Wonder & Wander: Communing with Trees

A day-long nature retreat at Wells Reserve with Linda Littlefield Grenfell

Occurred on Friday, June 17, 2022 • 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

In a world wired to distract us from our own integral earthiness, it takes practice to remember our connection with wild nature. In June we partnered again with Maine Master Naturalist and Registered Maine Guide, Linda Littlefield Grenfell, to guide a group of spiritual leaders* on a day of practice and play that helped us to connect with our more-than-human kin. We gathered at Wells Reserve at Laudholm for a day of imaginative encounters with what Linda calls “the real world.” 

During this Wonder & Wander experience we focused on our relationships with trees. We explored the forested environment, engaged with each other, and recalled how deeply rooted we are in our own wild nature.

If you were not able to join us for this retreat, but you are interested in earthy connection as a spiritual practice, check out our Earthbound Practices and stay tuned for future offerings of wild spirituality from The BTS Center.


*We define “spiritual leaders” broadly to include not only clergy and other faith leaders, but also dedicated laypersons, nonprofit leaders, chaplains, spiritual directors, students, university and seminary faculty, denominational executives, and others with a committed and world-engaging spiritual practice.


This in-person retreat was designed to be a fun, playful, educational, and relaxed day of connection with what Linda Littlefield Grenfell calls “the real world.” 

  • We spent the day outdoors among the elements. 
  • We spent time walking at a gentle pace on well-maintained paths that may, nonetheless, be mildly rugged with roots, mud, and slight inclines. 
  • We spent time sitting on the ground (or a camp chair, if needed).

Risk Management:

We considered these measures to minimize insect related risks:

  • Wearing EPA-approved repellents.
  • Walking in the center of trails.
  • Wearing long-sleeved, light-colored clothing.
  • Tucking your pant legs into your socks and your shirt into your pants.
  • Checking your clothing and gear for ticks and do a full-body tick check when coming back indoors. Pay special attention to under the arms, behind the knees, between the legs, in and around the ears, in the belly button, around the waist, and in the hair.
  • Taking a shower within two hours after spending time outdoors, which will wash off any unattached ticks.

We consider it vital to take the ongoing risks of COVID-19 seriously. We continued to monitor the risks of gathering in person due to the variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, and followed CDC recommended protocols.

About Linda Littlefield Grenfell:

Linda (she/her) has spent her whole life fascinated by ancient ways of living with the land. She had a long career as a minister in the United Methodist Church, a grief counselor, and a college Ethics professor. After retiring she promptly began working at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, where she leads nature walks and sea kayaking tours. Linda has her Maine Guide License in Sea Kayaking and is a Maine Master Naturalist. She loves to read, write, walk in the woods (with and without dogs), bake bread, and have exciting new experiences like sleeping outside in sub-zero temperatures in natural shelters!

About Wells Reserve at Laudholm:

The Wells Reserve exists to understand, protect, and restore coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine through integrated research, stewardship, environmental learning, and community partnerships. More about the Wells Reserve and Laudholm Trust partnership here.