Dr. Zhong Xie

Adjunct Professor, Department of Forest Resources Management, UBC

Dr. Xie is a Senior Researcher at NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, focusing on Energy, Mining and Environmental R&D, at the UBC campus (Vancouver). He is an internationally recognized electrochemist in applied electrochemistry, especially in the area of Fuel Cells, Li Ion Batteries (LIB), Sup-capacitors, Photovoltaic (PV) cells, Photocatalytic-H2 Generation, Photocatalytic Oxidation, as well as Electrochemical technologies for wastewater treatments. Recently he has focused on nature and human wellbeing research, particularly in the research of negative air ions in forests and their role in nature therapy.

Dr. Xie has served as a peer reviewer for many journals and contributes to more than 50 industry, national, and international projects, including major automakers such as Nissan Motor Corp, Toyota Corp, and Mercedes-Benz Canada Fuel Cell Division. His research findings have led to the publication of more than 50 journal/conference papers, two book chapters, and three patents.

Dr. Xie obtained his Ph. D from Central South University (of Technology). Prior to joining National Lab in 2003, he was a Professor and the Director of the Light Metal division under the College of Metallurgical and Environmental Engineering, Central South University of Technology. He did his postdoctoral research in the Department of Metal and Material Engineering of the British Columbia University (UBC) under Professor David Dreisinger from 2001-2002 and postdoctoral research in the Chemistry Department of Simon Fraser University (SFU) under Professor Steven Holdcroft from 2002 to 2003.





Dr. Hong Xu

Research Associate, BC Center Research Center

Dr. Hong Xu is an accomplished lead cancer biologist, with an exemplary record of notable scientific discoveries pertaining to cancer drug development. Dr. Xv has a strong background in genome stability networks, is knowledgeable about all DNA damage repair pathways, and expert in a wide range of cellular biology, molecular biology and virology assays in tumour and immunology analysis. Dr. Xv discovered a novel anti-cancer drug, CX-5461, leading to the launch of a new clinical trial to treat breast cancers in Canada. She is also the initiator and organizer of the Vancouver Genome Stability Group in Canada. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Xv has published over 20 papers in Science, Nature, Nature Communications and other academic journals.






Ken Ouendag

Forest Therapy Mentor, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

Ken Ouendag completed training with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) to become Vancouver’s first Certified Forest Therapy Guide. He founded Nature Connected Forest Therapy Walks in 2017, offering public and private walks and retreats that are inspired by the Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku (also known as “forest bathing”). He serves on training teams for the ANFT and mentors guides-in-training during practicum. His guided walks invite people to explore new ways of connecting with nature while opening the door to the healing properties of forests and other natural environments. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ken was drawn to the West Coast of Canada by its lush forests and calming scenery. Since moving to British Columbia in 2009, he has undergone numerous outdoor educator and guiding courses. Ken also enjoys a career in recreation therapy where he supports individuals to incorporate leisure and recreation into their lives to promote health and wellness.






Michael Lee

Senior Instructor in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Michael Lee has practiced as an occupational therapist in the field of Mental Health Rehabilitation for over 35 years, he developed a passion for enabling people with psychosocial needs to participate in the occupations of their choice. In recent years, he has been an ambassador bringing psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery to countries where such concepts are not fully embraced. In 2015, he was awarded the Ambassador Award from Psychosocial Rehabilitation Canada in recognition of his outstanding work in advancing psychosocial rehabilitation. He is particularly keen on supporting occupational therapists educated elsewhere in practicing in Canada. Merging his clinical expertise in mental health practice and his beliefs in enabling students to thrive in their higher education, Michael spearheaded many campus mental health projects and has been developing new knowledge on how to best support students’ wellbeing, in particular focusing on teaching practices. In recognition of his pioneering work on-campus mental health, he was awarded the Margaret Fulton Award in 2018.






Ronna Schneberger

Trainer & Mentor, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

Ronna Schneberger has been a professional award-winning naturalist, interpreter, and hiking guide in the Canadian Mountain Parks for 25 years. She is a yoga teacher for 20 years and in the last decade incorporated yoga, meditation, and coaching in nature.  The results were profound.  In her quest to understand why time in nature easily creates powerful experiences, she became a Forest Therapy Guide with the ANFT, one of the first in Canada.  Ronna is a trainer and mentor for forest therapy guides. She is faculty with Leadership Development at the Banff Centre where she works with leaders, professionals and executives from all over the world using nature as the teacher to create powerful reflections and transformation. She is the Chair of the ANFT Canadian Council, along with her team; she looks forward to promoting Forest Therapy in Canada.







