Concurrent Session Spotlight: Planting Seeds of Hope: Cultivating, Nurturing and Replicating a Horticultural Therapy Program

man lying in grass

“With therapeutic gardening becoming more popular, Extension Master Gardeners (GMGs) are increasingly asked to develop educational opportunities for individuals with special needs. Inherent in these requests come challenges to ensure activities are successful and appropriate to the needs of the individuals and EMGs. Recognizing this, Green Spring Gardens EMGs developed a specialized approach, highlighting two therapeutic gardening projects. The Fairfax County, VA, funded Woodburn Crisis Center and the non-profit Fort Belvior, VA, USO program for service personnel in a military in-patient substance abuse program, were initiated in 2016 and are still in operation to date. This presentation will address replicable ways of collaborating with program staff. Practical examples will include therapeutic horticulture training adapted for EMGs, ways to cultivate collaborative relationships with program staff and the development of replicable training materials.”

Learn more about horticultural therapy here.

Kathleen Wellington is a Virginia Licensed Professional Counselor, spending 40+ years working in behavioral health field in administrative and clinical positions. Prior to her retirement, she served as Vice President of Clinical Services for a local non-profit and worked part-time as a therapist specializing in anxiety and affective disorders. Her passion is horticulture therapy. She has taken certificate courses in horticulture therapy and worked throughout her career developing, implementing and consulting on various horticultural therapy projects. Kathleen presented at the United States Botanical Garden, Washington, DC and at several National Horticulture Therapy Association conferences including, in 2018, on the Green Spring Gardens Extension Master Gardener Project as the Fairfax County, VA, Woodburn Crisis Center and the USO program at Fort Belvior, VA. She is currently pursuing coursework in Medicinal Herbalism.

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