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Museum’s meditation, mindfulness video seeks to combat stress

BIG CYPRESS — Birds, bugs and the boardwalk may not seem to be the key to relaxation, but folks at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum believe it is the perfect antidote to stress.

It’s also a way to engage museum members while the museum remains closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The video is close to five minutes and focuses on the beauty of the environment traversed by the museum’s boardwalk.

Soothing spa-type music plays softly under the sounds of the cicadas and birds.

In addition to beautiful views of the forest, there are some standout images including a bug’s eye view of the boardwalk, a close up of cypress needles covered with morning dew, an air plant on the trunk of a cypress tree and the forest floor filled with ferns.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s boardwalk and the surrounding nature are part of a video designed to ease stress. (Courtesy Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum)

Museum director Kate Macuen created the video in June as a benefit for museum members.

The video was sent to them via email and is also available through the museum’s online portal for members.

Since the museum closed in March, the staff has been trying to create additional content to keep Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki top-of-mind.

“I thought about the beauty of the museum campus and wanted a way for people to connect with it virtually,” Macuen said. “Mindfulness and meditation are pretty big right now and a lot of people are using those tools during the pandemic. This is something we can offer people to remind them that the museum is still here and keep them excited to come back when we reopen.”

Macuen filmed the video over a few hours in June. It was the height of cicada season, which gave the video its soundtrack. Sabal palmettos, cypress trees and wild bananas are some of the plants found just on the other side of the boardwalk’s handrail.

The video was also shared with the Center for Behavorial Health as a tool to help clients cope with the anxiety and stress of Covid-19.

Alison Nemes, assistant director of CBH, was delighted to get the video link from the museum.

“It is a brief meditation, which is perfect for beginners and experienced individuals as well,” Nemes said. “Our staff believes it is extremely helpful; the video brings a bit of relaxation and peace. It’s a nice tool for them to use to increase relaxation and grounding.”

Macuen is pleased to know it is being used within the Tribe.

“It’s been a hard time for so many people,” Macuen said. “I hope having this short little meditation video can help create some calm and peace, while keeping the museum in mind.”

The video is available on YouTube.

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at