Remembering Stephen Kellert

Stephen R. Kellert, “biophilia” scholar and lifelong champion of the natural world, died on Sunday, November 27, 2016 of multiple myeloma. I learned of his death yesterday from a lovely post by Richard Louv and The Children and Nature Network.


What is a Healing Garden?

My colleague, Dak Kopec, asked me to write a piece on healing gardens for his forthcoming book,  Environmental Psychology for Design, and he has graciously given permission to share it with you here on the TLN Blog. Dak is Director of Design for Human Health at Boston Architectural College and has written many books and other publications on the role of the environment in human health. Thank you, Dak!


Landscapes for people with cancer – A (former) patient’s point of view. Guest post by Kevan Busa

Busa at lake

Kevan at the lake.

Kevan Busa first contacted me in August of 2012. He was in his last year as an undergraduate in landscape architect at SUNY-ESF, and had been excited about the upcoming semester abroad program in Barcelona, Spain…until he was diagnosed with Leukemia. When he emailed me, he was in his fourth out of five rounds of chemotherapy, and was scheduled to be in Buffalo for three months to get a bone marrow transplant. He wrote, “I talked to my school and doctors and i think that i am going to be doing an independent study of healing spaces while i am there.” Seriously? You plan on doing research while you recover from chemo and a bone marrow transplant? Wow. And he did! His research was subsequently published in the June, 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. I asked him to write a guest post for the TLN Blog, and he graciously agreed. The post is below.

Looking back at by far the hardest year of my life, I have realized the potential that I have to share my information with the professional world and especially people interested in healing spaces. There is more information being added every day that will help so many people in the future and am honored to be adding my research and experience to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network.

I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and went through a Bone Marrow Transplant within the past year. There was a lot to take in when I got sick and to think about, especially life. Being a landscape architecture student at the State University of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the topic of healing spaces from within a hospital setting was always on my mind. I went through chemotherapy rounds as the world around me was enjoying summer and the outdoors. All I wanted to do was to be outside when I wasn’t getting treatment.


Hearts in Nature, from Suz Lipman



Suz Lipman, author of the wonderful blog Slow Family and Social Media Director at the Children and Nature Network has come up with a beautiful Valentine’s Day post, “Hearts in Nature: A Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt.” Here are two images, but check out the post for many more!

Image from

Image from


Drs. Ulrich and Donovan: Health Benefits of Nearby Nature

Portland Memory Garden

Portland Memory Garden, Portland, OR. Photo by Patty Cassidy

Health Benefits of Nearby Nature
Drs. Roger S. Ulrich and Geoffrey Donovan
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 7 – 9 p.m.
Portland State University’s Hoffmann Hall
1833 SW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR

Many evidence-based researchers, Dr. Roger S. Ulrich among them, have found that purposefully-designed gardens in healthcare settings improve health outcomes for patients. But did you know that there is a quantifiable relationship between the presence of trees and public health? In his research, Dr. Geoffrey Donovan has found that to be the case. Both Ulrich and Donovan will talk on the Health Benefits of Nearby Nature, Thursday September 12 , 2013 at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

Ulrich has found that patients who view “representations” of nature can also find relief from stress and discomfort. For example, heart surgery patients at a Swedish hospital intensive care unit experienced reduced anxiety and less need for pain medication by looking at pictures depicting trees and water.  Over the years, Ulrich’s work has received many awards and has directly impacted the design of billions of dollars of hospital construction, and improved the health outcomes and safety of patients worldwide.  The Sweden-based professor and former director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University,  developed a Theory of Evidence-Based Design; his theory has become influential as a scientifically grounded guide for creating successful healthcare facilities. Ulrich will discuss his recent work involving the effects of single- versus multi-bed patient rooms on infection transmission; the negative impacts of hospital noise on patients and nurses; and how nature, gardens, and art can lessen pain, stress, and healthcare costs.

Ulrich’s co-presenter, Dr. Donovan, is a research forester with the USDA Forest Service who has quantified a wide range of urban-tree benefits. These have ranged from intuitive benefits— for example, reduced summertime cooling costs—to less intuitive benefits such as crime reduction. His recent findings on the relationship between trees and public health, for instance, show that mothers with trees near their homes are less likely to have underweight babies. He has also shown a connection between trees destroyed by invasive pests and a higher human death rate from  cardiovascular and lower-respiratory disease.

