The Team Behind International Forest Therapy Days

Katriina Kilpi

IFTDays’ wordsmith and co-founder

Katriina Kilpi (FI/BE) is an organizer of the IFTDays Event. She conducts applied research on nature´s effect on human wellbeing and advises various stakeholders on nature´s health effects. She runs her NatureMinded Consultancy from Belgium. As a Forest Mind guide, she guides young and old to enjoy unhurried and mindful time in her beloved forests.

Heidi Korhonen

IFTDays’ number cracker and co-founder

Heidi Korhonen (FI) is an organizer of the IFTDays Event. She is a certified nature connection coach and she is in training of hypnotherapy, leading to the Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis. In addition, she runs a forest located camping site offering multiple nature related services to nourish the mind and body.

Nitin Das

Forest Filmmaker – IFTDays’ creative storyteller

Nitin is a forest filmmaker. He is growing an idea called Healing Forest, which uses stories, articles, films and the creative arts to bring people and forests closer to each other.
Dr Vitalija Povilaityte-Petri
Medicinal plants – IFTDays’ scientific advisor

Dr. Vitalija Povilaityte-Petri (LT/BE) IFTDays Team. Vitalija studies safe, sustainable and responsible use of medicinal and edible plants; how green spaces, therapeutic landscapes and traditional knowledge contribute to human connectedness with nature, to disease prevention and health promotion. She investigates the role biodiversity, city gardening, healthy nutrition, ethnobotanical knowledge and community involvement play in addressing societal, environmental and economic challenges.

Dr Iwao Uehara

Forest science and forest therapy – IFTDays’ scientific advisor

Ian Banyard

Natural Mindfulness – IFTDays network builder & house optimist

Ian is a UK based Naturepreneur on a mission to reconnect humanity with nature and our true nature. He is the author of Natural Mindfulness a guidebook for nature-connection, an international guide trainer and creator of a new online global nature-connection community.

Sara Malve-Ahlroth

Environmental psychology – IFTDays’ visualist and communicator

Heli Leppälammi
Expert by experience in the care sector – IFTDays’ Practical nurse

International Forest Therapy Days Ambassadors

The IFTDays Ambassadors are the persons or organization on the ground who spread the message of forest therapy and grow the network of IFTDays by sharing information about IFTDays and events this network will be organizing. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us at

Sini Malminiemi
Sini Malminiemi, MSc, environmental educator, nature and wilderness guide and Forest Mind instructor​.

I’m the jack of all trades when it comes to nature based pedagogy, tourism or therapy. My background is in ecology and evolutionary biology studies. My studies have added to my deep relationship with nature which started developing already in the early childhood and which has given me the passion to protect our living environment. I see connecting with nature as the ultimate source of vitality, the source for person’s identity and a fundamental part of growing into a sustainable society. To achieve this globally we must connect with each other. For this reason I see the IFTDays as invaluable tradition. To be able to protect, you have to love. To be able to love, you have to connect.

llse Simoens
llse Simoens, MSc, researcher, herbalist, yoga-teacher and Shinrin-yoku guide.

In my work at the Research Institute for Nature and Forest in Brussels, I focus on the relation between Nature, health and society. As a yoga-teacher I focus on body-awareness via movement, breathing and meditation. During the time I lived in Sweden, I discovered nature in a new way.  Many, long, slow, lonely walks through the Swedish forests deepened my connection with both, myself and the forest. During the last IFTDays, I discovered a third dimension, the one of building a new sense of community when sharing your experiences with others during forest bathing sessions. These inspiring encounters with other practitioners, my previous readings and experiences, motivated me to co-found the Academy of Healing Nature, offering shinrin-yoku trainings and workshops in Belgium. To me, the forest is foremost a place of connection and so were the IFTDays.


BOS+ is a Flemish non-profit organisation dedicated to forest conservation, sustainable forest management, reforestation, afforestation and forest restoration, both in Flanders, Belgium, and worldwide. BOS+ brings and keeps forest issues high on the (political and public) agenda in Flanders. Cooperation with other organisations is part of our DNA: only by working together can awareness grow about forests and trees as vital elements for a liveable planet for all. BOS+ works on raising awareness and knowledge about the importance of forests and trees for a number of target groups and on implementing innovative approaches in the field. Forests play a crucial role in the preservation of biodiversity, as a sustainable source of material used in the circular economy, in our efforts against climate change, ánd for public health: the positive correlations between nature (experience) and our health and well-being are strong and manifold. It is with this in mind that we happily support the IFT days.

