Mt Cuba Center
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Mt. Cuba is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.

An ecological gardening certificate student completes a Native Plants of Fall exam in Mt. Cuba Center's naturalistic gardens.
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Classes offered year-round. Learn to garden in harmony with nature, take an art or wellness class, and more!

Wide shot of flowering Amsonia.
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Mt. Cuba Center evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value.

Mt. Cuba Center's natural lands pictured at sunset.
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Ecological Land Management

Mt. Cuba conserves and stewards more than 1,000 acres including meadows, forests, streams and riparian corridors.

Two guests walk down the West Slope path in spring at Mt. Cuba Center.
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Mt Cuba Center
Back to News Updates – July 9, 2021


Discover Peace in Nature

Connect with nature in a new way at Mt. Cuba Center’s upcoming course, Walking to Awaken. Discover the tranquility of the Gardens in early morning and disconnect, unwind, and focus on the meditative healing powers of nature. Awaken your senses while walking through gardens and woodlands alongside meditation teacher and practitioner, Julia Byrem. In this unique program created by Julia, learn to develop a sustainable self-care practice to manage stress by finding peace in nature.

Julia completed a Meditation Teacher Training with David Nichtern in 2013. She has found passion and purpose in teaching meditation and mindfulness and believes that all beings deserve peace. Read more below about what participants can look forward to when connecting with nature and self in Walking to Awaken on July 18 & 25.

Photo of Walking to Awaken Instructor and Creator Julia Byrem.

Mt. Cuba Center: You are a registered meditation teacher and practitioner. Can you tell us a little about your journey to become a teacher in this field?

Julia Byrem: I was introduced to the mindfulness practice by a yoga teacher years ago— specifically, the Shambhala Buddhist meditation practices. Beginning with shamatha (the breath-awareness practice of training the mind to notice itself), I discovered the transformative power of meditation. It became a passion of mine, as is teaching, so when the opportunity presented itself to study with David Nichtern I eagerly took it. That was nearly 10 years ago, and I continue to incorporate simple mindfulness and meditation practices in all the courses, workshops, and programs that I facilitate.

Mt. Cuba Center: What did you enjoy most with your training with David Nichtern, who is a senior Buddhist teacher, meditation guide and Emmy award winning composer and musician?

Julia Byrem: I think what I enjoyed most was his levity—he’s a really funny guy. Also, his wisdom and experience were obviously extremely valuable. He always brought everything back to liberation and joy, which is the point of all spiritual pursuits.

Guest walking on trails at Mt. Cuba Center.

Mt. Cuba Center: What’s the experience like for attendees thinking about taking Walking to Awaken program that you created?

Julia Byrem: There’s something incredibly special about this program. Even though we may walk the same path, each week is different. There is an opportunity to witness the beauty and magic of minutiae. We totally unplug (turning off all devices during the walk) which is also a gift. Because we walk on Sunday mornings, this is an opportunity to begin the week in a meaningful way: we take a moment on the walk that strikes a chord, contemplate it, and take it with you into the week. Because the plants are native, it’s especially meaningful to be a part of the garden community of plants, insects, and animals that thrive there.

Mt. Cuba Center: What surprises students most when they take this class?

Julia Byrem: I think that most folks are surprised by how profound the experience is. There is a richness to moving slowly through nature without chatting, taking pictures, or trying to get a workout in that many aren’t expecting. Also, walking slowly on a woods path can be deceptively challenging… in the best way!

Only two opportunities remain to take Walking to Awaken.

Sunday, July 18 from 8:30-9:30 am
Register Here

Members Register Here

Sunday, July 25 from 8:30-9:30 am
Register Here

Members Register Here