Immersed in Nature

Listen 54:24
Photo by Bill Bender

Photo by Bill Bender

Imagine yourself out in nature — away from all the noise and the distractions of our lives. You can smell the rich scents of the forest, you can hear birds singing, the wind rustling the leaves, insects buzzing. It can feel calming, and invigorating. Now, imagine yourself alone in the forest for days, and weeks, looking for shelter from the elements and food to eat. That probably sounds more unsettling or scary than calming, right?

On this episode, we explore how our experiences in nature affect us — and change us. We hear from wilderness guide and “Alone” winner Jordan Jonas, about his stint in the Canadian wilderness and his legendary battle with a wolverine. We discuss the practice of forest bathing as a medical treatment, and science journalist Ed Yong explores how other animals experience the world around them.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • When he was in his 20s, survivalist and wilderness guide Jordan Jonas spent a lot of time in the tundra in Siberia. Living there uniquely equipped him to survive all by himself near the Arctic, which is where he was dropped off as a competitor on the History Channel reality TV show “Alone, Season Six.” Jordan outlasted his competitors to win the challenge.
  • On some level, we tend to want to experience nature on our own terms. Swim in the ocean, but not be tossed around by huge waves. Climb a mountain, but not get caught in a storm. Look at animals – but not have them attack us. And when we realize that nature doesn’t play by our rules, it can be deeply unsettling. Reporter Liz Tung brings us this story of an entomologist who had an encounter in nature that shook him to his core – and set him on a path to learn more about evolution.
  • Ed Yong’s new book, “An Immense World” immerses readers into the experiences of other animals, and how they sense what’s around them. Yong explores how our different “windows” to the world offer very different vantage points.
  • Tara Brown discovered “forest bathing” during a long stay in Japan. She felt lonely, isolated, and depressed. Then, she lived like a Japanese mountain monk for a week — and discovered the healing powers of being in nature. Nichole Currie reports on Brown’s journey into studying “forest bathing” as medicine.


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