Bird Watching

Immersive outdoor experience at Mercer Community College


GET OUTDOORS: Mercer County Community College alumnus Natalie Bogach, East Windsor, is in the cast for performances of “The Romantics” scheduled for June 5-6 on the West Windsor campus. Members of the MCCC’s theater and dance programs will present the production.

The romantics, an outdoor designed performative collage performance will be presented at Mercer County Community College on June 5-6. The production is the brainchild of MCCC Theater and Dance Company coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person.

As they walk through and around the campus, spectators will discover scenes of dance, poetry and theater. The number of spectators is limited to 50 for each performance, which is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday June 5 and 6 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The rainy dates are June 12 to 13 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. A special performance for people with reduced mobility worries is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday June 5 (rain date June 11). Spectators can remain seated all the time.

“The idea of ​​this production struck me because of the pandemic,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “It has been a difficult time for everyone. The only beautiful thing to come out of those terrible times was the return of people to nature – hiking, collecting houseplants, gardening, joining birding groups. It struck me to move with the positive aspects of our time. Many people have not heard of Shinrin-yoku (immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the forest or swimming in the forest). People are much more inspired by nature right now, and I was like ‘why not deepen our community in Mercer County? “

“Between the performance moments, we take a horticultural walk and teach the audience the principles of Japanese forest baths – nature is the energizing force. When you breathe these things in, you boost your immunity – Japanese scientists have proven that forest baths improve short-term memory, reduce stress, increase creativity, and have many other health benefits.

Romantics the cast includes many residents of Mercer County, with East Windsor, Ewing, Lawrence, Princeton, Robbinsville and Trenton represented.

“It’s a unique event,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “All of the different art forms tend to do one of two things: make people more empathetic or change the way they think. We’re going to do both of these things, we’re actually going to affect people’s health in a positive way, they’re going to come away feeling a little bit healthier, and they’re probably going to be more sympathetic to other people.

Studies have shown that forest baths increase prosocial aspirations and generosity. “People who bathe in the forest are more likely to be useful in their communities,” Gazenbeek-Person said. He hopes that by being “bathed in a forest atmosphere”, participants will have the opportunity to commune with nature and relax after the challenges of the past year.

The show lasts two hours with a 10-minute intermission. Members of the public may wear masks if it makes them comfortable, and it is requested that social distancing be maintained. The event will cross many terrains: walking on grass, gravel and concrete; and up and down small hills.

Tickets, which can only be purchased online, are $ 10 for adults and $ 8 for seniors and students. Participants will be allowed to bring a garden chair or a walker to sit on during performances. For more details and tickets visit