Discount on DVDs – A Consolation Prize for Those of Us Who Can’t Attend the Design for Aging Conference

I really wanted to get to the Design for Aging conference, which started today, but just couldn’t this year. If you are in the same boat, I have a consolation prize for you!

The Therapeutic Landscape Network has teamed up with Access to Nature to offer a 10% discount off of the excellent DVD series, “Access to Nature for Older Adults.”

Please visit this earlier post for a detailed (and glowing) description of this DVD series. It is an excellent new contribution to this field, and I wish that everyone would see it.

So to help with that, here’s the deal: Receive a 10% discount when you buy any or all of the Access to Nature DVDs. Just enter this promotional code in the checkout section on the Access to Nature website: TLNA2N.

Happy Horticultural Therapy Week!

Photo by Thomas Moore, all rights reserved

This week, starting yesterday, is National Horticultural Therapy Week.

To celebrate, I’m posting the American Horticultural Therapy Association’s Call for Papers for their next conference, In Our Nature, which will be in Chicago from October 13-16, 2010. Proposals are due by April 15, so get your act together soon to submit.

If you’re not quite sure what horticultural therapy, or “HT,” is, here’s a quick definition, courtesy of the Horticultural Therapy Institute: Horticultural therapy is “a professional practice that uses the cultivation of plants and gardening activities to improve the mental and physical health of its participants.”

The Therapeutic Landscapes Network has a special page devoted to HT, and the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) has many resources, including links and books to buy, on their website.

It is my personal opinion that any designer who designs therapeutic landscapes should be a member of AHTA. The Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture alone, published by AHTA, is worth the price of admission alone.

I’m working on a blog post about my amazing day at the Horticulture Society of New York’s forum, Food 4 Thought, and hope to have that out before the end of the week.

In the meantime, here’s a nice video form GardeningForLife about HT:

TKF Foundation Seeks Firesoul Guide & Office Manager

Image courtesy of Robert Rodriguez Jr.

The TKF Foundation, a wonderful organization based in Annapolis, MD, is seeking a “Firesoul Guide” and Office Manager.

Firesouls are the “sparks behind the creation of sacred spaces. Their energy, enthusiasm, patience, and persistence inspire communities to come together around the creation and use of public greenspaces.” The TKF foundation is a private grant-making foundation whose purpose is to create “Open Spaces, Sacred Places.” It partners with organizations to create sacred places which increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections.” They do excellent work, and they’re looking for the right person to help.

For the full job description and contact details, visit the TKF website.

Other TLN blog posts about the TKF Foundation include a review of their book Open Spaces, Sacred Places, and a link to a good article by Anne Raver in the New York Times.

Almost there! Therapeutic Landscapes Network gears up to launch new website

The Therapeutic Landscapes Network is working feverishly to launch our new website in time for the annual American Society of Landscape Architects Meeting and Expo next week (and the American Horticultural Therapy Association and Healthcare Design 09 conferences soon after that).

Above is a sneak peek at our beautiful homepage. Oooh. Ahhh.

This isn’t just a superficial makeover. We’ve reconfigured the TLN site to offer
  • improved searchability and richer imagery;
  • an expanded Designers and Consultants Directory;
  • an expanded Directory of Therapeutic Gardens;
  • sponsorship opportunities for businesses and organizations to promote their products, services, and expertise;
  • an integrated blog (website and blog all under one virtual roof);
  • an interactive Network Forum where members can meet and share information and ideas;
  • and more information than ever before on gardens, landscapes, and other green spaces that facilitate health and well-being, for an even broader global community of designers, health and human service providers, educators, students, gardeners, and nature enthusiasts.
Want to get in on the action before the launch? Easy:
  • Email us at info@healinglandscapes.org if you’d like to list in our Designers and Consultants Directory or be one of our fabulous sponsors.
  • Sign up here (or with the form in the right-hand column – same thing, different look) to become a member and get on our mailing list. It’s free, and we’ll put you on our newsletter list so we can tell you right away when we launch the new site.
Oh, and if you aren’t following us on twitter yet, join us there, too! We’ve got 2,000 followers so far, with more coming every day.

