While the warm spell melted much of the snow on the River Bend Nature Center trails and made snowshoes unnecessary for the meditative hike held at 3 p.m. Saturday, the main point of the program remained intact.

“Trekking through Woods and Words” was an event put on by three Minnesota Master Naturalists who are trained in conservation and public education.

Co-organizer and Master Naturalist Bailey Morris said the curriculum to become a Master Naturalist is designed to aid communities and spread information on how to care for the land.

“As far as the bigger picture, what it really does for the state is it trains groups of naturalists with how to care for the land and how to teach others about the land,” said Morris. “It requires annual service. We’re supposed to do 40 service hours through citizen science projects, education projects and supporting programs like River Bend. It gears up this group of people to really care for nature too.”

Caitlin Robertson, another of the Master Naturalists, led the guided meditation portion of the event.

“For our capstone project we wanted to do an event for the public where we would start off with guided meditation and a chance to do some reflecting so that when we go out on the hike we’re more in tune with those senses,” she said. “Then after our hike as a group, come back to the center and do a little writing on what we noticed during our hike.”

According to Morris, participants’ journal pages will be bound and turned into a book that will reside in River Bend’s Interpretive Center so that other visitors will be able to add their experiences, too.

Hiking and reflection can become a tool for people to use to benefit themselves and everything around them, said Morris.

“It can become a reflective tool for people to connect with their own lives or with the world around them in the future,” she said. “If they were to develop a habit of reflecting and connecting with nature that’d be good for the world, the environment and themselves.”

Daniel covers Faribault government, business and public safety. Reach him at 507-333-3128 or on Twitter @FDNDaniel

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