Reconnect with Nature at Camp Navarro for Adults

Camp Navarro  for adults

Some of my favorite memories from childhood come from sleep-away camp. I fondly remember leaving Brooklyn, discovering a new sense of freedom where I made incredible friendships, learned to swim and picked up a few new skills (juggler for hire, anyone?!). Sadly that time came to an end around the early high school years, but Camp Navarro doesn’t think that the camp experience has to be limited by age. Their unique camp can provide an incredible location where groups can drink in nature while being spoiled by amenities such as gourmet food, yoga sessions under the trees, stargazing, river exploration, spirit pole carving, foraging hikes, and more to help revive the spirits of the modern (a.k.a stressed out) adult.

cool adult-only Camp Navarro

Situated in Northern California’s Anderson Valley, Camp Navarro comprises over 200 acres of old growth forest nestled along the north fork of the Navarro River and was reborn in 2013 as a nature retreat and unique event destination. Today, Camp Navarro welcomes groups such as Camp Grounded/Digital Detox (a tech-free summer camp!), Yoga Tree, Spirit Weavers, and more who have enjoyed its state-of-the-art facilities, including its 10,000 square foot Main Lodge, a restaurant kitchen, and an outdoor amphitheater.

We recently spoke with Dan Braun, adventure travel guru with more than thirty years of experience in environmental hospitality and owner of Camp Navarro to better understand what a person can expect and why he thinks the camp experience is important for adults. Read on to learn more about this unexpected soul-cleansing experience that might even inspire you try it out this year.

Interview with Dan Braun on Camp Navarro

camping for adults at camp Navarro

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think the camping experience is important for adults?

Dan Braun: The camping experience is important for all humans but Adults especially need a break from our normal, busy and sheltered lives. Day to day we adhere to rigid schedules, a reliance on technology and media, and major responsibilities like work and kids so getting into nature allows adults to simplify, breathe deep, reconnect with the earth and be free and youthful again. On a deeper level, it can be a reminder of what’s important in the world and cut through the ‘noise and chatter’ that bombards us on so many levels.

camp fire at camp Navarro

Wellness Patterns: What are some activities you offer?

Dan Braun: Archery, rock climbing, star gazing/night hikes, day hikes, foraging, wood carving, arts and crafts, yoga, square dancing, river exploration/swimming holes, wine tastings, color wars, volleyball, badminton, cornhole, horseshoes, etc.

archery at Camp Navarro

Wellness Patterns: Tell us about Camp Grounded.

Dan Braun: Camp Grounded is an adult, tech-free summer camp that started at Camp Navarro. It allowed adults to disconnect from normal life and get back to basics and what’s important; having fun, being a kid again, connecting with nature and other humans, and being appreciated for not just what you do but who you are. Participants did not talk about work, were given nicknames, relinquished all technology and watches, did not talk about age, and basically spent four days having the time of their lives. The motto is ‘disconnect to reconnect’.

Wellness Patterns: What do people (in general) get out of this experience?

Dan Braun: It varies but in general it is a reminder of what’s important in their own life including having fun and adventures, taking a timeout from typically a normal chaotic life, appreciating the beauty in nature, and having meaningful conversations and experiences with friends, family, co-workers and colleagues.

Wellness Patterns: What interested you about setting up this kind of experience when you bought the camp?

Dan Braun: I grew up at summer camp and always knew I would own a camp someday, it just took me thirty years to do it! In the interim, my previous endeavors and careers still centered around getting people into nature whether as a mountain guide or as a hotel owner in Yosemite. My next endeavor was to own a camp, focus on events before opening it up to the general public, and continue to get people into nature. In doing so, we were also protecting an asset that would have been lost for good. We are living in ‘interesting’ times, and people’s priorities are often driven by material things so I do my best to have impact by just getting people outside and then seeing what kinds of transformations can take place in their lives.

For more information, please visit: http://www.campnavarro.com

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What are the Differences Between Artificially and Naturally Alkaline Water?