New ASLA Professional Practice Network: Children’s Outdoor Environments

Here’s another sign that people are recognizing the importance of outdoor environments for kids: The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently approved a new Professional Practice Network (PPN) on Children’s Outdoor Environments. The Healthcare and Therapeutic Design and other PPNs have touched on this subject, but it’s high time it had its own PPN, so kudos to Jena Ponti, this year’s chair, for making it happen. Here’s her guest blog post about the new ASLA Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN:

“Landscape architects play a critical role in advocating and designing a variety of places for children to play, learn, and develop a relationship with the natural environment to carry with them into adulthood and citizenship.  The movement to (re)connect children with nature has been steadily growing and gaining momentum.  

In a time when children, on average, spend 45 hours a week “plugged in” and less than 30 minutes a week in outdoor unstructured play, our profession has no option but to act.

One exciting step forward is the recent passing of the No Child Left Inside Act H.R. 3036 and S. 1981.  This Act symbolizes recognition on a federal level of the movement to uplift ecological literacy in schools through enhanced environmental education curriculum.  The NCLI Act requires K-12 school systems to strengthen environmental education curriculums, provide teacher training, and provide federal grant money for schools to pay for environmental education.  This Act will provide $100 million a year to support this work in participating school systems.”

For more information on the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN please contact Jena Ponti, RLA at jena@bruceboody.com or click HERE. 

Many thanks to Jena for this guest post, and to A.S. for the photo of his lovely daughter.

Royal Society of Medicine Conference: Therapeutic Environments

Spotted parsley image courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

Thanks to the folks at the Royal Society of Medicine for letting us know about their upcoming 
“Therapeutic Environments” conference, on Thursday, May 7 in Birmingham, U.K.

Here’s the scoop:

The aim of the conference is to introduce health professionals to the history, practice, range and clinical effectiveness of therapeutic communities. These are environments in which people of all ages are helped to work through emotional, and sometimes physical, trauma that has affected their ability to live productive and creative lives. Many repeatedly engage in self-defeating and damaging behaviour, and this approach enables them to find new and more successful ways of engaging in social relationships with others. It has application in a wide variety of problem areas, from emotional and behavioural disturbance in children and young people, to addiction and adult mental illness. 

The Darzi Report, advocating high quality services for people requiring care in the National Health Service, argues that patients should have “a greater degree of control and influence” over their care, “making services fit for everyone’s needs”, and “care that is personal to them”. Therapeutic Communities do exactly this, in a variety of settings.

Daffodil Days with the American Cancer Society

Speaking of spring-blooming bulbs, the American Cancer Society‘s Daffodil Days program is now underway, through early March (exact dates vary by location). The ACS has been holding this particular fundraising campaign for over 35 years. Over the last 14 years, Daffodil Days has raised more than $240 million in gross revenue to support the ACS. Pretty cool, huh? 

Why daffodils? 

“As the first flower of spring, the daffodil represents hope and renewal. To the American Cancer Society, the daffodil symbolizes the hope we all share for a future where cancer no longer threatens those we love.” 
How it works: You order bunches of daffodils through the ACS now through early March, and they are then delivered to friends, family members, and people touched by cancer in mid-March. And/or you can send a Gift of Hope, a bouquet of ten daffodil stems in a vase that gets delivered as an anonymous gift from you to cancer patients in communities across the country. Daffodil Days options (dates, bouquets offered, etc.) vary by location, so click on the map for your specific community. You can also volunteer to help out with coordinating and delivering – see the website for that, too.
To learn more, get involved, or order up bunches of daffodils that will brighten someone’s day and help fight cancer, visit the Daffodils Days website, especially the FAQ’s page, or call the ACS directly: 1.800.ACS.2345.

Letter to a young landscape architecture student (or How to Land That Job in Healthcare Design)

Snowy Egrets, image courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

I got this letter from a soon-to-be-graduating BLA student who is looking to work in the field of healthcare design in landscape architecture. It’s a question I get a lot, so I thought I’d share her letter and my response on the blog. Hope it’s useful!

