every book has a story…

Every book has a story as to why and how it came to be. Nature Heals has 3 stories, that blended to produce this book. The 3 authors met serving on the committee of Cultivate NSW, a Horticultural Therapy Society, It was the catalyst, for our visions to gradually became synchronized; we had all seen first hand the benefits of being outdoors with communities, and clients. We heard the patient feedback, and saw the reactions of children and adults as they nurtured themselves by planting gardens, and connecting in nature, and saw growth and felt peace, as a result of this work. They relaxed, and got joyful and some got excited. Even clinically depressed people. We knew this had be shared, and needed to be tended, to grow. We built on the training that Cultivate had already pioneered. We met landscape architects, community workers, counselors and keen environmentalists and gardeners, who wanted to share this with their workplaces and communities. Looking around at some projects and therapeutic gardens in Australia and NewvZealand, and gauging the interest and the explosion of research that substantiated our experience, we knew it was time to build a very specific foundation (bespoke if you like) beneath this work. We believed it would resource, and support the growth in this work. And there was some great work going on, that we wanted to “harvest” and celebrate.

5 years ago now, we agreed this was necessary. And that we would do our best. But we had no idea really how to move forward. Putting one foot down when we did know, we took many steps like this. At the end of the first year we had some idea of where we would have to go and began gathering stories. Along the way, still putting feet down only when we had worked that out, our vision developed and expanded. Nature Based Therapies were so diverse with a different character and way of finding their way into the workplace. We were inspired by them, and tried our best to respect the work already happening, while breaking ground into new, supported ways for the work of Nature Based Therapies, to find its feet, “down under.”

Keeping going like this, is how we have done it. And overcome the incredibly challenging things that came our way, in the process. Writing a book is not easy; we labored on this one, beside our proper jobs, and family commitments. Our partners helped with photos ( all of them take some great shots) and forbearing. It did not always feel like a labor of love, and yet we believe this is what it is ( without sounding cliched.) About the 3 year mark we approached a couple of publishers, and found that the face of publishing had changed. They were also doing it tough, and our topic was new and virtually unknown. Which category to put us in? Horticulture, Ecology, Community, or Psychology? Which one indeed? We are proud of the blending of all these traditional fields, and more. Something new is created, from something old. That being in nature is good for us, is not new. But it seems we have forgotten… In deed, the time is ripe – we need skilled, flexible and passionate therapists, who can build bridges and move between these traditional silos of knowledge, to facilitate us back to a connection with nature again.

We found a custom publisher, Bad Apple Press, who worked with us patiently, to produce this unique offering of a book. We trust we will be re-paid for our investment, (leap of faith) with sales. We thank you for your orders, and hope you will spread the word that such a book, whose time has come, now exists. We trust it comes at such a time when tuning into nature, is so critical; to soothe humanity’s maladies, and for this earth, our beautiful home.

Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis

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