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The Forest Year Project

About The Forest Year Project

Introduction

This was a year-long experiment/personal project spanning from January 1-December 31 2018. My goal was to be in a forest for minimum of 1 hour per week for the entire year.  That's minimum 52 hours of observation.
Actual Total Hours Spent in forests (2018): 112 of 52 Evanton Wood: 64
Ord Hill: 10.25 Glen Afric: 12 Reelig Glen Woodland: 7.5 Loch Ness forests: 4 Monadh Mor Woodland: 4 Rogie Falls Woodland: 5.25 Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve: 2.25 Divach Falls Woodland: 1 Beauly Forest: 1 Big Burn: .75
I documented my journey through writing, painting, sketching, and more. I am currently working on putting together an art book and accompanying video to share my discoveries.

How did it start?

I’ve had a keen awareness of the benefits of nature since I was a child, and my love for wild places grows stronger as I age. It is my hope that this adventure leads me beyond the surface-level enjoyment of nature and into something much deeper and profound.

Why forests?

There are few spaces in the world that offer complete and total peace; spaces where one is immersed in ancient energy and surrounded by bountiful life. 
The density of life within the forest creates a place of silent respite, while at the same time producing its own natural symphony. To enter a forest is to sign a silent, internal pact, to honor your ancient desire for nature. You are immediately cut off from your usual routine, surroundings, and modern worries. Each step brings you deeper into the heart of the Earth, each step offers a new chance at returning to your natural state of harmony. The forest offers protection and comfort within a world of chaos. You have only to let your guard down and allow the energy to penetrate your senses.

Humans have a primal desire to be in nature.

On the grand scale of human evolution, it is only recently that we have moved away from our natural landscape and into our concrete jungles. Sadly, in modern times, it is not unusual for children to grow up in the built environment, rarely experiencing the prolific beauty and peace of the wilderness. In some places, the concept of nature reserved for “vacation” - where we must completely vacate our normal lives, and sometimes spend ridiculous amounts of money to return to the wild places where we should feel at home. The healing properties of nature reach much further than medicinal remedies. Natural sounds such as wind and waves are often associated with mental and emotional recovery, meditation, and finding your “inner balance.” I feel very lucky to have grown up on the edge of nature. I spent most of my childhood roaming the fields, forests, and lakes of upstate NY. I spent the last ten years exploring the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. And now, I spend my days discovering ancient and wild places in the Scottish Highlands, translating what I find into photographs and paintings.

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