Markus Pesonen
Markus Pesonen is a composer, musician, multimedia artist and creative entrepreneur.
Markus is creating sonic experiences in various contexts, investigating the impact of sound in people and the environment as well as teaching from his discoveries. He composes and creates with several music groups and works together with dance, theatre, performance art and film. Collaboration with health and social care professionals has led Markus to develop Sound Journeys that use his field recordings from nature together with original music to create immersive soundscapes with educational and therapeutical potential. 
Markus holds a masters degree in music and a composer diploma from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, but his insatiable curiosity has taken him to explore and research far across disciplines. He’s the co-founder of the creative collective For the Sake of Being(s) and Olo Centre for art, education and healing.
Catarina Brazão​
Catarina Brazãois a somatic educator, workshop and retreat facilitator and an avid nature lover.
Catarina holds a degree in social work in the field of mental health and draws upon years of study and practice in transpersonal psychology, gender studies and somatic work. Catarina’s path is guided by her profound commitment to change and growth, a quality she uses also when working with others. Her work offers a space for true lasting transformation where everyone feels safe, respected and seen. 
With over ten years of experience working on one-on-one sessions and groups, and inspired by the practice of a variety of somatic and spiritual disciplines, she teaches an exclusive approach tailored to each person or group she works with. Today she offers fully immersive workshops, courses and programmes that support people in discovering their uniqueness and authenticity. Catarina is also the co-founder of the creative collective For the Sake of Being(s) and Olo Centre for art, education and healing.
Martina Holcová
Martina Holcová – a writer, an ilustrator, Forest mind guide, coach, mother of 3 children.

Martina studied Environmental humanities in Masaryk University, Brno, Czech republic, working in the field of education (multicultural, global development education, experiential education), since meeting Forest mind (Metsämieli), working on introducing it in Czech republic (asks a lot of patient but is making sense to me:-). Since participating in IFTD 2018 and finding relief of meeting people centered around the same topic, I wish to contribute in spreading the idea of this comunity here in Czech.   

Nature Connection World
Ian Banyard – part of IFTDays Team. An author, guide trainer and the creator of Nature Connection World.

Nature Connection World is the creation of Ian Banyard author of Natural Mindfulness and Nature-Connection Guide and trainer. This evolving online community is aligned to the values of IFTDays and shares the same mission to provide a space where people can explore opportunities to develop a deeper connection with nature and their own true nature.

The Society of Forest Amenity and Human Health Promotion
The Society of Forest Amenity and Human Health Promotion in Japan attempt to study and research the person’s health and the community’s health by the health promotion activities in the forest.

The forest is our familiar nature and about 70% of Japanese land area is forest. Japanese people are inspired by their forests in culture, ways of living, clothing, diets, and so forth. However, like humans, our forests have also got unwell, because of lack of tending to them and abandoning their management. The Society of forest amenity and human health promotes heath of forests and human beings and studies the effects of forest amenities for medical, social welfare, education, nursing, and so forth. Fundamentally, our concept and that of IFTDays are very similar, which is why good things can come out of this collaboration.

Mikko Aslak Lemmetti
Mikko Aslak Lemmetti

MA, environmental caretaker, nature & wilderness guide, vocational qualification in business and administration, blogger, caveman… ”Life is an amazing journey”

Many people have asked me along the road if I knew what I would become when I grow up. I guess I am still on the lookout, and perhaps I will never grow up that much that I would be just one of something – I would rather be a part of many things. That’s one reason why I embrace everything as a source of wonder and excitement I am interested in many things such as science, music, literature, art, etc. Nature has become more and more important for me during the past years. I have found it a place of inspiration, of power and hope, and of dreams. Nature can help and heal those who wish to embrace it, come close to it and see the beauty of it in both big and little things. You just need to stop and let nature show you the way. Based on my personal experience, even miracles can happen. I consider myself to be better at listening than talking, so maybe that’s one reason why I find nature a great place to be. My message is that don’t be afraid to dream, share your ideas and feelings, and be who you want to be. Be your natural self.

Heidi Lenaerts
Heidi Lenaerts

Heidi Lenaerts, MSc, trainer, Forest Therapy and Natural Mindfulness guide and creative entrepreneur.

Being a strong advocate for true natural potential and wellbeing has been a red thread throughout my professional life in IT project engineering, HR and organizational development.

I was blessed to grew up in the land of the silent waters’ near the river the Scheldt in Belgium. Nature makes me feel so alive and has become my dearest friend and partner. Over the last decade I have been inspired by the growing body of research on nature’s positive impact on our health and wellbeing and by many brave practitioners in the field. Since it has always been my dream to combine my passions for nature, learning and creativity I founded the Academy for Natural Inspiration in Belgium: offering workshops, courses, retreats and guided walks to (non-)profit organizations, schools and families (re-)establishing their true connection with nature. It’s our mission to support people to live, grow and develop in synergy with nature. Therefor we need to build a global network to be able to connect and to learn from each other. For this reason I support IFTDays with all of my heart.