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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI, Gardening for Good to host horticultural therapy workshops April 28-30

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 28, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension and Gardening for Good will host two horticultural therapy workshops designed to help show teachers, health care and social service professionals, youth group leaders and others how to use gardening activities as therapy for a variety of populations.

The first workshop, April 28 and 29, is geared to health care, human service and landscape professionals, while the April 30 session is appropriate for teachers, scout and 4-H leaders, Master Gardeners, garden club members and other volunteers. Both sessions run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island.

“Our quality of life, our existence is directly dependent on our relationship with plants,” said Mary Beth Miller, director of Gardening for Good, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources to ensure that people stay connected to gardening and nature as long as possible. “Plants feed our bodies and souls. Helping people therapeutically using horticultural activities with plants optimizes that connection for positive outcomes.”

Through hands-on experiences, the two-day workshop, “Introduction to Horticultural Therapy: Theory, Definition, Experience,” will teach participants the potential for horticultural therapy programs by providing an overview of how it is practiced. Included will be discussions of target populations, benefits, and basic techniques.

At the one-day program on April 30, “Working with People in Horticultural Therapy Programs,” participants will gain a better understanding of the populations served by horticultural therapy programs, learn techniques for communicating effectively with them, and become comfortable with working with them.

The instructor for the workshops will be Rebecca Haller, director of the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver, Col., who has practiced and taught horticultural therapy since 1978. She developed a horticultural therapy certificate program at the Denver Botanic Gardens and has served in many leadership roles with the American Horticultural Therapy Association.

Registration fee for the two-day workshop is $295 (or $275 if registered by April 8). Fee for the one-day session is $75 (or $65 if by April 8). Continuing education credits are available. For more information, contact Miller at mbmiller@gardening4good.org or 508-801-8473, or visit the Gardening for Good website at www.gardening4good.org to register online.