There has a lot been said about alkaline water and how it’s less acidic than tap water. But now we’ve been hearing about artificially and naturally alkaline water and have been confused by the differences and benefits for the body. To help us out, we interviewed Ryan Emmons, founder of Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water to learn more about this topic. Read on to learn more about his company and to better understand the differences.

Interview with Ryan Emmons on Artificially and Naturally Alkaline Water

 Artificially and Naturally Alkaline water: interview with Ryan of Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water come about?

Ryan Emmons: I grew up in California and Hawaii, spending all of my winters and summers there with my Hawaiian family. During that time, I gained an incredible appreciation for the environment and the active, nature-filled lifestyle that’s unique to these places. That, coupled with a history of involvement with clean water, education, and conservation NGO’s led me to try to begin developing the concept for Waiakea Hawaiian Volcanic Water after I realized there was a dire need for a lifestyle brand that could create positive industry and social change.

I went to the Marshall School of Business at USC because it had the number one undergrad Entrepreneur Program in the country (the LLoyd Greif Program for Entrepreneurial Studies), and started developing the concept, feasibility, and business plan over the next few years before graduating early and launching it full time.

Wellness Patterns: What are the differences between artificially and naturally alkaline waters? When measuring alkalinity, an alkaline pH can be the result of natural or unnatural conditions in the water.

Ryan Emmons: Naturally alkaline water has a chemical makeup that is vastly different from artificially alkaline water. A naturally alkaline water’s pH corresponds with the amount of minerals present in the water — the higher the mineral content, the higher the pH. On the other hand, artificially alkaline water has undergone a process they call ionization, or “electrolysis”, that gives the water a certain pH, but rarely possesses the minerals found in naturally alkaline waters.

At the end of the day, more research needs to be done on high pH waters. The health benefits are uncertain as there is very little research to prove that a high pH can have any effect on our bodies — our stomachs need to be acidic to digest food and our bodies have powerful mechanisms to balance our internal pH, whether it’s in the blood, digestive tract, or internal organs. What we do know is that healthful minerals found in naturally alkaline waters, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, are bioavailable in water and have many FDA-approved health benefits.

Remember, I’m not a dietician or doctor, nor am I offering any medical advice. There’s just a lot of conflicting information floating around out there and this topic will only be settled once conclusive studies have been published. But as Dr. Mercola says in one of his publications on alkaline water, the value of alkaline water has much more to do than pH alone. And that’s really the difference between artificial and naturally alkaline water.

Wellness Patterns: How is the water sourced?

Ryan Emmons: 2,400 miles from the nearest industrial landmass and surrounded by 10 million square miles of ocean, Waiākea is completely isolated from the rest of the world, originating in Hawai’i through both snowmelt and rain on the pristine snowcapped peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano, one of the purest environments on Earth. Waiākea is then filtered through thousands of feet of porous lava rock before re-emerging at its source, a deep volcanic well, located at the eastern base of the Mauna Loa volcano in a secluded area surrounded by rich and bio-diverse forest preserves.

Wellness Patterns: What differences will a consumer notice in drinking your water?

Ryan Emmons: Waiakea has a smooth mouthfeel and a very subtle hit of sweet (that’s from the silica!).

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your plans for the future?

Ryan Emmons: As a company, we’re always evolving. Some of the most exciting endeavors on the docket
involve furthering our commitment to sustainability and ethics.

For example, in the next year, Waiakea will be the first premium-bottled water to biodegrade in anaerobic and aerobic environments—yes, that means that all our bottles will be biodegradable, even in landfill or ocean environments.

Additionally, we’re expanding charitable partnerships beyond our long-standing relationship with Pump Aid, to include local nonprofits on the Big Island, and more specifically Hilo.

Furthermore, Waiakea is expanding their partnerships with local nonprofits in conservation and education on the Big Island, and will be making some pretty significant announcements of our new community programs.

