Activities at Well Being Retreat Center
The Fire Circle Trail at Well Being Retreat Center is certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT).- the first in Tennessee. The 1/4 mile long trail has signage to invite users to pause and notice various aspects of their immediate environment. Engaging with Nature in this mindful way has been demonstrated to have significant physiological benefits. Each year, ANFT holds Immersion trainings here as part of their Guider certification process. Christine Hoyer (pictured) is an ANFT Certified Guide and leads nature oriented retreats and trainings here at Well Being Retreat Center. More information HERE.
We don't hunt on the land and we don't allow dogs and cats on the land. We like both dogs and cats, but dogs chase deer and cats are hard on songbirds. So we made a decision when the Retreat Center first moved onto this land, that we wanted the native wildlife here to be able to live without fear of bullets or domestic animals. Now, eight years later, the deer no longer run away in terror and they are often seen grazing in the pastures at dusk, or, like the deer pictured, strolling down the path to one of the cabins. By casual birdwatching, we have identified 59 species of birds on the land. There are beaver, river otter, blue herons and wood ducks in the river. A bald eagle will do an occasional flyby. Sometimes a flock of wild turkeys will visit. And often we are entertained by the raucous laughter of a pileated woodpecker or startled by the pre-historic cry of a blue heron late at night or delighted by a rabbit slowly hopping past you.
Fruit & Vegetable Gardening
At Well Being Retreat Center, we tend a one acre vegetable garden and orchard that is maintained organically, that is, no GMO's, no insecticides, herbicides or fungicides.. We have ten raised beds that are mostly used for annual vegetables, but we also have a bed of asparagus and a bed of strawberries. We have sixtky blueberry bushes that are thriving, blackberries, goji berries, and a variety of fruit trees that we planted eight years ago. We have a plant start room where we raise vegetable and flower seeds as well as root cuttings from trees and bushes.
At Well Being Retreat Center, we keep egg-laying chickens in a portable coop within the fenced one acre vegetable garden to keep them safe from predators. Everyone loves chicken (raccoons, o'possum, weasels, owls, hawks, coyotes, etc.) and keeping them safe can sometimes feel like a full-time job. We feed the chickens organic feed, healthy table scraps, and vegetable overage from the garden. And they of course graze on healthy pasture and whatever bugs they can find. The healthy varied diet is what makes the yolks so bright orange and make the eggs taste, well, like real eggs should taste.
Caring for the River
Well Being Foundation supports the ecological health of the Powell River. Towards this end, we helped to initiate a GIS project with Lincoln Memorial University in nearby Harrogate, TN which investigated key parameters of the river such as concentrations of possible pollutants, water temperature, and the presence of important aquatic food species, also known as bugs. As a result of these studies. US Fish & Wildlife determined that the river was clean enough to justify the reintroduction of endangered species of freshwater mussels. This picture is of such a reintroduction on Well Being's riverfront with attendees from TVA, The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Deptartment of Fisheries.
Don is on the Claiborne County Tourism Commission and is the Chairperson of the Commission's Powell River Regatta Committee The Regatta is a 12 mile race held every Spring which begins at Well Being Retreat Center. Proceeds from this Claiborne County Chamber event are used for the Powell River Blueway project which locates, maps, improves and informs the public about locations that can be used by the public to get on and off the Powell River.