John Muldoon, counsellor at Algonquin College, leads student "mood walks" every Wednesday throughout the summer. Photo credit: Wawina Nzibu

At Algonquin College, students are back on campus, mask mandates have been lifted and new and old programs are coming back to the school. Those looking for a way to relieve stress might consider joining in a Mood Walk. Every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. John Muldoon, a counsellor at Algonquin College, hosts walks around the school grounds and beyond, for students who would like to experience nature, explore the campus with a guide, and take time to reflect and reset for the rest of the week.

Mood Walk is a province-wide initiative, led by the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario. Algonquin College adapted the program to the school to help students get more in touch with nature. The benefits of these kinds of experiences are well known. Walking in nature, nature therapy, or Shinrin-Yoku in Japanese (“forest bathing”), is the art of reconnecting with nature and stepping away from technology.

“There is a lot of science to show that being outside in nature actually boosts all the different hormones for good feelings in the body,” said Muldoon, who loves walking around the campus discovering new flowers and small animals such as squirrels and rabbits.

The counselling centre is getting the word out through posters and online announcements. Muldoon hopes more students learn about the program and participate, now that COVID restrictions are loosened.

Levine Hussein, a student in the business management and entrepreneurship program, said she didn’t know about the walks, but is “greatly interested in things like that.”

Student Renisha Patel, also in the business management and entrepreneurship program said, “I love nature, but the only downfall, I have class in between those times, 12 to 3.”

If you want to join in a walk, go to the ACCE building on the first floor near the bio wall, on Wednesdays at 1 p.m., and someone will be there to lead the walk.

“Rain or shine, Mood Walk will continue,” said Muldoon.