Bowen Heritage Trail Nature Connection and Mindfulness activities.
Bowen Bridge Heritage Trail Nature Connection and Mindfulness Activities
The Bowen Bridge Heritage Trail, which runs along Enoggera Creek to the south of Northey Street City Farm (NSCF), was established by volunteers in 2000-2001. The purpose of the trail is to raise environmental awareness, support bush regeneration efforts, and educate the community on the benefits of nature and the history of the area. Signage along the trail describes the First Nations and colonial history of the area.
Today members of Northey Street City Farm make up Walan Bushcare, a Habitat Brisbane Group which works to enhance the biodiversity of the area along the creek.
The NSCF Education team has developed some activities that can help ground and connect you to the area along the Bowen Heritage Trail, available as audio recordings and written activities.
Here are two audio recordings to guide you through these nature connection and mindfulness activities:
Mindful Walking Activity
Alternatively, here are some written descriptions of activities to choose from :
Grounding before each activity
Before beginning each activity, start by doing some deep breathing.
1) Stand still or find somewhere to sit
2) Let go in the shoulders and relax your body
3) Breathe in through the nose for a count of 5
4) Exhale out through the mouth for a count of 5
Repeat 3 times
Expanding Sensory Awareness Walk
This activity focuses on noticing everything. Begin with the breathing activity above. Start your walk with an open mind and curiosity. This exercise focuses on sight, sound, smell, and touch. Take your time to walk along the trail, expanding your senses as you do.
What can you see? Really look. You might like to walk up to a tree and feel its trunk.
What can you feel? Look up while under the tree, what do you see? Take a moment to admire the leaves above. What do they look like? You might want to pick up a leaf, hold it in your hand, what do you notice? Do you see its distinct features?
You could get down in the dirt, feel it between your fingers. What does it feel like? What does it smell like?
Can you hear anything? What sounds of the natural world can you notice? What is the quietest sound you can hear? Take it all in and let go into your surroundings.
Having a thankful heart allows us to feel connected and grounded. This activity involves being grateful for what is right in front of you in this place. Begin with the breathing activity above. Then take your time to walk along the Bowen Heritage Trail. While on your journey, feel your gratefulness for what you are experiencing and observing. It could be the sun beaming through the trees, or the leaves brushing against the wind. It could be gratitude for this place, those who care for it today and the First Nations people who have cared for it for countless generations. While doing this activity, whisper “I am grateful for …” slowly to yourself or in your mind. When you think of something, let yourself really feel your gratitude. Take your time and allow your heart to grow by giving thanks.
A sit spot is a place we can come back to again and again, a place where the natural world can be our teacher, and a place that can ground us and support us to feel connection to nature. Find a comfortable place to sit, perhaps away from the track so you can have a little privacy.
While sitting, feel the earth beneath you, your feet pressed down onto the soil, and allow yourself to be guided by your breath. Open to a childlike state with curiosity and joy. Allow yourself to open your awareness to all that is around you. You might want to slowly do a 360 scan, notice the movements, sounds and brush of the wind on your cheek.
Try to breathe long and lengthen the exhale. During this activity allow your emotions and thoughts to be there but keep coming back to your senses. By coming back to sight, smell, sound and touch you can become more aware of the life that exists in this place.
What are the animals doing? Notice the plants that live in this place. How are they connected to the animals here? What relationships exist here? What questions do you have? Perhaps over time you will find answers to some of them. If you have something to write on, once your sit spot is complete, you might like to draw or write about some of your observations and/ or questions.
Additional Information and Resources
The Sit Spot is a Core Routine of Nature Connection, as described in the ‘Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature’ by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown.’ As described by Richard Louv, “This is good medicine for nature deficit disorder. Coyote’s Guide should become the essential resource for anyone who wants to revive their sense of kinship with nature but needs some help. . .”
You can read about the core routines of nature connection here:
Walan Bushcare Group
Walan Bushcare is a Habitat Brisbane group that works to enhance the biodiversity of the area along Enoggera creek to the south of Northey Street City Farm. The group has a working bee on the third Tuesday of each month from 3-5pm. New volunteers are welcome!
Thanks to Kylie Reid for her work on developing this nature connection and mindfulness activity project.
We acknowledge the First Nations people of this land, the Turrbal and Jagera.