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Greener Home with ECOS and an Interview

ecos products for a green home

One of the easiest steps that anyone can take to become a greener consumer is to seek out green companies. And thankfully there are more options out there these days that have even hit mainstream stories, making it even easier to shop ethically. One of our favorites is ECOS, a company that makes all of their products with plant-derived cleaning agents! Started in 1967 with a singular mission: to make affordable environmentally-friendly cleaning products that would not only tackle life’s dirtiest jobs but also protect the planet’s precious resources in the process. Amazing, right!

Today, they continue to adhere to these values and now offer more than 200 environmentally friendly products. We are huge fans and recently had the chance to try out some household staples, like the ECOS Hand SoapECOS All Purpose Cleaner and ECOS Dishmate that we use on the daily. Not only do these products effectively clean up all of the grit and grime from life, they do so without any yucky add-ons. You can opt for a mild scent (we are digging the citrus/green combo of the lemongrass), or opt for an equally powerful collection of products from their free and clear range.

ecos free and clear line

Additionally, all of their products are mode in the U.S. at one of four manufacturing facilities that are carbon neutral, water neutral and Zero Waste Platinum certified, saving over 53 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually and diverting over 95% of all waste from landfills. To learn more about this company, we had the chance to speak with Jenna Arkin, Earth Friendly Products’ Product Development Director. Read on to check out even more about ECOS and why they are one of our favorites.

Interview with ECOS

Wellness Patterns: Can you tell us what it means to produce products in a carbon neutral, water neutral facility?

Jenna Arkin: We power our sustainable manufacturing plants with 100% renewable energy, including solar panels at each facility. Since we became carbon neutral in 2013, we’ve saved over 53 million pounds of carbon dioxane annually. That’s the equivalent of removing 5,089 passenger vehicles from the road each year! Water neutrality is a measure of “zero net water usage.” We achieved this by significantly reduced our water use and by supporting programs that restore water to critically depleted ecosystems.

Wellness Patterns: What does it mean to be zero waste platinum certified?

Jenna Arkin: Zero Waste Platinum certification means that we divert over 95% of our waste from landfills and incineration.

Wellness Patterns: How do you save waste from going into landfills?

Jenna Arkin: We provide extensive training to our employees to help them minimize waste in their daily activities through reducing, reusing, recycling, and most importantly, rethinking ways to prevent waste. Our vendors are a critical part of our Zero Waste success, as we work closely with them to minimize the packaging they send to your facilities and ensure that materials are recyclable.

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your innovations for 2017 and best sellers?

Jenna Arkin: Our long time best seller is our ECOS hypoallergenic Laundry detergent. Just this past year, we have added a new enzyme formula that has added stain removal power, available in two new signature scents – Fresh Geranium and Honeydew.

We are also excited to unveil our newly rebranded “ECOS for Pets!” line of products, wth stain and odor removers and grooming solutions for all of our furry & feathered friends. All of our pet products have been formulated using “Human” personal care and cleaning standards, ensuring that only the safest products come into contact with pets. Our new Peppermint Hypoallergenic Grooming Shampoo is also the first ever Safer Choice certified pet product on the market! This means that the formula has been vetted by the us EPA to contain only the safest ingredients in class.

Wellness Patterns: How did the company start?

Jenna Arkin: Our company was founded in 1967 by a man that embodies the ideal of the American Dream. Van Vlahakis came to our country from Greece with $22 in his pocket and put himself through a rigourous college education in Chemistry. He founded our company in his garage with the mission of providing safer, greener cleaners at a time when no one yet understood the dangers of toxic chemicals in cleaning products. Today we continue to be inspired by Van’s pioneering and innovative spirit, and we’re proud to provide environmentally friendly cleaners that work great at a much lower price than other green cleaners. This year we’re celebrating 50 years of green cleaning!

Wellness Patterns: What are some of your goals for the future of the company?

Jenna Arkin: We’re going to continue to innovate and be at the cutting edge of green chemistry! We’ll also continue to work with local and federal legislators to lobby for safer chemical policies and ingredient transparency to protect American consumers. Most importantly, we’ll continue to grow and provide green jobs in the four local communities in the U.S. where we manufacture our products.

To learn more about ECOS, please visit: http://ecos.com

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