Happy National Nurses Week!

Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden, Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter, FL. Photo courtesy of Studio Sprout

Jacqueline Fiske Healing Garden, Jupiter Medical Center, Jupiter, FL. Photo courtesy of Studio Sprout

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” – Florence Nightingale

Let’s hear it for nurses!

If anyone knew the value of fresh air and access to the outdoors, it was Florence Nightingale (1820-1910); her birthday is on May 12th, and National Nurses Week began on May 6th.

Therapeutic and restorative gardens in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are not just for patients and visitors. Staff can benefit just as much – and sometimes even more. The outdoors is a critical place of respite where people who deal with life-and-death situations can go, by themselves or with colleagues, to take a physical, mental, and/or emotional break. Whenever possible, healthcare facilities should provide separate garden spaces for staff. This separation of space for different users with different needs can be as important as the space itself. Even a view of the outdoors has been found to benefit staff, for example by reducing stress and improving alertness (which, of course, benefits the patients as well!). (more…)

May is Older Americans Month

Senior hikers cross near a waterfall. Photo by Amriphoto

Senior hikers cross near a waterfall. Photo by Amriphoto

We’re never too old to play!

Children are not the only ones who reap health benefits from being in nature. Adults of all ages, including the eldest among us, have much to gain by routinely accessing the outdoors in gardens, parks, urban trails, and other green spaces.

For the past four decades, the federal Administration on Aging has promoted May as “Older Americans Month” as a way to encourage communities to sponsor activities and celebrations that keep elders, 62 and older, engaged, active and involved in their lives. “Never Too Old to Play” is this May’s theme.

As we age, access to hospitable, navigable and social environments becomes more important to maintaining overall health – fitness, flexibility, strength and social support. Numerous studies conclude that regular exercise helps elders to prevent falls and fractures; reduce their risk of strokes, heart disease, and some cancers; and lessen cognitive decline.

Read more about the health of  older Americans by visiting the Administration on Aging’s Older Americans  web page.

We’re not usually in the habit of referring people to business websites, but Must Have Play is a company that focuses on play and playground for elders, and they have some good information on the why’s and how’s: And here’s a guest blog post by Must Have Play’s founder, Michael Cohen, on the Aging in Place website: “Have you heard? A playground for elders!

Community Engagement & the Built Environment conference

Head Start Preschool, Seattle, WA                    Photo by Filiz Satir

Head Start Preschool Play Yard, Seattle, WA. Photo by Filiz Satir

Community Built Association Conference: May 30-June 2, 2012

The Community Built Association (CBA) will hold its annual conference in Portland, OR, May 30 – June 2. The interdisciplinary gathering is open to all those interested in community engagement through the lenses of art, play, nature, and the built environment.  The conference features presentations and panel discussions related to play environments, gardens and green spaces, public art, and community-engaged architecture. The conference at Portland’s Tabor Space, 5441 S.E. Belmont Street will  include:

  • Presentations and discussions from leaders in the field of community-based practice;
  • Hands-on workshops that will engage participants’ creativity while they contribute something of lasting value to the local community;
  • Tours of local “place-making” sites around Portland, where volunteers have shaped community spaces with their own hands over time; and
  • Informal networking and sharing sessions with inspirational community builders from Portland and around the country.

Artists, architects, builders, organizers, gardeners, planners, and others are all welcome. To learn more and register for the conference, visit the CBA Web site:


Planting Seeds for Culture Change – Hort. Therapy for Elders

May Apple. Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

Two-Day Workshop Focuses on Horticultural Therapy for Elders

Planting Seeds for Culture Change is a workshop taking place in early May and late June in Grand Rapids, MI and Prescott, AZ, respectively (see below for dates).

The two-day training focuses on the use of horticultural therapy (HT) with elder populations from the “culture change” perspective.  In the hands-on workshop, attendees will gain skills to incorporate HT into care plans and learn strategies to enable elders’ full participation and gardening success. Instructor Pamela Catlin, has more than 30 years of experience providing  HT to elders. For more information regarding workshop content, registration deadlines and enrollment, visit or call 303.388.0500. 

Locations and dates for Planting Seeds for Culture Change:

Friday and Saturday, May 4-5, 2012, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Porter Hills Retirement Community
Grand Rapids, MI

Friday and Saturday, June 22-23, 2012, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Margaret T. Morris Center
Prescott, AZ

Fee:  $290 (includes all materials and lunches)


Portland Memory Garden celebrates 10 years

Wild ginger and ferns. Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

Portland Memory Garden Founders Day Weekend, June 2-3, 2012

In celebration of the Portland Memory Garden’s 10-year Anniversary, the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden will sponsor an educational panel discussion at Good Samaritan Hospital, Saturday, June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Susan Rodiek, Associate Director of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University, will present the keynote address.

