This year, Belgin Aksoy, founder of Global Wellness Day, dedicated the fourth annual celebration to Charlene Florian, a spa and wellness leader and Chief Creative Office of Kerstin Florian International who recently left this Earth too soon. To honor Charlene’s memory, Belgin began the Charlene Florian Forest initiative, with plans to plant 2,000 trees in Turkey, in cooperation with the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats.
I recently spoke with Julie Andrews, a dear friend of Charlene’s and President, Kerstin Florian International, to find out more about this heartfelt mission. “We at Kerstin Florian and our partners in the spa community at large are honoring Charlene’s work on a global scale with sponsored tree plantings worldwide and support of healthy lifestyle and wellness events at many partner locations,” she shared with me.
On this, the fourth annual Global Wellness Day, Kerstin Florian International will celebrate locally by joining forces with the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach (the beachside town where Charlene grew up) for a community yoga class, smoothie tastings, and product demonstrations. I spoke with Julie on the eve of Global Wellness Day and asked her a few questions.
This year’s Global Wellness Day is dedicated to Charlene with the launch of the Charlene Florian Forest initiative. Charlene had a tremendous love of nature. Would you kindly share some of those memories with us, how her love of nature manifested itself?
Charlene loved to be out in nature at any time of year, she spent time hiking in her native southern California regularly, as well as taking adventurous hiking trips like hiking Machu Pichu in Peru. On her annual family trips to Sweden in the summer she loved to spend time in the forest picking wild blueberries and mushrooms with Kerstin and her girls. She also loved to be out on the water whether it was paddle boarding, sailing or swimming. She loved the beach, to ski, travel, and any adventures that allowed her to experience the beautiful wonders of nature.
We at Kerstin Florian and our partners in the spa community at large are honoring Charlene’s work on a global scale with sponsored tree plantings worldwide . . .
I understand that you’re working on this initiative with the Nature Conservancy. How so?
We are supporting donations to this organization and hope to deepen our involvement and support as we grow the participation and awareness of this initiative. We are so appreciative of their support of this organization to continue Charlene’s legacy.
You mentioned in an earlier conversation that Elemis is a big supporter of this initiative.
Sean Harrington of Elemis got behind the Global Wellness Day initiative to donate to the Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees initiative to honor Charlene’s legacy and her love of nature. We are so honored they are joining in celebrating Charlene on Global Wellness Day.
Are there future plans for these Forests?
We plan to continue to support planting trees globally—working with all chapters of Global Wellness Day that would like to support this cause in Charlene’s name. We are just beginning in our efforts and hope to have much to report next year on GWD 2017.
How may readers get involved and/or donate to the Forest?
A donation may be made to the Nature Conservancy at www.plantabillion.org.