Register online for Health Benefits of Nearby Nature.

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.

“A Running, Hollering, Skipping, Playing Place,” guest blog post by Addie Hahn

Topiary at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, Portland, OR Photo by Max Sokol

In the following interview, Teresia Hazen answers questions by Addie Hahn, a writer who is also working towards her Child Life credential, about the Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, which won the American Horticultural Therapy Association Therapeutic Garden Award in 2000. Below are excerpts from the interview, and images of the garden by Max Sokol. To read the full interview, visit the Therapeutic Landscapes Network website.

Teresia Hazen, M.Ed., HTR, QMPH is the Coordinator of Therapeutic Gardens and Horticultural Therapy for Legacy Health System in Oregon.

“A Running, Hollering, Skipping, Playing Place: A Conversation with Teresia Hazen on the Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden.”

AH: Could you briefly describe the design process that led to the creation of the Emanuel Children’s Hospital garden?

TH: We did our design work in 1996. Then it was a three-stage process to develop all this, between 1997-99. Two major elements we wanted to address in this garden for kids and their siblings were a therapeutic focus and a restorative focus, or unstructured, independent time. To develop our list of therapeutic requirements, we needed to involve the clinicians. And in these meetings, we needed to hear about the dreams, the aspirations and the clinical goals of each team. We had Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Child Life, Spiritual Care, Managers, Horticultural Therapists and our Landscape Architect. All of those people had very specific goals and needs for the garden setting.

The second reason we have the garden is to provide a restorative setting for every patient, visitor and employee 24-7. So we had to be thinking about some of the elements that were needed for that. One of those turned into the 3-5 niche spots, or bump-out areas where a small group can gather to socialize, provide emotional support or grieve together.

Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden, Portland, OR Photo by Max Sokol

Benches provide a place for privacy and social support. Photo by Max Sokol

AH: What are a few of the ways the garden is used clinically now?

TH: Physical Therapists needed walking rails for adults and for children, as well as some inclines, because you have to learn to walk in settings like this first if you’re going to go back out in to community settings.

Speech and Language Therapists needed items that would lead and encourage children around the garden. So, having a curved pathway encourages them now to go, “What’s around that corner?” A dragonfly sculpture in a tree might be something to watch for and “tell us when you see it.” The dragonfly starts the communication task.

We needed places where kids could maneuver—inclines, declines and a variety of surfaces that they need to manage while working on mobility skills. Kids ride their trikes and scooters for therapy, and we even have a Seguay now that kids with vestibular disorders ride to work toward meeting their treatment goals.

Yellow Brick Road, Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

The "yellow brick road" pathway winds through the garden. Photo by Max Sokol

AH: What do you suggest for hospitals that may not have the funds to hire a Horticultural Therapist, or where staff may at first be resistant to the idea of bringing a professional on board? Are there ways a Child Life Therapist or other staff member could slowly introduce staff to the idea?

TH: Any therapist can add nature-based activities. They could say, “We’re going to integrate nature into our programming.” Anyone can do that. Integrate what you can manage. Consider a 12’ X 12 niche. Do only what you can maintain, and maintain with quality year-round. Therapeutic gardens need to be four season environments.

AH: Can you talk about what you believe is behind the growing interest in incorporating ‘healing gardens’ or smaller-scale, natural elements into hospitals and other healthcare environments?

TH: Programs everywhere are looking for cost-effective ways to help client therapeutic programs do their work most efficiently and effectively.  We’re all working leaner these days–a reflection of the economic setting. These gardens provide choices for all therapeutic programs to help patients connect in whatever ways they need to to aid rehabilitation and recovery and discharge as soon as possible. These gardens are a coping resource and if well designed, can assist patients in their treatment and recovery.

We can also provide that kind of care and honoring even to families that have a baby or a child who is in hospice. The clinical team has assisted parents in supporting the child’s death in the garden. Two nurses will come with the parents. Parents initiate this request and they want their child to experience the fresh air or the sunshine before they die.  Nature is a place of spirituality for many family groups.

Clematis and roses at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Clematis and roses at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital Garden. Photo by Max Sokol

Addie Hahn is a freelance writer who is also working on obtaining her Child Life certification. She lives in West Linn, Oregon and can be reached at

Max Sokol is a freelance photographer based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at

Many thanks to Addie, Max, and Teresia for this excellent post! To read the full interview, visit the Therapeutic Landscapes Network’s References page.

