Hello! I'm Nancy Kopans, founder of Urban Edge Forest Therapy, and I am thrilled to extend my life-long passion for nature to improving the wellbeing of New Yorkers through a nature connection right here in our city.
Many of us are aware that time spent in nature makes us feel better—happier, calmer, and more creative—and medical research is proving this. But for those of us living in urban environments, it’s not always easy to connect with nature. As a Certified Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, I am trained to facilitate a sensory connection with nature in ways that are affordable, efficient, and readily accessible. This is why I established Urban Edge in 2017.
From the time I was a kid, nature has been important to me. Growing up just outside New York City, I managed to make almost every green space I could find a source of wonder and adventure (wetlands in Queens were a favorite). That early interest led to an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences, graduate studies in Nineteenth Century American nature writers, and participation in Outward Bound and National Outdoor Leadership (NOLS) programs. With this background, I have led numerous hiking and biking trips and have participated in many biking, swimming, running, and hiking endurance events. I also engage in mindfulness practice, including mindfulness in nature retreats with great mentors. These ways of connecting with nature support my skills as a forest therapy guide.
When not spending time outside, I am a practicing attorney—General Counsel of ITHAKA, an education-focused non-profit organization and home of the digital library resources JSTOR, Artstor, and other services—and I have served on various boards of trustees, including with the Association of Learning and Developmental Disabilities and The Century Association Archives Foundation. I also am the parent of two daughters. Exploring nature with them during their early years served as a great reminder of how slowing down and noticing the natural world brings remarkable rewards.
I am honored to serve New Yorkers of all backgrounds with the benefits of Forest Therapy and invite you to join me on a walk!