Therapy through animals & nature

Environmental enthusiasts came together for Ecotherapy Hour, held by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Oct. 22.

Danielle Anderson, the club president, led participants through a discussion surrounding mental health in natural environments, the practice of boosting growth and healing by being present. 

Ecotherapy is a tool that combats stress while promoting conservation, engaging people in the enjoyment of nature while fostering a desire to preserve.

Tourism connects to state parks and wildlife habitats, and taking advantage of that reality is pushing corporations toward maintaining the health of popular outdoor attractions. 

Club members also focused their time on animal-intervention activities. Officers promoted whale and bird watching as well as visiting local petting zoos.

Phoebe Lord, the club secretary, explained her experience with animal therapy.

“Actively spending time with pets has helped me,” Lord said. “Animals give back to the soul.” 

Lord’s favorite form of self-care is bonding with animals and their habitats, taking care of her fish tank and garden. 

Therapeutic horticulture, an additional form of outdoor therapy, is practical because it’s relaxing and productive, growing fruits, veggies and flowers.  

Green exercise was another focus of the meeting, performing physical activity in nature. The Fort Ord trails are well-suited for biking, running and walking. 

Connor Quiroz, the club’s council representative, emphasized the benefits of Green Exercise.

“This is a way to put ourselves physically in that environment,” Quiroz said. “Getting all the services out of what has been given to us.”

Wilderness adventuring has been of high interest in the club as of late, implementing more events involving backpacking and camping in Big Sur.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s efforts toward involving members in decision-making and their consistent variety in meeting content have made the club successful. 

The club’s impressive catalog of events has kept the concept of conservation fresh and exciting for newcomers and the more seasoned attendees. 

Look out for the Spooky Spotlight Night Walk on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. to win prizes and witness nocturnal life in the area. 

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