Upcoming talk by Topher Delaney: “Garden: An Act of Faith.”

Looks to be a good talk by garden artist Topher Delaney on Tuesday, May 4, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
This talk is NOT at Arnold Arboretum – it’s at Trinity Church.
Details below.

Here’s the blurb from the Arnold Arboretum’s newsletter:

“A garden is in essence the consequence of action. To make a garden is to invest in the future. The verb, ‘to garden,’ references physical action (and an) evocation of a faith in the future.” Artist’s statement

At the age of 39, Topher Delaney, a San Francisco-based artist and landscape designer, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ms. Delaney made a pact with God: If she survived, she vowed she would devote her practice to helping others heal. Over the past twenty-two years, Ms. Delaney has focused on creating designs of healing gardens for hospitals and sanctuaries. She believes “gardens are sanctuaries, hallowed places of personal retreat.” Topher Delaney’s projects explore cultural interpretations of landscape architecture, site installation, and public art. Her project sites range in scale from intimate to expansive, from private residences to medical facilities to corporate rooftop gardens and large-scale public art installations. Her gardens at the Marin Cancer Center and the San Diego Children’s Hospital demonstrate the palpably healing character of her creations. Learn more by visiting her website.

Fee $20 Arboretum and Trinity members, $25 nonmember

Tickets may be purchased in person or on the phone: 617-536-0944 X225. On-line tickets

This lecture takes place at Trinity Church, 206 Clarendon Street in Copley Square, Boston. Offered by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Trinity Church in the City of Boston.

Upcoming Talk (and a PBS show!) by Esther Sternberg

If you liked my interview with Esther Sternberg about her excellent book Healing Spaces: The Science and Place of Well-Being last month, here’s your chance to see and hear her in person:

Dr. Sternberg will be speaking at Trinity Church in Boston, MA on Sunday, November 8th. See details in the Arnold Arboretum press release below.

Sternberg is also going to be hosting the PBS show called “The Science of Healing.” It airs in Washington, D.C. on November 28th and will probably air repeatedly after that, so check your local stations for dates and times. More on her website,

Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being

Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., Chief of Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior and Director of the Integrative Neural Immune Program National Institute of Mental Health
1 Session
Sun Nov 8 2:00–3:30pm [Trinity Church]
Can a pleasant view speed healing? In this lecture, Dr. Esther Sternberg will present the science of mind-body connections and human perception as it relates to place. Using examples from her book, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, to explain the neurobiology of the senses, she will explore how a theme park, concert hall, cathedral, labyrinth, or garden can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace. Dr. Sternberg will provide clues to how and why we respond to our surroundings that could influence the places we create in the future.

Fee $10 members, $15 nonmembers
Register for this class online or by phone/mail.

Co-sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum and Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Dirtworks’ David Kamp on “Nature for Everyone” at NYBG

Image courtesy of Dirtworks, PC

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has a great lineup for their Landscape Design Portfolio series this fall.

On October 26th, David Kamp, Principal of Dirtworks, PC will lecture on “Nature for Everyone.” David will begin with an overview of the concept of creating restorative spaces and will then outline the collaborative approach used to incorporate nature, healing, and design. It will also explore specific site design issues unique to “special needs” populations. Several internationally recognized projects will be presented, notably the Elizabeth and Nona Evans Restorative Garden and the Keene State College Natural Sciences Courtyard. Dirtworks has been a long-standing member of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, listing their firm with our Designers and Consultants Directory.

The next talk, on November 2nd, is Walter Hood on “Sampling and Enmeshing the Urban Landscape.” I admire Walter’s work because not only are his designs aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating, they are also humanly functional; he has a knack for listening to the clients and the community he’s designing for. Walter recently won the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in the category of Landscape Design.

For 90 years, The New York Botanical Garden ( has been helping people achieve their horticultural education goals. Many students are career changers who come to the Garden from a variety of occupations including marketing, information technology, law, and medicine to explore horticulture job opportunities. The Garden offers 500 different courses each year comprising seven certificate programs.

All lectures are at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, New York, NY on October 26, 2009. For more information on The New York Botanical Garden, please visit or call 718-817-8700.

The image above is of the Natural Science Center Courtyard at Keene State College in Keene, NH