51 East Fourth Street | The Plains, OH 45780
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Reconnecting With Our Nature Self


July 26, 2023
Hickory Creek of Athens welcomed a special visitor, Roni Clark, the lead instructor/owner of Travel Far Adventure Hard, LLC. He owns a guided tour/adventure travel company, where helping others engage with nature and the outdoors is their number one priority. Our residents were fully immersed in this unique nature experience, going back to their roots.

As a graduate of Hocking College in Eco-Tourism and Adventure Travel, Roni expanded on his knowledge of nature, where his passions lie, and targeted career paths as a nature guide. Over the years, as a guide, Roni has encountered all walks of life, showing them how to have a unique experience with the outdoors. Travel Far Adventure Hard allows anybody to experience the outdoors, be in tune with nature, and make it possible for others to participate in the nature education and activities they offer.



"Our nature activities target the importance of hands-on education that adds a fun, engaging experience for any age range or differences our participants may have. Our wild berry painting activity is just one way we bring the outdoors and nature to others. The importance of outdoor activities, even in a setting where participants cannot travel far, is the therapeutic benefit that nature has to offer. Our berry painting activity consists of handmade paintbrushes, paint, and other art tools, made with safe materials that come straight from nature," shared Roni.

Berry picking is something many of us have done throughout our lives or as kids. As we grow older, being outdoors allows us to stay in tune with our younger side and take a moment to relax and reengage with this part of ourselves. We chose hand-picked wild berries as our main material to create a natural paint for participants. We discussed each type of edible wild berry used while reflecting on memories from our childhoods of finding wild berries. Everyone was encouraged to add berries to the collection and smash them themselves to create lighter or darker colors, adding an extra element of fun!

As the paint was being created, we watched our art come to life! We used sticks from fallen tree branches or twigs sturdy enough to make paint brushes, combined with other natural materials, like leaves or grass, that act as the bristles of the brush. Creating hand-made brushes allows individuals to not only take home their one-of-a-kind paintings but a conversation piece to share with others.



Everyone is encouraged to choose from a variety of materials that can be found almost anywhere outside to build their brush's desired thickness and paint stroke consistency. The best part is each brush is different and unique. Each plant material that is chosen and used is also talked about during the activity. One of the main materials we used was the leaves of pawpaw trees, Ohio's only native subtropical fruit trees! This allowed us to engage in nature education that we find important, fun, and entertaining during these activities.

Once everyone's brushes were made, they were given a separate large leaf to put their paint and natural art materials on. Not only did we paint with berries, but we used other sage flowers that created pops of colors, like jewelweed flowers and dandelions, which have beautiful yellow pigments! The more nature we bring to the table, the more interactive and hands-on the nature paintings become. "Everything natural that we choose to use for our activities, we ensure is edible. We pick plants and berries that we know will be safe if/when our inner child starts to play and curiosity takes the lead," expressed Roni.

Our residents were so pleased with this activity. Activities like these engage hands-on nature learning and bring the outdoors to those looking for the therapeutic benefits of being creative in a fun, natural environment! Hickory Creek of Athens looks forward to having Travel Far Adventure Hard back for more activities with the residents soon.

Our Activity Department is known to stand out for its creativity and enrichment through activities, outings, events, and more. Be sure to follow Hickory Creek of Athens on Facebook to see what our Activity Department is up to next!

Hickory Creek of Athens on Facebook

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