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 meeting 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 after we first get to know each other, in a cycle of trust. Next, we usually head to the nature trail, where the participants explore, depending on the workshop, a range of activities related to survival in nature, such as collecting and constructing a tent from water canes, tying ropes, developing the sense of direction. We identify trees, fruits and edible plants. We learn how to plant seeds but also how to collect them. We make pellets, as a natural method of reforestation. In addition, we create handmade constructions with natural materials, such as phytology notebook, pendulums with wood, bird nest made of clay and dry grass, designs with leaves.
A branch of ΄Forest and love΄ is ‘Empathy and love΄ which is about 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 emotion cards. Then, we give them materiality on a paper or we create a handcraft construction 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 we choose to read a book, a practice I call ‘Reading and Love‘. I choose a safe place where participants can relax and feel comfortable. This can be outside in nature or inside. If they are indoors, I create such an environment for this to happen -pillows, carpet, tea, subtle chamber music. We choose a book from my collection and I start reading. If anyone wants to read to us also, it is welcome. The participants have paper, pencils or natural materials on their side. They can write down in words, symbols, drawings anything that comes to mind during reading or after reading is over. Finally, they can choose to share their designs and some thoughts 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 close the meetings usually with a sound relaxation, and sharing of ideas.
In case the workshop is done indoors, we follow the same practices adapted to the indoor space.
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 Sunday, except of some holidays. You can be informed about the program more specifically from our facebook and instagram page.
>It is recommended to come to our meetings 15 minutes before the beginning.
>You need to book a slot to participate, either by phone or by sending a message to our page on social media or by filling out the form at the bottom of this page or by sending an email. 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.
>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 personal 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 we 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 are Forest Schools, institutions that are already established abroad.
Through personal experience in the conventional education system, both as a student and as a teacher, I intend 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 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 and performance seminars. She is an activist, lifeguard, speedboat operator, hiker, permaculture cultivator, she has extensive experience in camping and survival in inaccessible areas without electricity and conventional power supply.
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