‘Birthright’ by Stephen Kellert – Book review by Lisa Horne

This excellent book review of ‘Birthright’ is by Lisa Horne, ASLA

Birthright cover. Image Source: Yale University PressAs the keynote at the 2013 national American Society of Landscape Architects annual meeting and expo in Boston, Stephen Kellert gave a provocative presentation for the profession. “Biophilia” is a relatively new concept in design and Kellert’s recent work Birthright gives a heartwarming survey of ideas with relevancy to design and theory.

Birthright provides a basis for incorporating nature into our lives. Kellert leaves classifications of nature open-ended and defines biophilia as a love of life. We have an innate desire for nature, which is “a birthright that must be cultivated and earned” (Kellert xiii). This attitude neither advocates a return to an Arcadian past nor forecasts apocalyptic doom. Instead, he asserts that humans will recognize their own self-interest and benefit from investing in the environment. An audience of academics, leaders, policy makers, and professionals interested in biophilia will appreciate the pace, text, and reasoning. (more…)

HSNY’s Healing Nature Forum: Keynote by TLN’s Naomi Sachs

Healing Nature Forum

2015 Healing Nature Forum: Horticulture as Therapy
The Horticultural Society of New York
When: March 27, 2015
Where: Center for Architecture, Tafel Hall
536 Laguardia Place
New York, NY 10012

The Healing Nature Forum promotes awareness that the connection to nature is essential to human health and well-being, and interactions with plants and gardens provide physical, psychological, and community benefits. This year’s forum will focus on the factors of healing, meditation, contemplation, and restoration of therapeutic gardens. Join us as we welcome horticultural therapists, landscape architects, and researchers to discuss the importance of horticulture as therapy.

This year’s keynote speaker, Naomi A. Sachs, MLA, EDAC is Founding Director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network and a PhD student in Architecture at Texas A&M University within the Center for Health Systems and Design. Her dissertation focus is on developing a standardized toolkit for evaluation of gardens in healthcare facilities. (more…)

Calls for conference proposals, and save the dates!

Photo by Henry Domke

Photo by Henry Domke

It’s time to submit some conference proposals! Let’s get the word out on research and strategies for connecting people with nature for health. Here are several calls for proposals, in chronological order of when they are due. Of course, mark your calendars for these conferences at the same time.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) – Due Jan 29, 2015
Chicago, IL
Nov 6-9, 2015
Learn more, and submit a proposal

Healthcare Design Conference – Due Jan 30
Washington, D.C.
Nov 14-17, 2015
Learn more, and submit a proposal

Horticultural Society of  New York (HSNY) Healing Nature SymposiumDue Feb 13
New York, NY
March 27, 2015
TLN Director Naomi Sachs is giving the keynote at this conference, so she hopes to see you there!
Learn more, and submit a proposal (more…)

Happy New Year!


I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. — Bill Watterson


Calvin and Hobbes

Wishing all of our TLN members a healthy, joyous, green-kneed 2015!


“Ecoliteracy Under Our Feet” – Greening Cleveland Elementary School

Children and nature

For the last Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog post of 2014, we want to share an inspiring story of one of many schools that that is “greening” its schoolyard. The six gardens and overall ecoliteracy program at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, CA were spurred by Mary Schriner, who interviewed for a position there. When they asked her why she wanted to work at Cleveland Elementary, she responded, “Because your school looks like a prison yard, and I’d like to change that.” And she has changed both the school and grounds, and the lives of those who learn and teach there. One of the first conversations with her students began with the question, “What is a weed?” The project has been a tremendous success. Says Schriner, “I’ve had many, many moments when I’ve almost wanted to cry because I can feel the community happening, not because of me, but because of the natural world that we’re trying to create conditions for at the school. There’s been so much magic around the garden that I just have a lot of gratitude.”

Click here to read the full article by The Center for Ecoliteracy‘s senior editor Michael Stone, “So Much Magic Around the Garden.”


Wordless Wednesday, 12/24/14 – Nature’s decorations


Happy Holidays, everyone!


“…the slow breathing of the earth.”

Photo by Henry Domke

Photo by Henry Domke

“Gravity is measured by the bottom of the foot; we trace the density and texture of the ground through our soles. Standing barefoot on a smooth glacial rock by the sea at sunset, and sensing the warmth of the sun-heated stone through one’s soles, is an extraordinarily healing experience, making one part of the eternal cycle of nature. One senses the slow breathing of the earth.” – Juhani Pallasmaa  The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses


Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes

HT class

What: Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes
When & Where:

  • Oct.23-26 / Upper Marlboro MD (Melwood)
  • Nov.6-9  /  Denver CO (Anchor Center for Blind Children)
  • Nov.20-23 / Half Moon Bay CA (Elkus Ranch)

Learn how to combine a passion for gardening and helping people through the innovative field of horticultural therapy. Join students from across the country to learn more by enrolling in Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy this fall in one of three locations. Download class flyer >>

About The Horticultural Therapy Institute –
At the non-profit Horticultural Therapy Institute, students gain the skills and confidence to create and manage successful horticultural therapy programs, and are inspired to become leaders in the practice and profession of horticultural therapy.  Our experienced instructors are dedicated to teaching best practices with passion and excellence, keeping an eye on the changing needs of programs, people and places.  Learn more >>

Wordless Wednesday, 9/10/14

Callicarpa (beautyberry)

Callicarpa (beautyberry)

Wordless Wednesday, 8/27/14

Icelandic horse

Icelandic horse, Skagaströnd, Iceland. Photo by Naomi Sachs