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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Oct 31, 2020

Kimberly Beck is the founder of Relational Rewilding in CO. Kimberly shares that she was obsessed with animals and nature as a child. Her passion grew into facilitating the relationship between people and nature, people and animals, and people and people in various ways. Kimberly has designed and led environmental programs as a Naturalist and a Certified Interpretive Guide. She would go earn a Master’s in Counseling from Colorado State University which began her path into healing others via Ecotherapy.

Bio from the Relational Rewilding Website: 

As a young child walking through Ohio oak-hickory forests, Kimberly would regularly ask: 'How can I teach others to love these woods as much as I do? How might people take care of these places? Can we heal here? Do people develop differently with more exposure to nature?' These internal questions have guided her life's work, and still continue today.

Kimberly's passion is facilitating relationship between people and nature, people and animals, and people and people. As a naturalist, humane educator, eco-therapist, nature mentor and dog trainer, she considers herself to be living her childhood dreams. She attributes her relationship with nature as a primary protective factor in her own emotional and psychological resilience, and hence chose to blend nature and psychology in her work. Kimberly values helping others improve their health, confidence, relationships, and sense of belonging in the world by restoring the original kinship we humans share with nature. She believes the health of people is absolutely intertwined with the health of our ecosystems, and hopes that re-establishing natural, native connections will generate more compassionate attitudes and actions toward ourselves, one another, and the planet upon which we depend. 

In addition to operating Relational Rewilding (founded in 2017), Kimberly currently works as coordinator and faculty for the Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies, teaching nature-based approaches to therapy. She is also a contract instructor with Denver Botanic GardensDenver Audubon Society and Evergreen Audubon Society.  She is on the advisory board for Outdoor Education at Red Rocks Community College. Kimberly holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Colorado State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education & Plant Biology from Ohio University. She has been practicing nature-based and eco-therapy for 10 years . Kimberly designed and led environmental and humane education programs at state parks, outdoor education centers, and animal shelters throughout the country. She is a Master Naturalist, a Native Plant Master, and Certified Interpretive Guide. Kimberly has participated in continuing education programs through North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (now the Colorado School for Clinical Herbalism), The Foragers PathArtemisia & Rue HerbalismSomatic Wilderness Therapy InstituteWildcraft Forest SchoolWilderness Awareness School8 Shields Institute, and The Tracking Project - training in cultural and natural awareness, animal tracking, plant studies, herbology, bird language, primitive skills, community building, & Gestalt and nature-based therapy.  She lives in the foothills west of Golden, Colorado with her partner, 3 horses, and a diversity of surrounding wildlife.

About Kimberly Beck, M.Ed., NCC, CIG