Jackie Kuang

Jackie is a trainer and business manager with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. She’s a certified forest therapy guide trained in 2017 at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and has been guiding regularly in her communities ever since. She’s one of the first guides to pioneer guiding walks remotely via Zoom when the pandemic made guiding in-person unsafe for many months in 2020. Born and raised in China, Jackie came to the United States in 1990 to pursue her PhD in American Literature. She has had a diverse background in various fields such as teaching, translating, marketing, and practicing as a Certified Public Accountant. One of her greatest joys in guiding and training guides is witnessing the transformative impact on participants’ well-being on so many levels. She has co-led over 10 guide training courses worldwide as of 2022 and created a professional development course called Guiding Business Success for trained guides.







Lijun Liu

Lijun Liu joined the Ministry of Forestry (State Forestry Administration) in 1982, dedicating his career to international forestry cooperation. He held the role of Deputy Director at China’s State Forestry Administration’s Foreign Cooperation Project Center. Liu Lijun served as Chairman of the Forest Therapy International Cooperation Committee at the Chinese Society of Forestry Economics from October 2015 to April 2018. Since April 2018, he has led as President of the Forest Therapy Branch at the Chinese Forestry Society. Additionally, he holds positions such as Chief Expert at the Strategic Development Advisory Committee of the China Green Carbon Foundation, Distinguished Expert at the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Technology, Chinese Academy of Management Sciences, and as an Expert at the Zhongguancun New Green Development Think Tank and Expert Advisory Committee of the Zhongguancun Green Carbon Research Institute.
He played a pivotal role in founding the ‘National Innovation Alliance for Forest Therapy and Health Promotion’ under the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, which was approved in July 2022. Liu Lijun pioneered the introduction and widespread promotion of forest therapy concepts and models in mainland China. He has led domestic institutions in fundamental research and engaged in international discourse on forest therapy and natural healing. His active pursuit of international collaboration has contributed to the development of a distinctively Chinese forest therapy system and model, yielding promising results. Liu Lijun has authored over ten thousand words on forest therapy and co-authored works including ‘An Overview Of Forest Therapy’.





Alex Gesse

Alex Gesse, born in Barcelona, is the Executive Director of Forest Therapy Hub. He holds an E-MBA from EAE Business School. Currently pursuing degrees in Sociology and Psychology. He serves as a Public Health and Forest advisor for the Union of South European Foresters (USSE) and other public institutions. Alex has collaborated as a consultant specialist in the Expert Group on Human Health and Wellbeing for Forest Europe. He also collaborates with the Management of Natural Spaces Services of the Barcelona Provincial Council.

As part of his work with Forest Therapy Hub, with an interdisciplinary team, he has developed The FTHub Method and the Liquid Interactions Model (LIM) for Forest Therapy and Forest Bathing. This integrative approach combines the latest scientific evidence in nature and health with traditional nature-connectedness approaches. FTHub’s manualized programs for health prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation based on over 30 Forest Therapy Interventions pilot projects.

He has trained over 1500 guides globally and conducted forest therapy interventions and forest bathing walks in more than 20 countries, in six continents. For FTHub, he co-leads the team involved in the NATURELAB project, a European Union-funded research project with 6 million euros, focusing on the desig and implementation of nature-based therapies.

Alex Gesse has lectured at prestigious institutions worldwide, authored several books, and co-authored scientific publications, including a notable multi-country study on the impact of forest bathing on well-being.





Won Sop Shin

Won Sop Shin obtained his Ph.D. in forestry in 1992 from the University of Toronto, Canada. He is a professor at Chungbuk National University in Korea holding the Chair of Korea Forest Therapy Forum. Also has an adjunct professorship in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia in Canada. He has 30 years of experience in research and conducting projects on forest and human health. His main research interest is the psychological benefits of forest and nature experiences.

During the years of 2013-2017, he also served as Minister of Korea Forest Service (KFS), and Chair of the Committee on Forestry, FAO. During his term, KFS developed many new forest policies relating to using forests for human health and welfare. He is now a Head of the Graduate Department of Forest Therapy at Chungbuk National University enrolling about 150 students in master’s and Ph.D. programmes. Won Sop Shin is also working actively with international organisations such as the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine.