San Diego native Sebastian Slovin and his wife Sonya Mohamed are both health, wellness and education professionals who started realizing how much technology was becoming a barrier to people – especially kids – getting out and enjoying the outdoors. They also realized how much it was affecting their own lives. That’s when they decided to start Nature Unplugged in 2012 to offer coaching, presentations, day trips and retreats to help people develop healthy boundaries with technology and reconnect with nature.
“Essentially everything we do is focused on giving people the tools to improve their mental health in a world full of digital distractions and challenges,” Sebastian explains. “Our aim is to help individuals, families, educators and organizations break free from the clutches of technology overuse, reconnect with nature and engage with life and work in a whole new way.” “This is personal to me,” he continues. “I really struggled as an adolescent dealing with the loss of my dad to suicide. Nature became a refuge for me. My time in the ocean and in nature helped me tremendously and probably saved my life.
I knew from a young age that I wanted to do work that had to do with getting people out into nature and helping with mental health.” Nature Unplugged, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has worked with many local schools (including Torrey Pines High, where Sebastian attended) as well as the City of San Diego, Nekter and the University of San Diego.
They chose Encinitas for their office location because it is their very favorite place in San Diego and has such a wonderful wellness culture. In addition to offering wellness coaching, presentations, guided outdoor adventures and retreats, Nature Unplugged offers free monthly community hikes and scholarship opportunities for their services.
Their upcoming Hike-A-Thon in October will raise money for scholarships so that they can impact even more people in the community. “I love seeing a switch flip in teens who were initially resistant to get outside,” he says. “Once they get to the park or the beach, they become as engaged with nature as they would be with tech. I feel good knowing that nature is now a resource that they can rely on for the rest of their life.” For more information about Nature Unplugged, Hike-A-Thon and their services go to www.natureunplugged.com