I found your website through the Land8Lounge Therapeutic Landscapes Network group. I am currenty a fifth year student, receiving my BLA and will be graduating in May. I am very interested in therapeutic landscapes and used the Therapeutic Landscapes Database you created frequently last semester in a Healthcare and Therapeutic Site Design Studio. Upon my graduation in the spring, I am looking to join a firm which focuses on therapeutic landscapes – or has a component of the firm which deals with designing for healthcare facilities. I recognize that this is a difficult time to get a job, but would love any input you might have as to firms which you might recommend. I know that this aspect of landscape architecture is on the forefront and would love to be a part of it in the future. 

Dear student: It’s true, you’re entering the job market at a difficult time. Of course we’re all hopeful that things will have picked up – at least a little bit! – by the time you graduate with your BLA in May. Still, if your passion is therapeutic landscapes, then you should at least try to find a firm to work in where you can develop what you’ve learned in school and do what you love. 

As you explore your employment options, I’d suggest asking yourself the following questions: Where am I willing to go? Am I willing to move anywhere in the country (or even outside of the country)? Am I willing to work in any size firm, from one person to 100 people? Am I willing to start with a small salary, doing mostly CAD work, and climb up the ladder as I gain experience and expertise? Am I willing to start somewhere that doesn’t specialize in therapeutic landscapes to gain experience and seniority, with the goal of finding somewhere else in a couple-few years? What is it about the study and design of therapeutic landscapes that appeals to me, and how can I best demonstrate my strengths in this area to potential employers? What are my weaknesses, and how would I like to grow and improve in my work? Answering these questions will help you identify your potential employers. The more flexible you are about place/preferences/salary/type of work you are willing and able to do, the better your chances of finding a position. 

The three best places to start looking are Land8LoungeASLA’s Joblink, and the Therapeutic Landscapes Database’s People page. The People page is a great resource because all of these designers are working in the specific field that you want to work in – landscapes for health. In the next few months we will be adding many more designers, once we launch our “new improved” website (in the works now). 

When I was fresh out of graduate school with my MLA, I very much wanted to work in healthcare design, but I was also moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where any landscape architecture job was hard to come by. I knew that if I really wanted to live in NM, I was probably going to have to put my desire to work in healthcare design aside for awhile. Which I did…and didn’t. Although my paid work was with a landscape architect who focused on commercial and high-end residential design, I kept up with my passion in my spare time: I joined the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (which you should also do, if you haven’t yet), started the Therapeutic Landscapes Database, and did pro bono work in the community. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it, whether it’s your primary job, your unpaid passion, maybe right now, or perhaps in five or ten years. Knowing what you want you want and going for it takes flexibility, perseverance, and patience.

You are lucky in that you know what you want. So many people fresh out of school have no clue; they just go where the jobs are, letting the tide take them where it will. While they may be earning a steady paycheck, they often find their work to be mind-numbingly and soul-stultifyingly unsatisfying. Of course, the best of all worlds is to earn a steady, lucrative paycheck by doing what you love, where you want, when you want, etc., but sometimes that doesn’t all happen at the same time. So give it your best shot! Ask yourself the tough questions, be honest with yourself about the answers, and know your strengths and limitations as you venture out into the wild, wooly, wonderful world of landscape architecture and healthcare design.

Community Group Garden Projects Grants from Fiskars – Applications due soon!

Image courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

Just found out about the Fiskars 2009 Project Orange Thumb Grant Program, for “gardens and/or gardening projects geared toward community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture and/or horticultural education.” Community garden groups, as well as schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, and treatment facilities are all encouraged to apply, so make haste! The application for the U.S. and Canada are due on February 17th – in 11 days – and in Australia and New Zealand on March 31. 

Twenty grant recipients in the U.S. and Canada will be selected, and each will receive up to $1,500 in Fiskars garden tools and up to $1,000 in garden-related materials. Australia and New Zealand winners get something a little different, so check the website out for more details, and good luck!

Conference: Creating Sustainable Environments for Young Children

A colleague just sent me this announcement for the “Institute for Creating Sustainable Environments for Young Children” conference in Kansas City, MO. Dates are June 11-12, with a pre-conference day on June 10th for a site visit to Pembroke Hill Early Learning Center. 

“The Institute provides a place where early childhood practitioners and designers can learn about creating sustainable environments for young children, both indoors and outdoors.”

Click HERE to see more details.

Thanks, Bryce, for the conference info, and thanks to Jeff for the image of his daughters and goats!