Wordless Wednesday – Staff need healing gardens, too

A staff member takes a break. Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Clare Cooper Marcus

A staff member takes a break at a hospital in Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Clare Cooper Marcus


Touched by nature? Share your story!

Great Spangled Fritillaries. Photo by Henry Domke,

Great Spangled Fritillaries on milkweed. Photo by Henry Domke,

If you’re reading this blog, then you probably believe in the restorative power of nature, and you have probably experienced it once, or a few times, or every day of your life.

Clare Cooper Marcus and I are writing a book on therapeutic landscapes in healthcare environments (to be published by John Wiley & Sons in 2013), and we are looking to incorporate stories  – even just 1-2 sentences – by people who have been touched by nature in a positive way.

We are especially looking for stories about how a connection with nature in a hospital or other type of healthcare facility (nursing home, hospice, etc.) helped you, or a friend or loved one, or a client. Whether you are/were a patient, a visitor, a staff member, or a volunteer, if seeing or being in nature has made your life better, we want to hear about it. Or, were you ever in a situation where you or a family member desperately wanted to view or be in a garden or nature, and there was none? We’d like to hear about that, too.

If your story isn’t healthcare related but still has to do with how connecting with nature has helped you emotionally, mentally, physically, even spiritually, tell us that, too.

If you would like to share your story, please leave a comment below. This also allows others to see and hear each others’ words without having to wait for the book to come out! We will most likely use the “storyteller’s” first name and location, but this is not essential. And if this is too public a forum, you can also contact me through the TLN website:

Please pass this post on to anyone else who might have a story to share.

Thank you!

EDRA44 Providence Call for Proposals

Panorama at RISD & Downtown Providence

September 21 is deadline for EDRA44 proposal submissions

“Healthy and Healing Places” is the theme of the 2013 Environmental Design Research Association Conference. EDRA44 organizers are accepting proposals through Friday, September 21, 2012. Deadline for display poster submissions is November 30, 2012.

For design professionals, health and human service providers and others, the conference represents an opportunity to con­tribute health policy through environmental design research The conference will take place May 29-June 1, 2013 at the Westin Providence Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island.

EDRA44 will have a special fo­cus on health policy implications for environmental design in addition to promoting the value of research for advancing environmental design and theory building. Among others, consider some of the following hot topics:

  • Team science: Shaping multidisciplinary environments to promote primary healthcare delivery
  • Urban planning strategies to promote population health using health indicators in urban planning
  • Building capacity among public health professionals with regard to environmental design
  • Strategies for affordable green and healthy housing
  • Strategies for building health into building design
  • Place-based health indicators
  • Integrating health impact assessment into environmental design
  • Health hazards of buildings and building materials
  • Environmental health 101 for non-health professionals
  • Health-related policies and regulations 101: What architects and engineers need to know

For more details about the Call for Proposals please visit the EDRA44Providence site. Proposals can be submitted at the submission site:, and questions about proposals or other conference matters can be emailed to

EDRA44 Providence


International People Plant Symposium, September 6-8, 2012

People Plant Symposium 2012

Castle ‘De Berckt’ is home to the 2012 International People Plant Symposium. Courtesy of IPPS

“Diversity: Toward a New Vision of Nature”

The most important thing for the future is to learn how to resonate with nature. To resonate means making contact with life, with everything that breathes. I believe that the best way to find the right path for humans is to live a true, naturally sustainable life. When people truly make contact with plants and animals, there are new ways to communicate with each other. People will find their natural way of being. Synchronicity exists when patterns of human life resonate with those outdoors in natural ‘wild’ life. – Annette Beerens, Chair of the Organizing Committee IPPS 2012

Castle ‘De Berckt’ in Baarlo, the Netherlands is home to the 11th International People Plant Symposium, September 6 – 8, 2012. The event is sponsored by the People Plant Council (PPC) in partnership with the Growing Foundation and the International Society for Horticultural Science.

This year’s symposium will create a platform for therapists, scientists, educational institutions and businesses; and will develop an international perspective of the people plant relationships. The event will be a dynamic experience by means of presentations, lectures, discussions, and workshops. In addition, the venue and cultural program will add color the overall experience. The symposium will be enlightening for anyone interested in the profound relationship between nature and humans, such as horticultural therapists, therapeutic horticulturalists, eco-therapists, clinical and environmental psychologists, coaches, counselors and others.

A pre-conference tour is scheduled on September 5th to Viersen-Paffendorf-Garzweiler-Hombroich. The Floriade is also well worth visiting, and a day ticket is included.

For more information, and to register, visit the IPPS website,


(almost) Wordless Wednesday, 8/1/12 – Fawn in labyrinth

Fawn in labyrinth. Photo by Karen Chaussabel courtesy of the Bloedel Reserve,

Fawn in labyrinth. Photo by Karen Chaussabel courtesy of the Bloedel Reserve

Karen Chaussabel took this photo of the newly installed labyrinth at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, WA. She said that the fawn appeared to actually be walking the path:

The labyrinth has enriched my regular visits at the Bloedel in many ways and today my experience was rather unexpected. I saw a fawn walk the labyrinth!!!!! It’s hard to put into words how beautiful and touching that was. I tried to capture this special moment and I am sending you some pictures taken from the terrace. With my gratitude for all that make this a soulful sanctuary for me.    – Karen Chaussabel

For more about the Bloedel Reserve as a restorative landscape, see this TLN Blog post by Sally Schauman, FASLA.