The Friends also plan a “garden” open house, June 3, noon to 3 p.m. The event will include guided tours, free nature crafts, music, and refreshments. The seminar and garden celebration are open to the public, though registration is required for the Saturday seminar. All seminar proceeds will go to support annual maintenance of the Portland  Memory Garden, located off S.E. Powell at 104th Avenue in Ed Benedict Park.

The garden is designed to meet the special needs of those with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and to provide respite for their caregivers. The garden is one of eight “memory gardens” in the U.S., and one of only two built on public land.

For more information contact Brian Bainnson at 503-256-8955 or visit

Recruiting Garden Volunteers: If you’d like to get your hands dirty in the Memory Garden they have two teams that meet on the first and third Saturday of every month, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Contact Patty Cassidy (1st Saturday) 503-239-9174 and Julie Brown (3rd Saturday) 503-367-5188.

Environments for Aging 2012 conference – A lot to offer!

Environments for Aging 2012

Wow! I just looked at the full list of Session Descriptions for this year’s Environments for Aging conference (4/21 – 5/1/12 in Orlando, FL) and it looks amazing. I’m so encouraged that there are eight presentations that mention or focus on access to nature in the title and/or description. Definitely more than last year – a good sign! And I’m sure many of the other presentations will touch on this subject as well. I went to EFA last year, and I was impressed with the caliber of the speakers, presentations, and attendees. If you are interested in outdoor environments for seniors, this is THE conference to go to. Here’s the full conference agenda, here is the full list of session descriptions, and here’s a link to register.

Oh, and if you register by this Friday, 1/27, you get a significant early-bird discount.

Read on for details on the 8 session that I think will be of particular interest to our members…


Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo this month – Discounts for TLN members!

Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo healing garden. Image courtesy Hitchcock Design Group

Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo healing garden. Image courtesy Hitchcock Design Group

Just around the corner, with discounts for TLN members

Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
September 20 – 22, 2011
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

The Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, now in its 24th year, is the original event that brings together the entire team who designs, plans, constructs and manages healthcare facilities.

This year, they will debut a Healing Garden located on the exhibit floor and created and sponsored by Hitchcock Design Group (members of the TLN’s Designers and Consultants Directory). Learn how these landscape architects are creating spaces that improve patient experience outside the building to enhance the healing process. Within this garden, a number of therapeutic elements make this space “healing.” Healing gardens benefit patients by improving medical outcomes, reducing stress and elevating the immune system. For more information visit

And we get special treatment! All Therapeutic Landscapes Network members, including anyone who joins the TLN between now and September 22, will receive a 20% discount on the full conference pass or a VIP ticket for a free pass to the Expo. VIP Tickets include admission on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 to the Keynote, the Exhibit Hall, Healing Garden, educational sessions in the Learning Lounge, and evening reception.

To join the TLN (membership is free, and you’ll receive our monthly newsletter), go to


“From Motown to Growtown!” – Documentary ‘Urban Roots’ on farms, community gardens, and food justice in Detroit, MI

Urban Roots poster by Shepard Fairy,

Urban Roots poster by Shepard Fairy

Last night I watched the excellent and inspiring documentary ‘Urban Roots‘ at the Horticultural Society of New York.  It’s a film about urban farmers, gardeners, and food and community activists who are taking over the hundreds (thousands?) of acres of vacant lots in Detroit, MI and making them into productive landscapes that address ecological and economic problems at the same time – in other words, healing Detroit by healing and cultivating the earth. Or as one young woman said, “turning Motown into Growtown!” And it’s happening elsewhere, too. For example, at the Healing Landscapes Sustainability Symposium in Cleveland, OH this past February, I learned of several similar projects in the Cleveland area, and even in my own city of Beacon, NY, we have the Green Teen program, which “empowers urban youth to be effective community change-agents by immersing them in the local food system” and the CSA (community-supported agriculture) Common Ground Farm.

What impressed me about the movement in Detroit is individuals working at a grass-roots level (no pun intended…) to solve deep economic, social, and environmental problems for themselves instead of waiting for someone to give them a hand and do it for them. In other words, self-determination.

Some of the projects and places in the film: Brother Nature Produce, D-Town Farms, Field of Dreams (FOOD), Grown in Detroit, Eastern Market, Farnsworth Community Garden, Elmhurst, and Earthworks Urban Farm.

At the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, we focus on gardens and landscapes in the healthcare setting and on research and evidence-based design, because no other organization is doing this kind of work on an interdisciplinary level. But our mission is to serve as a “knowledge base and gathering space about healing gardens, restorative landscapes, and other green spaces that promote health and well-being.” That means any landscape, wild or designed, urban or suburban or rural, large or small, that facilitates health. And preferably the health of not just humans but animals and the planet as a whole.

