What is the Forest and love
Forest and love is a conscious reconnection with nature, in such a way that human instincts are activated as well as the ability to listen to the world with our heart.
Free people who love nature walks and to explore their emotions.
Where Forest and love takes place
Forest and love takes place in a small mountainous village, called Gourri, that is worth visiting!
The walks take place on the beautiful natural trail of the village, from where a small river passes. The river ends at a not so well known, but wonderful small waterfall! During the winter months and depending on the rainfall, the river and the waterfall come to life. The path is a natural habitat that hosts inside its hug local flora and native Cypriot vegetation, which we will get to know together! Our walk is often accompanied by the singing of birds, which live in this green oasis.
In case the weather is rainy or the needs of the group are such, we use the special space of the Museum of Folk Art of the village.
What happens in a workshop of Forest and love
The forest and love is a multidimensional alive experience that is adapted and co-created with the attendees. This is because we produce better results when we are alert to the stimuli we receive than when we passively receive information. So, no workshop is the same, you can participate in all of them!
Also, the activities are shaped according to the age and the physical condition of the attendees as well as the weather conditions!
The workshop starts at the Folklore Museum. There, we meet each other, in a cycle of trust. Then, we head to the nature trail, where the participants get acquainted and explore, depending on the laboratory, a range of activities, related to recognition of the Cypriot flora, acquaintance with the healing properties of the plants. We learn how to plant seeds and how to collect them. We look at natural methods of reforestation. Sometimes, we explore how to survive in nature, we collect and build a tent from riverside canes, we tie ropes, we develop a better sense of orientation. In addition, we create handmade constructions with natural materials, such as phytology booklets, wooden pendulums, bird nests out of clay and dry grass, face masks with leaves.
A branch of ΄Forest and love΄ is the Empathy and love΄ which concerns our psyche. Empathy and love is an experiential workshop in which we explore emotions we encountered on the nature trail or in the Village Museum, created through discussion or using the emotion cards. Then, we transfer the emotions on some material such as paper or some construction, always using natural materials. It is not necessary to have pre-existing artistic knowledge to participate in this workshop, only to be able to feel!
Sometimes I choose an excerpt from a book that I think fits the group, and I read it out loud – a workshop I call ‘Reading and Love‘. I choose a safe place where participants can relax and feel comfortable. This is usually out in nature. If anyone wants to read to us, is welcomed. Participants have paper, pencils or some natural materials on their side. They can write down in words, symbols, drawings anything that goes through their mind after the reading is over. They can share their drawings and ideas with the team or not.
In the fast-paced world we live in, having time to read is a luxury, even a romantic act – you do not need internet, electricity or a subscription. We are used to the information being launched in the short period of one minute (instagram / facebook stories). The process of someone reading to us is drawn from our childhood memory, when our caretakers read to us because we did not know to read. It is an act of love, when someone dedicates his/her time to read to us. Listening to a recorded book cannot be compared to this experience. The recording always lacks the human contact and in this case, the dynamics of the group. This special practice gives the time and the space to calm down and to listen to me, to listen to you.
We return at the museum, where we close the workshop usually with relaxation, and sharing of ideas.
Why should I participate or bring my child to Forest and love
In Forest and love we are both students and teachers. In this environment, diversity is welcomed and space and time is given to develop each person’s temperament, so that each one learns from the other, and at the same time inspires the rest. Skills developed during the meetings:
Development of autonomy and self-sufficiency but also appreciation of the importance of the team
Empathy for the various creatures of the earth (animals, plants)
Development of new natural interests and treatment through contact with nature
Better understanding of the world
> The workshop lasts 2 hours, there are 2 workshops per day at 11:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 17:00 every Saturday and some Sundays. You can be informed about the program more specifically from our facebook and instagram page.
>It is recommended to come to the workshop 15 minutes earlier.
>You need to book a slot, either by phone or by sending a text message or on our facebook page. Please inform us if you are a Greek or English speaker and your age range 0-3 years (should be accompanied by an adult) / 3-6 years / 6- 12 years / 12-18 years/ 18 + / 65 +
> Wear comfortable clothes and trainers or hiking boots.
>Please inform the management for any health issues.
>All the materials that will be needed for the natural handcrafts (notebook, papers, glues, pencils, cords, etc.) & Use of camping equipment (hammock, sleeping bag, ropes, mats, pillows, fabric, utensils, tent, etc.) & Seeds and plant tools & Tools for constructions are provided by the workshop.
What shall I bring with me
- water (ideally in a reusable bottle in order to reduce the use of plastic and refill water from the village’s spring)
- second set of clothes (and socks, underwear) in case you sweat or get wet
- windbreaker or jacket and winter gloves depending on the weather
- snack / fruit
- garbage bag
Forest and Love at this stage is a kind sponsorship of the Ministry of Tourism, which I thank for the selection, trust and support!
Why I started Forest and love
Due to my passion and love for nature and natural life, I decided to share my experiences, because when something good is shared, you do not know where it can reach! My inspiration is derived from Forest Schools, institutions that are already established abroad and of course from nature, which is the best school!
Through personal experience in the conventional education system, both as a student and as a teacher, my vision is to give what I was deprived of – nature, love and feelings.
Eleni Phyla, b.1988, has worked in private and public schools in Greece and Cyprus. She has participated in art exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad. She is also a performer. She is an excellent graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts with a degree in pedagogy. She also studied at the School of Applied and Fine Arts of Thessaloniki and at the Ecole des beaux Arts in Paris. She attends Art Therapy seminars. She collaborated with the Forest School of Cyprus. She is an activist, lifeguard, speedboat operator, skipper, hiker, permaculture cultivator, she has extensive experience in camping and survival in inaccessible areas without electricity and conventional power supply.
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