Ecotherapy at Butler

Why Ecotherapy?

Ecotherapy is a mental health practice that involves engagement with the natural environment to work through mental health challenges and increase wellness. There are many forms of ecotherapy, including horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy, walking meditation, forest bathing, and more. While it is not a solution for advanced mental health challenges on its own, ecotherapy is an accessible practice for mental health protection and overall wellness. It can be as easy as stepping outside and breathing. You can try ecotherapy right here on campus! Use Ecotherapy Trails, either Route 1 or Route 2 to get you started. Keep reading for more information.

Brought to you by:

Center for Urban Ecology logo

Our Ecotherapy Trails combine ecotherapy practices, mindfulness meditation, and physical wellness strategies to provide a relaxing and exploratory experience using our campus’ natural resources. These routes are designed to facilitate rest, stress-release, curiosity, and gratitude.

Meditation’s benefits accumulate with practice, so visit the trail as often as desired. We suggest returning in each season to observe how your environment changes throughout the year.

  • Put your phone in “Do not disturb” mode.
  • Bring a full, reusable water bottle, a journal, and a pen.
  • Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Environmental stewardship is an important part of ecotherapy. Review Leave No Trace principles before you go.
  • Stay on marked paths or trails throughout the activity.
  • If you are going to listen to music or audio meditations, bring headphones or keep your volume low so you do not disturb other trail users.

Step 1: Pick a Route

There are two available:

  • Route 1 is a 1-hour trail that uses non-paved, rugged walkways on campus and requires the use of stairs.
  • Route 2 is a 30-minute, mobility-device accessible trail that uses paved walkways on campus.
  • If you are short on time, you can also complete a Minute Meditation

Step 2: Go to the First Location on the trail as indicated on the map.

Step 3:  Find the activity sign, scan the QR code and read or listen to the directions to get started! Each location has a unique code and activity.

Step 4: Start walking toward the next map location as you do the activity. (remember this is your adventure so you can use an activity again or skip signs too).

Step 5: Take a picture of yourself at the end of your walk or your favorite natural feature from your walk, and share on social media with the hashtag #ecotherapy and tag @bubewell and @butlercues.

Step 6: Leave no trace on the trail to minimize impacts to natural areas on campus and ensure consideration of other trail users.

Step 7: Complete the survey so we can improve the trails.