For information on these broader topics, visit our website’s Other Healing Landscapes section. We’re still adding to this, but right now we have pages on community gardens, gardens in prisons, and memorial gardens. Input and suggestions are always welcome.

Thanks to the Horticultural Society of New York for screening the film, to Mark McInnis for making the film, and most of all, to the people of Detroit for their inspiring work. Keep on growing!

Vince Healy talk, “Sensory Engagement and ‘Sense of Place'”

Strolling Pond Garden photo by Laura Davidson, courtesy of the Portland Japanese Garden

Strolling Pond Garden photo by Laura Davidson, courtesy of the Portland Japanese Garden

Vince Healy will be speaking at the Portland Japanese Garden at the end of this month on “Healing Nature: Sensory Engagement and “Sense of Place.” He will be giving two talks, one for Health Care and Human Services Professionals (on 6/29) and one for members of the general public (on 6/30).

The restorative qualities of nature are evident perhaps nowhere more beautifully in Portland than in the tranquil setting of the Portland Japanese Garden. This year the Garden begins to explore its role as a vehicle of restorative therapies through a special evening seminar on “Healing Nature: Sensory Engagement and “Sense of Place” with noted expert Vince Healy, who will define “healing” and “restorative” gardens, and discuss the many ways in which multi-sensory experience in garden settings can benefit healing.

Mr. Healy holds a BFA from the University of California, Irvine, an MFA from UCLA, and was a Loeb Fellow at The Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is the author of several journal articles and has counseled authors writing books on the healingproperties of garden environments. He has been a consultant on garden projects for the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Downey, CA, and the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA. He worked closely with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross M.D. to assess her property in Virginia and generate ideas for the creation of a garden at her training center for health practitioners. He participated in the design collaboration of the Elizabeth and Nona Evans Restorative Garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. He has lectured and taught classes and seminars at Harvard University, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana, and the University of Virginia. He was also a final keynote speaker at the ASLA Centennial Conference.

Health Care and Human Services Professionals seminar
Wednesday, June 29, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Seminar includes a lecture and a private walk-through of the Garden with Mr. Healy and
Portland Japanese Garden Curator, Sadafumi Uchiyama.
Fee: $35
Location: Pavilion, Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Reservations required, space is limited
Call (503) 542-0280

Talk for members of the general public
Thursday, June 30th,
5:30–7:30 p.m.
Fee: $10 members, $15 non-members
Location: Pavilion, Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Reservations required, space is limited
Call (503) 542-0280 or go to the Portland Japanese Garden website.

Thank you to Teresia Hazen, Horticultural Therapist and Coordinator of Gardens at Legacy Health in Portland, OR for news about this event.

Child Friendly Asia Pacific International conference

Photo courtesy of Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network,

Photo courtesy of Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network,

“Engaging Children,” the 2nd International Conference of the Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network, will be held this year in Surakarta City, Indonesia from 6/30 – 7/2/11. In haste, I am copying and pasting. This announcement was orginally posted on the Children, Youth and Environments Forum by Tim Gill of Rethinking Childhood, Looks like a great conference!

The 2nd Child Friendly Asia Pacific International conference, through the
generous support of the Indonesian governments Ministry for Woman’s
Empowerment and Child Protection will be held in Surakarta City, Indonesia
in late June. The focus of the conference will be on engaging children
including supporting the role of children as active citizens and working
with children to evaluate the quality of their environments. In addition to
formal conference presentations delegates will have the opportunity to meet
and engage in hands-on research activities with local children in the city,
take field trips, be a dinner guest of the Minister of Woman’s Empowerment
and Child Protection and enjoy a cultural night with the Mayor of Surakarta

Keynote speakers over the three-days include:

Dr. Judith Ennew, Researcher with the NGO Knowing Children, Bangkok,
Thailand, and co-author Children as Active Citizens

Professor Roger Hart, Co-Director, Children Environments Research Group,
City University of New York and author of the seminal UNICEF publication
Children’s Participation

Professor Karen Malone, Researcher, University of Western Sydney, CFAP
Network Chair Professor Ricardo Henriques, State Secretary of Social Welfare
and Human Rights, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Professor Economics
Science at Universidade Federal Fluminense

In addition to the main program and presentations, child friendly city
delegates from across the globe a special two-day symposium on Children and
Risk in Natural Disasters will be chaired by Dr Julie Rudner and Dr Kumi
Tashiro with panel members from Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand speaking on
current activities in these countries to support children during and in the
recovery of natural disasters. An executive meeting for CFAP as well as a
special session on the CFAP accreditation program that will include panel
presentations from key staff in regional UNICEF offices will also be held.
Themed sessions include: Engaging children’s views or Planning for and
with children, and the special symposium Session: Children, Risk and Natural

Conference Fee: $500 AUD (includes field trip, all lunches and dinners on
both nights).

Visit their website for more details.