about what it felt like to walk slowly.
Did you feel different? Were you more aware of how your body moves? Did you notice anything new around your forest?
Forest Bathing in Alameda County
Albany Hill & Creekside Park (Albany, CA) Google Maps
Albany Hill Park rises 338 feet above sea level and is a local landmark. The park is open space except for the pleasant eucalyptus tree lined rustic trail. There are a couple of benches along the trail where you can stop and take in a view of the San Francisco Bay or downtown Albany and El Cerrito. Albany’s Creekside Park links Albany Hill Park to Cerrito Creek, creating a rare nature-lover’s paradise surrounded by city. A dirt trail zig-zags up through gnarled oak forests on the north side of the hill to the summit. (Website)
Tilden Regional Park (Berkeley, CA) Google Maps
A 2,079 acre park with 39.41 miles of hiking trails, a botanic garden, picnic areas, and other recreational activities. The park is reached via Canon Drive, Shasta Road, or South Park Drive, all off Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. Open between 5am and 10pm unless otherwise posted or permitted. (Website)
Anthony Chabot Regional Park (Castro Valley, CA) Google Maps
Camping and a wealth of other outdoor activities are available only 20 minutes from downtown Oakland at the 3,304-acre Anthony Chabot Regional Park. A beautiful, year-round public campground and 70 miles of hiking and riding trails make Anthony Chabot one of the District's most varied parklands. (Website)
Dublin Hills Regional Open Space Preserve (Dublin, CA) Google Maps
Dublin Hills Regional Park spans approximately 654 acres within an undeveloped open space corridor consisting of the main ridge that connects Donlon Point on the Park's southern boundary to Wiedemann Hill located on the adjacent private property to the north, interspersed with steep-sloped canyons. Try forest bathing on the tree-lined Martin Canyon Creek Trail into the park. (Website)
Niles Community Park (Fremont, CA) Google Maps
Spacious community green space featuring a dog park, tennis courts, picnic space and a pond. (Website)
Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum (Fremont, CA) Google Maps
Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum is a 4-1/2 acre hidden gem in Fremont. The Big House dates back to 1876 and it is surrounded by large trees and beautiful gardens. (Website)
Shirley Sisk Grove (Newark, CA) Google Maps
Shirley Sisk Grove is a two-acre wooded park with a grove of eucalyptus trees located in an urban setting.
Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve (Oakland, CA) Google Maps
Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve is an ecological jewel. The native plant community here is found nowhere else in the East Bay. It represents a relic plant association found only in certain areas along California's coast where ideal soil and climatic conditions exist. As you stroll through the 241-acre preserve, stop periodically and reflect on your sense of place, for here you can experience an ancient slice of time. (Website)
Leona Canyon Open Space Regional Preserve (Oakland, CA) Google Maps
A pristine wooded canyon is protected in this 290-acre parkland near Merritt College in Oakland. Restoration is in progress along Rifle Range Creek along Leona Trail to reduce erosion and protect the riparian ecosystem. (Website)
Last Call for Summer Adventure 2022!
Pick up your Adventure Guide at any AC Library location, the Mobile Library, or download a copy at the Summer Adventure website! Every week we have book lists and programs related to our theme, Wonder in Nature, and see how others have celebrated the summer in the Submission Showcase! There is still time to complete activities, reading, and more. Submit your activities by August 15 to receive a book gift and prize drawing entries!
We would love your feedback about Summer Adventure. What did you like about it? What can we improve for next year? Complete this short survey by August 26th for entry to a BONUS feedback prize drawing! English, Español, 繁体中文 (Traditional), 简体中文 (Simplified).