Preparing for an EcoQuest Retreat
What’s Involved in an
Reviewing this information before an EcoQuest experience will save time and prevent explaining these details on the day. Each EcoQuest participant will receive a colour-coded EcoQuest Workbook which will help focus on the day’s activity.
Depending on the location, weather, accessibility, time frame, logistics and personal concerns, each outdoor activity is rated (unless otherwise stated) as easy or medium. This will hopefully make it possible for individuals with an average fitness level to be involved.
As each retreat involves three land-based eco-metaphor exercises, participants could be walking/hiking for fifteen to thirty minutes between each exercise. This would total two and a half hours of walking/hiking during a six-hour EcoQuest experience. However, if the trail is a loop track, walking/hiking time could be either reduced or increased, particularly if an EcoQuest was held in different locations around New Zealand. Final details will be available at the time of registration.
Each EcoQuest is weather dependent and will be subject to each person’s health questionnaire concerns, fitness and safety, risk disclaimer, etc.
Easy-Rated Outdoor Activity
In an easy-rated outdoor activity (unless otherwise stated) individuals would be expected to walk twenty to thirty minutes between each of three land-based eco-metaphor exercises. This would total two and a half hours of walking time over a six-hour period. The leisurely pace throughout the retreat would involve walking on a well benched track and based on an individual’s average level of fitness, this easy-rated activity would be possible.
Walking between each land-based exercise is a vital part of each EcoQuest’s retreat experience. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their eco-metaphor experience while absorbing nature’s artistry, word pictures or portraits of nature’s uniqueness before arriving at the next land feature and commencing another eco-metaphor exercise.
Unless specified, this easy rated activity has no difficult tramping tracks or routes that require exertion in getting to each designated land feature (see Health Questionnaire).
Medium-Rated Outdoor Activity
In a medium-rated outdoor activity (unless otherwise stated) individuals would be expected to walk thirty minutes between each of three land-based eco-metaphor exercises. This would involve, walking/hiking on a benched track for two and a half hours over a six-hour period. The leisurely pace throughout the retreat would require each participant to have an extra level of fitness from what is required for the easy-rated activity.
Unless specified, this medium-rated activity would have tracks requiring extra energy or exertion for getting to each land feature, as the hiking would involve some hill work or steps, but this wouldn’t be arduous. However, if the trail is a loop track, walking time could be reduced or increased (See Health Questionnaire).
Walking/hiking between exercises is vital to each EcoQuest retreat experience. Participants are encouraged to absorb nature’s artistry, word pictures or portraits of nature’s uniqueness before arriving at the next land feature for commencing another Eco-Metaphor exercise.
Final details will be available at the time of registration.
Unless stated, an EcoQuest outdoor activity is limited to groups of eight/ten and will take six hours to complete. Given the richness of each EcoQuest, individuals will be captivated by the synergy of nature in a community of like-minds.
In moments of group reflection, it is advisable that everyone participates in the shared experience. What is spiritually revelatory for one can have a ripple effect on others.
Encouraging sensitivity, awakening or spontaneity about the sacredness of nature, no matter how insignificant, is of utmost importance as it will enrich the group as a whole.
Remember, like the faith of a mustard seed, little is much when God is in it.
Throughout each EcoQuest, all eco-metaphor exercises occur in a space adjacent to a walking trail. This means there is no reason for anyone to wander off into the bush or other landscape setting and become separated. Doing so would be against EcoQuest conditions and protocols and could place a person’s well-being in jeopardy.
Streams or rivers are abridged, making walking/hiking easy-going with several opportunities for stopping. From the outset, one person is appointed to lead the group, while another person is selected to remain at the rear of the group.
All participants are required to remain as a team throughout each EcoQuest. Should the group spread out or come to a fork on the trail, you are asked to stop and wait for the remainder of the group. Each participant is required to be in view of the person in front or behind them throughout the quest. All participants will carry a map that highlights the intended trail.
“A garden, orchard or forest busting with life reminds us there is growth in silence.”
EcoQuest Overnight or Physical Outdoor Pursuit
If there was sufficient interest in having an overnight EcoQuest or hosting a shorter or longer retreat held at different locations around New Zealand, then put your request forward for consideration. If an EcoQuest intense physical outdoor pursuit is planned, it would be directed by a professional outdoor instructor. The risk involved at this level would increase, and different conditions, protocols and agreements would cover participants.
What is Meant by an Eco-Metaphor Exercise?
Each designated land feature is a place where an eco-metaphor exercise is created and where an individual’s physical (body), psychological (mind), and spiritual awareness (soul) are impacted by the inspiration of each nature-based exercise.
In this context, spiritual discernment and personal growth are celebrated in God’s natural cathedral. Each eco-metaphor exercise is followed by individual mindfulness meditation and group reflection.
What To Wear
As an outdoor activity, participants are advised to be prepared for whatever the weather is on the day. Checking the weather forecast the day before is a wise move. Being in the bush can mean the temperatures are cooler than being out in the open air so wearing or having the right clothing is vital.
Spending time in nature is always a weather dependant experience with caution being our guide at all times. The duration of each EcoQuest, is six hours which could involve hot sunny weather or a change to wind and/or possible rain.
What To Bring
- It is advisable to wear hiking shoes or light boots
- A second set of clothing in the event of the weather changing
- Back pack, toiletries and a first aid kit
- Small ground cover or cushion, rain jacket and hiking stick
- Lunch, water and snack bars
- Sun hat, sunscreen and glasses
- The workbook has room for note taking and a pen is provided
New Zealand EcoQuest Locations
EcoQuest activities are operated in Auckland or outer regions. However, if there is a demand for this service at different locations around New Zealand, then consideration would be given.
Make contact if your group event would benefit from this outdoor Christian activity or a simplified version.
Making Use of the Eco-Quest Workbook
Participants are encouraged to use the workbook as a companion when considering what God is communicating through His natural presence, goodness and personal rejuvenation.
The workbook is a practical guide for helping process an eco-metaphor exercise and mindfulness meditation.
The EcoQuest workbook is also designed to be used beyond your initial EcoQuest experience, as well as further studies in:
- Applied or
- Eco-Theological studies.
Only the green section of the Workbook will be used on the day of the EcoQuest Retreat.