For more on labyrinths, visit our dedicated TLN labyrinths page, and see this TLN Blog post, “Labyrinths as healing landscapes.

Many thanks to Mark Epstein, principal of Hafs-Epstein, for passing the photos along.

Memorial gardens breathe new life into communities

racer-street. Photo by Filiz Satir

For days after the Cafe Racer shooting, grief-stricken Seattleites made their way to the building with flowers, candles, and gifts. Photos by Filiz Satir

Guest post by Filiz Satir

On May 30, 2012, a disgruntled Seattle man opened fire inside Seattle’s Café Racer, eventually killing four of the five people he shot. Later that day, the gunman made his way to Seattle’s First Hill where he shot and killed a Seattle woman and stole her vehicle. Hours later, he fatally shot himself.

For days after the May 30 shooting in Seattle that took the lives of four Café Racer patrons, grieving friends, family, and strangers made pilgrimage to the lime green and gray brick building. Floral bouquets, a foot deep, blanketed the length of the building. Taped notes and letters, poems and drawings covered the windows and doors. Artists and musicians held day processions and evening vigils to remember their friends.

Racer Street front door. Photo by Filiz Satir

Friends, family, and neighbors turned Racer Cafe’s exterior and parking strips into a makeshift memorial.

Daily memorializing  and nightly rituals were a spontaneous, necessary, and natural way for a community to express its grief and pay respects to five individuals who were gunned down inside the Seattle café and performance venue.  What happened in the University District that May morning was random, brutal, and utterly senseless.  There are no words to adequately describe the shooting deaths or the depth of pain caused by this act of violence.  For the community, the healing process will be ongoing.  For those closest to the deceased, recovering will be a life-long endeavor.

How does a community and, in particular, the friends and family of Café Racer victims recover from the horror of multiple shooting deaths?  Perhaps the wisdom of conservationist and author Rachel Carson gives us a place to start.  In The Sense of Wonder, Carson writes:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”


Wordless Wednesday, 7/25/12 – Echinacea and dill

Photo by Amy Wagenfeld,

Thanks to Amy Wagenfeld for this week’s photo. Learn more about her work at

HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference – A wealth of sessions related to Access to Nature

Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Ottosen Entry Garden. Photo courtesy of Desert Botanic Garden

Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Ottosen Entry Garden. Photo courtesy of DBG,

November 3 – 6, 2012
Phoenix, AZ
Early bird registration ends 7/27
Click HERE to register and for more details



The annual HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference looks great this year, with a plethora of education sessions related to access to nature, including one with me and two awesome colleagues:

Tuesday, 11/6 from 8:00 a.m.  – 9:00 a.m.
Environmental Standards Council—The Case for Access to Nature in the 2014 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities

Naomi Sachs, ASLA, EDAC, PhD Student in Texas A&M’s College of Architecture in the Center for Health Systems & Design
Jerry Smith, Owner and Principal, SMITH\GreenHealth Consulting, LLC
Alberto Salvatore, Principal, Salvatore Associates

Through recommendations for the 2014 ‘Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities,’ The Center for Health Design’s Environmental Standards Council (ESC) proposed language and substantiating evidence for incorporating access to nature as one of the key elements in the Environment of Care. Quantitative and qualitative research indicates access to nature is an essential design component to the health and well-being of patients, visitors, and staff. This presentation will include an overview of the Guidelines and a look at proposed revisions to the Guidelines that will allow regulatory agencies to more strongly support the inclusion of meaningful outdoor spaces in future projects.

Listed below are all of the other sessions, in chronological order, that look like they would be of interest to TLN members. These are just sessions that jumped out at me as I scanned the list. Others may also touch on access to nature, so look at the full program to go into more depth. If you see any I’ve missed, please leave a comment.


Chicago Botanic Garden seminar: “Gardens for veterans & children with sensory processing & spectrum disorders.”

Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Allen Rokach,

Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Allen Rokach,

Chicago Botanic Garden Healthcare Garden Design Seminar Program:
Healing Through Nature: Healthcare Gardens for Veterans and Children with Sensory Processing and Spectrum Disorders

July 20 – 22 2012
Glencoe, IL

This is going to be SUCH a good seminar.

Returning veterans and children with sensory processing and spectrum disorders [such as Autism Spectrum Disorder] are two growing segments of the population that share a common root in disrupted neurological processing, which impacts all areas of life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is increasingly a public health crisis. The number of cases is expected to grow, ultimately exceeding 500,000 in the United States, according to a study by researchers at Stanford University. Autism spectrum disorders are estimated to affect one in every 110 children. The unique challenges facing both of these special populations, their families, and their communities necessitates discussion on how to best serve and create garden environments of care where education, treatment, and recreation take place.

This three-day seminar offers a broad approach for discussion on how healing gardens and therapeutic spaces can be instrumental in recovery, treatment, and stress reduction for special populations. The program will draw on the expertise of medical professionals, researchers, and practitioners to discuss the complexities of diagnosis and treatment. These sessions will be combined with case studies led by landscape architects currently working to implement healing spaces, along with discussions about design features and guidelines for therapeutic gardens that serve these special populations.

Visit for more details.

For past TLN Blog posts related to these topics, visit the following:

Lovely reminder

The original playstation