Wellness Sessions

The Friends’ Wellness Program is designed to engage community members and foster overall wellness.

Don’t we all simply feel better when we are outside?  There are many health benefits associated with spending time in the outdoors, and Fish Creek Provincial Park is a perfect venue to take part in activities that support a balanced, healthy lifestyle.  The Friends’ Wellness Program was conceived as a way of encouraging people to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and provides a variety of programming in support of health and wellness.   Over the past five years, these sessions have provided many opportunities for people to engage their senses in the outdoors,  allowing the beauty of the park’s natural surroundings to nurture and support their physical/mental/spiritual health and creativity.

Special Event – Film Screening of Griefwalker

The Friends of Fish Creek, Alberta Parks and Mount Royal University want to celebrate the success of our first ever Good Grief: Walking Through Grief and Loss program with a special event to thank our volunteers, further engage program participants and endeavour to encourage others to learn more about this important work.

Griefwalker (2008, 70mins) is a National Film Board of Canada documentary of Stephen Jenkinson’s work with and on behalf of dying people, directed by Tim Wilson. Jenkinson asks, ”What does it take to fall in love with being alive?”, and the answer that he offers, both unwelcome and vitally necessary, is, “Being willing to see the end of what you love.”

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017   Doors open at 6:30pm, Film starts at 7pm.  Discussion to follow. 

Where:  Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre (13931 Woodpath Road SE, Calgary, AB T2W 5R6) – Shannon Terrace Area in Fish Creek Provincial Park

This film screening is free to our valued Good Grief Companions (volunteers) as well as to past Good Grief participants.  Admission to the general public is by donation in our efforts to raise funds that will enable us to keep this program going.

Register today through Eventbrite


New for 2017 – Wellness Pass – Get 6 sessions for the price of 5 – Only $50

Each time you purchase a Wellness Pass in 2017, you will have your name put in a draw for a free 2018 Pass!

Yoga in the Park

Naomi Parker and Gwen Draude team up again for their fifth season of yoga in the park!  They focus on a form of practice known as Raja or “Royal” yoga, which emphasizes the connection between body, energy, and mind through postures, meditation, and breathing techniques; it incorporates all eight limbs of yoga, and each session will include breath connection, asanas (poses), relaxation, and meditation.  Creating a connection to your body through your breath will ensure your learning in honouring oneself, gaining a more balanced mind, body and spirit in the process.  Find your balance with Naomi and Gwen in beautiful Fish Creek Provincial Park and connect with true bliss – if only for an hour & a half at a time!

Sessions will be held on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30pm (June, July and August) and from 7-8pm in September

All sessions are outdoors and will be held at the Bow Valley Ranch.  

$10 per session Register through Eventbrite by clicking on a date below


Full Moon Meditation

Our Wellness instructors will each take a turn in offering full moon meditation sessions on full moon evenings throughout the summer.  Join in on the amazing full moon energy!

All sessions are outdoors and will be held at the Bow Valley Ranch from 7-8:30pm

$10 per sessionRegister through Eventbrite by clicking on a date below

*Please note that the August 7th session will be photographed


Spring Forest Qi-Gong

This meditative practice is based on the ancient wisdom and belief that we all have the power and ability to heal ourselves.  Spring Forest Qi-Gong incorporates simple moving meditations to help open your heart, mind and physical self. Side effects – more happiness, improved mobility and health!   Join instructor Diane Smith on a journey towards balanced and flowing energy this summer!

Sessions run from June 26 to August 28, Monday evenings from 7-8pm

All sessions are outdoors and will be held at the Bow Valley Ranch

$10 per sessionRegister through Eventbrite by clicking on a date below

Forest Bathing: Discover the Medicine of the Forest

Shinrin Yoku – also known as “Forest Bathing” – is used in the Japanese healthcare system.  Doctors prescribe time in nature to reduce stress and overwhelm and to increase creativity and overall wellness. This gentle model is ideal for all types of people & abilities.   

This two hour workshop , lead by naturalist and certified Forest Bathing instructor, Ronna Schneberger, will introduce you to the concept and practice of Forest Bathing, with the serenity of Fish Creek Provincial Park to support you.  The meeting place will be the Fish Creek Environmental Learning Centre; from here, you will walk a short distance into the trees for your practice.

Tuesday, September 12 from 6:30-8:30pm

Only $25, Register through Eventbrite

Painting in the Park

Join the Friends as we venture into all things artistic with a few fun and creative outdoor painting workshops at various locations in the park. 

Please note that these outdoor workshops may need to be moved indoors due to inclement weather.

Paint Out! with Gerry Mulhall

August 11, 6:30-9pm (please note that our June 23rd date has been cancelled)

What better way to connect with nature than to immerse yourself and try to capture it in paint!  This 2.5 hour painting workshop lead by instructor Gerry Mulhall, will help you learn to simplify composition and capture the natural light using a limited palette and your imagination!  Perfect for those with a bit of experience, and you can paint in any medium (oil, acrylic or watercolour.)

View Supply List

Only $35 (8 spaces available) – Register through Eventbrite

To learn more about Gerry, visit his website


Plein-Air Beginner Watercolour with Yasmin Irani    

August 10 or 17, 10am-2pm

Hesitant to try watercolour painting?  Now is the time to give it a try!  Lose yourself and learn to paint in the beautiful, natural surroundings of Fish Creek Provincial Park.  No previous experience required.

