IFTDays 2020

IFTDays 2020 will be held in Parkano, in the western part of Finland on 26th – 27th of September.

2020 IFTDays seminar will take place on Saturday 26th of September and workshop day 27th September, 2020. Take a look at our partner Parkano city, a Unesco’s Geopark site Unesco’s Geopark site and Parkano.

Speakers and guides IFTDays 2020​

David Motzstudios
David Motzenbecker


hails from the Great State of Minnesota in the Upper Midwest. He is a licensed Landscape Architect and lover of forests, music, and delicious food. David is an ANFT-Certified Forest Therapy Guide and Trail Certification Consultant. He enjoys public speaking and leading public engagement exercises. David is a thinker of big thoughts and tries everyday to become a better practitioner of Stoic philosophy.

Gorana Isailovic
Gorana Isailovic


Dr Gorana Isailovic is a professor at Academy for applied studies Belgrade Department Higher education, School of Professional Health Studies. Gorana is the President of Medical SPA Association of Serbia from the 2011 and Co-President of Forest therapy SEE from 2019. She’s a ANFT Certified forest therapy guide (2017) and INFOM certified Forest medical Specialist from 2019. She conducts research in the field of Forest medicine, Rx nature, mental wellbeing and Art in nature and certifies trails, individual approaches to health tourism and forest SPA clients.

Riitta Wahlström
Riitta Wahlström


Riitta Wahlström is used to trees from early childhood in Finland in the deep forest. Later on she became Environmental educator teaching at university. As a psychologists she got very happy to develop practices reconnecting people to Nature. She found that tree practices are the best ones to inspire people to love Nature and become more balanced. She loves to share those in her trainings and books all over the world.

Sirpa Kurppa
Sirpa Kurppa


Sirpa Kurppa is a Research professor (Emerita) Ph.D., from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) the group of Sustainability Science and Indicators. Her special competences are: agroecology, ecology of food systems, integrated and sustainable food production, environmental assessment, life cycle assessment (LCA) and eco-design. Sirpa’s novel interests are ‘soft infrastructure’, frugality and role of elderly people (women especially) in sustainable and regenerative economy. At present she is coordinating the guiding group of the association Elonkierron Ystävät ry http://elonkierronystavat.fi/. Email: sirpa.kurppa@gmail.com 

Saija Lehtonen
Saija Lehtonen


Saija Lehtonen is an artist and a creator. She spent her childhood in a middle of a forest in the Central Finland. Nature as a whole and natural materials such as fish scale, elk hair, wood and mushroom pigments are her main sources of inspiration and the profound basis of her work. Saija is also intrigued by the cultural heritage and traditions of the Arctic. In her opinion ecological arts and handicrafts are often reflecting deeper understanding of the circle of life and nature. Working with natural materials and with our own hands connects us to this cycle and to our surrounding environment.

Henrik Ohlsson
Henrik Ohlsson

Henrik Ohlsson shares his time between Stockholm, where he is working on his PhD at Södertörn University, and a countryside homestead, where he engage in developing permaculture subsistence farming. Henrik is conducting an ethnographic study about experiences of deepened nature connection. His ambition is to contribute with a humanities perspective to the fast-growing field of research on nature and wellbeing. (Photo: Anna Hartvig)

Mirja Nylander

www.metsakellinta.fi  www.forest4lolling.fi

Mirja “Metsäkellijä” Nylander is a forest worker, master of science of forestry, forest mystic and author of four books – two of which are related to healing forests. She lives in a small wooden house in the middle of old forest. This is the forest in the Finnish Lakeland area, where Mirja’s ancestors lived over 700 years ago. (Photo: Paavo Hamunen)

Mari Starck
Mari Starck


Mari Starck is a nature connection guide, wilderness guide and working wellness coach with strong interest in nature, Finnish archipelago, hiking and boating. Mari lives in Rauma and runs her company Hike ‘n Joy that produces hiking tours, archipelago adventures and nature wellness programs. She also gives training in self management and working wellness having also her own training “Working Wellness from Nature”.

Ian Banyard
Ian Banyard


Ian Banyard is a nature connection author, Natural Mindfulness guide and guide trainer. He lives in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds an area of outstanding natural beauty in the South West of England. Ian has always had a passion for exploring nature and empowering people to reconnect with their true nature. He is also the founder of www.natureconnection.world – an online community and global directory connecting those seeking a deeper relationship with nature, with nature connection activity providers and events.

Vaara-collectives artist duo Elsa Lankinen and Sara Saxholm


Elsa Lankinen (right) is a theatre artist based in Kainuu. In her works comes together ecological awareness, ritual art, performance, community theatre with human and non-human well-being and connection. Sara Saxholm (left) is a performing artist, singer, singing teacher, nature lover and a mother of three, living in Kajaani, Kainuu. She is interested in finding connections with all different layers in us and in or with our surroundings. Elsa and Sara are one of the founding members of Vaara-collective (eng. danger, forested hill, risk.), professional performing arts group based in Eastern Finland. Silent stories – immersive forest travel is their first artistic work together as an artist duo. Photographer: Jenni Tuikka / Ihana Photography

Bum-Jin Park
Bum-Jin Park

Professor Bum-Jin Park have two PhD degrees of ‘ergonomics of forest work’ and ‘forest therapy’. He is interested in a relationship between human and forest environment. Park is researching to measurement and evaluation of therapeutic environment of forest and design of therapeutic environment of forest.

Yasuhiro Kotera


Yasuhiro Kotera, Academic Lead in Counselling, Psychotherapy & Psychology at University of Derby, Online Learning (United Kingdom). He earned his degrees in Japan and US, and is currently teaching and researching in the UK. As Accredited Psychotherapist, mental health has been a focus of practice and research, which reports that shinrin-yoku is an effective means to protect our mental health. Yasuhiro and his colleagues are currently exploring the effects of nature on self-compassion, loneliness and motivation, and cross-cultural differences.

Diana Barnett


Diana Barnett is a facilitator, Guide, and Wayapa Wuurrker. Her specialties are Masterminds for founders of impact businesses, Wayapa training & nature Immersions. Diana is a strong advocate of regenerative practices at both a personal and industry level, and that business be used as a force for good.  One of the reasons she is attracted to Wayapa Wurruk is it extends the Mind, Body, Spirit movement, to include Earth. By including Earth we show our respect for indigenous knowledge, past and present, and our own cultural stories. Drawing on the wisdom we can reconnect to Earth, through our actions, and the difference we make to the world we choose to live in.


Suko Yasushi
Yasushi SUKO


Yasushi SUKO is a doctoral student studying Environmental Psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tampere University, Finland. He earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at The University of Tokyo, Japan. His current research topic is the restorative (therapeutic) effect of nature sounds (for example, birdsong, the sound of the river flowing, etc.) on highly stressed people who cannot go out easily. In 2019, he and his colleagues conducted a pioneering study in Japan which was to investigate whether nature sounds could improve surgeons’ mood after surgery.