Future horticultural therapy leaders?

Check out the following video as well as a description of the H.E.A.L.T.H. (Healing Environments Ambassadors Learning Through Horticulture) program from a post on Instagram today by the Chicago Botanic Garden. This kind of program gives me hope about the direction that horticultural education, and horticultural therapy in particular, might increasingly take in the future.

From the CBG’s website:

“The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Healing Environments Ambassadors Learning Through Horticulture (HEALTH) internship launched in April 2019. The program connects high school students, their schools, and families to the health-promoting benefits of nature. Over the course of a spring-to-spring year, including an eight-week paid summer leadership intensive, students learned about therapeutic horticulture, videography, environmental stewardship, and landscape design. A new session starts in spring 2021.”

Right now, I’m knee-deep in Plant Science classes at another botanical garden and early in formal horticultural therapy (HT) training, although I’m already a healthcare professional. You know how I love food and edible gardens. In the best of all worlds, HT’s would partner with local community leaders so we have a program like this in every city (for those that don’t have one already).

Below, find just one of a handful of short documentaries made by the students that participated in H.E.A.L.T.H. I know the audio gets a little murky in places, but these kids are doing such good work and I’d be happy to support – and follow, their direction in the future.

What’s happening in YOUR community, especially with young people? How are your local Master Gardener associations or Horticultural Therapy programs serving the diverse needs of your community? What new partnerships are possible? I’d love to learn all about them. Please share in the comments below!

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