View Supply List

Only $45 (8 spaces available) – Register through Eventbrite


Paint What You See with Jim Pescott

August 15, 10am-2pm

Spend the day painting among the trees and let the landscape speak to you. This “Plein Air” (outdoor) painting workshop in Fish Creek Provincial Park will have you experiment with a unique painting technique called “pointillism” where images are created through the use of many tiny, colorful dots. This class is perfect for any skill level of painter, from beginner to experienced; you are invited to try this new technique or simply paint as you see fit!

View Supply List

Only $45 (10 spaces available) – Register through Eventbrite

To learn more about Jim, visit his website

For Painting in the Park classes, please print your ticket and bring to Kensington Art Supply & Instruction for a 15% discount on supplies

(120, 6999 – 11 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2H 2S1 403-283-2288)

Good Grief! Nature Walking Through Grief and Loss

Research conducted with Alberta Parks and Mount Royal University has revealed how nature teaches us to grieve. Death and loss so often bring us to parks and natural places; favorite places to remember and sites simply to let grief be, just as it is – natural.  Parks and nature also connect us to the cycles of life and death, reminding us of endurance, beauty, and the only constant – change.

In the changes and challenges of grief and loss, walking in parks and nature can provide different things, good things, to different people. For some people, the goodness will be in just moving and getting some exercise; for others it will be in the fresh air and light or in the quiet companionship of trees, animals and people who have no expectations except that you are there, walking.

Our 8-week program offers those experiencing grief and loss, just that; a gentle, accessible, guided walk through nature, to observe, to chat, to enjoy fresh air and the natural world. The program is not intended to be a counseling experience, but simply a time to walk in nature, guided, and with others who are walking a shared path. If participants wish to gather together at a local coffee shop for further conversation and socializing, feel free to stay for a bit longer!

Good Grief will run on Mondays from 6:30-8pm, from September 11th to October 30th.  Walks will begin at various meeting places throughout the park, and participants will receive this schedule once they have registered.

Only $25   Register through Eventbrite

Please note that we attempt to make these walks accessible for all levels of mobility; if you have mobility issues, please get in touch with Shana Barbour, Program Coordinator, at shana@friendsoffishcreek.org in case we need to adjust our walk routes to accommodate you.

A look at our Wellness Program Instructors

Diane Smith is one of 90 people in the world who has completed level 5 in Spring Forest Qi-Gong (SFQ). She is one of four Certified Instructors and Master Healers in Canada. Diane is a passionate student of SFQ. While practicing SFQ, she experienced a profound shift in her life and is now passionate about sharing how SFQ as a lifestyle can positively influence health and well-being. Diane’s practice has given her balance, joy, peace, creativity and a stronger sense of self, family and community.

Gwen Draude received her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification in 2012 from Sunshine Yoga Academy in Calgary.  Yoga continues to teach her the fundamentals of slowing down, being present, breathing deeply, and learning to let go of meaningless worries or thoughts.

Naomi Parker, of Elemental Wellness, is a Certified Fairy Intuitive Healing Practitioner, Reiki Master, Registered Yoga Teacher, Mudra Therapist, and Spiritual Response Therapist (SRT). She grew up in Northern Alberta where, surrounded by wilderness, grew a fondness for the Earth and its elements. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years.  You can find out more about Naomi’s practice and services offered through Elemental Wellness at www.elementalwellnessandyoga.com

Ronna Schneberger is a naturalist and guide in Banff National Park. She is the first person in Alberta to teach the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing.

Gerard Mulhall is originally from Tipperary, Ireland, and received his BA in Art and Design Education as a mature student from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.  Many of his paintings reflect his love of nature and Alberta landscapes, and he is an experienced instructor and member of the Leighton Art Centre and Calgary Sketch Club.

Yasmin Irani graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (honours) from the College of Art in New Delhi.  She has painted across several continents over the years and in several media (acrylics, oils, pastels, inks and watercolours) with a style that is impressionist.   Her other passions are traveling, interior decorating, gardening, photography and hiking in the great Canadian outdoors.

Jim Pescott paints Alberta landscapes and his work has been exhibited internationally.  His unique painting style is meditative and explores how everything on our Earth is connected. Jim is also the artist responsible for the Friends’ 25th anniversary original painting which our limited edition prints have been created from!

Here’s what people are saying about these programs:

“I loved learning a variety of techniques, the license to experiment and play, and enjoyed the surroundings.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, please repeat this class!”

“Excellent class, I hope you do more!”

“Wonderful instruction, relaxing, excellent, FUN!”

Past programs this year…..

Yoga in the Snow?  Winter Qi Gong?

For a little extra winter fun, Gwen, Diane and Naomi offered our first ever “Snow-Qi” class to a sold out crowd!  the group took part in a snowshoe trek to peaceful spot followed by some yoga poses and meditation (and hot tea!).  We’ll make sure to offer this class again next winter!

Wellness Program Kickoff Event! – Wednesday, June 21st from 7-8:30pm at the Bow Valley Ranch

We are hoping to expand our Wellness Program offerings in 2017 and are looking for people with a deep connection to Fish Creek Provincial Park who might be interested in teaching a plein-air painting workshop, drumming circle or other activity that can promote personal wellness by engaging people in the outdoors. 

If you have an idea, please contact Shana Barbour, Program Coordinator, at shana@friendsoffishcreek.org