Schedule | Sponsorship 


AHTA 2022 Annual Conference Schedule

September 9–10, 2022

Marriott Country Club Plaza 
Kansas City, Missouri

View Conference Program

Wednesday | September 7 - (Registration hours 4:00 - 8:00 PM)

Time Event
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

AHTA Board Meeting - Union Hill Room

Thursday | September 8 - (Registration hours 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM & 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM)

Time Event
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Pre-conference Offsite Tour (Bus will leave from the hotel at 8:00 a.m., and return by 4:00 p.m.)

#1 - Cornerstones of Care, Ozanam

Cornerstones of Care provides social services to children and families throughout Kansas and Missouri. The Ozanam campus in south Kansas City offers residential and day treatment programs. The horticultural therapy program provides educational, vocational, and therapeutic opportunities. In the greenhouse, students learn everything from plant propagation to hydroponics systems. On the campus, there is a half-acre of vegetable gardens, an orchard, and 13 raised beds of cut flower production.  The vegetables provide food to the culinary programs and campus kitchen. Flower bouquets are sold at local markets. During your tour at Ozanam, we will walk through the gardens and greenhouse, then participate in a horticultural therapy activity of making soil blocks.

#2 - KC Farm School at Gibbs Road

KC farm school at Gibbs Road is located in Kansas City, Kansas. Their mission is to bring individuals of all ages, ancestries, and abilities on-farm, hands-on, to connect to land and soil, food, community, and opportunity. At Gibbs Farm, a Horticultural Therapy group activity will be offered. Participants will utilize the abundant diverse plant life on the farm to aid in emotion identification.

(Farm fresh lunch provided)

Optional Tours:

Round out the end of your tour day with an optional, unstructured visit to the Kauffman Memorial Garden and the Gorman Discovery Center, located next to each other and just 1mi from the hotel. See descriptions below:

Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, Lush and diverse plant beds feature local and exotic botanicals, including some plant varieties not found elsewhere in the Midwest. Botany students often visit the nationally-known garden to explore its distinctiveness. Open 8 a.m. to dusk.

The Gorman Discovery Center offers eight acres of natural areas with short paved and natural trails through the forest, woodland, wetland, and prairie habitats. The area has demonstration beds showcasing how native plants can be used for home landscaping. Open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Internship Supervisor Workshop - Union Hill Room

Registration is open to Professionally Registered Horticultural Therapists who have been registered for a minimum of 1-year and are interested in supervising horticultural therapy interns.

This 6-hour course will be facilitated by Leigh Anne Starling, LCPC, CRC, HTR, and Gary Altman, CRC, CVE, HTR, and will cover:

  • Enhancing and/or increasing your role as an intern supervisor
  • Providing an effective and rewarding supervision experience for the intern
  • Facilitating the goals and project requirements of an internship
  • Clinical and professional responsibilities of the supervisor
  • Ethical challenges of supervision and the AHTA Code of Ethics

Workshop content includes informational handouts about effective supervision, supervision strategies, case study examples, and the opportunity for group discussion.  Pre-registration is required, and your fee will cover handouts, supervisor’s manual, lunch, and costs related to hosting this event. A certificate of attendance will be issued upon completion.

For questions, please call AHTA Headquarters at (206) 209-5296

You must be an HTR to attend this workshop.

5:30 – 6:30 PM

Birds of a Feather Reception - Hotel Lobby Bar


Friday | September 9 - (Registration hours 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM)

Time Event
7:30 – 8:30 AM Breakfast 

7:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Silent Auction - Grand Ballroom EFG

Exhibitors - Grand Ballroom Foyer

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM




Opening Remarks and Announcements - Grand Ballroom ABCD

Keynote Speaker - Abra Lee - "The Influencers"

Black Americans have long created their own cultural blueprint for how gardens and nature can be used as a means of remembrance, inspiration, and creativity. In this conversation, we will journey back in time to discuss historic legacies and give insight into some extraordinary people and the plants they used to bring joy into their lives.    

10:00 – 10:15 AM


10:15 – 11:15 AM Breakout Sessions

From Concept to Completion: The Journey of a Research Study in Therapeutic Horticulture 
Leah Diehl, Siang Yu Tham
- Rockhill Room

This session will track the progress of a therapeutic horticulture research study from the development of the idea, through the curriculum and protocol, to the analysis of the data.

1) Identify the phases of a research project, including the IRB process, and understand the purpose and contribution of each

2) Characterize the relationships of funding to research and research to funding 3) Understand lessons learned and best practices developed in ensuring high-quality data collection

Elizabeth (Leah) Diehl, RLA, HTM is Director of Therapeutic Horticulture at Wilmot Botanical Gardens and Lecturer in Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida (UF). She is a licensed landscape architect, a master gardener, and a professionally registered horticultural therapist. She manages and teaches an undergraduate certificate program in horticultural therapy at UF, manages research, and runs therapeutic horticulture programming for diverse populations, where she coordinates clients, volunteers, and students. The newest research project is on a structured therapeutic horticulture program for university students with stress, anxiety, and depression in partnership with the Counseling and Wellness Center at UF. Leah began her work in horticultural therapy in Chicago in 1993, and has given lectures, workshops, and trainings on horticultural therapy, healing gardens, and related topics to many groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Siang Yu Tham, MA, is a research scholar from Singapore and is now an instructor in the Environmental Horticulture department at the University of Florida and Therapeutic Horticulture Program Manager at Wilmot Botanical Gardens. She received her Undergraduate Certificate in Horticultural Therapy from the University of Florida and is also a Certified Permaculture Designer. Siang has been providing workshops in farming and gardening since 2015 and began facilitating therapeutic horticulture programs in 2017. She currently leads a weekly therapeutic horticulture program at the UF Psychiatric Hospital.

Healing Community with Gardening in Chicago
Brendan Yukins 
- Roanoke Room

Chicago has experienced widespread sociopolitical trauma in the past three years, including police brutality, gun violence, and the opioid crisis. Community gardens provide invaluable holding space for neighbors to heal.

1) Participants will examine current sociopolitical traumas through the lens of Chase Park Community Garden

2) Participants will learn how community gardens serve as a treatment plan for communities enduring violence

3) Participants will apply Adlerian theory of Social Interest to address current sociopolitical traumas to future community garden design

Brendan Yukins began as a Special Education teacher in Chicago Public Schools. After seeing the effects of sexual and domestic violence on his students, he switched to rape crisis work for three years before returning to Loyola University for his Masters in Social Work. He is currently on staff at The Expansive Group, an LGBTQIA+ private practice in Chicago, specializing in sexual trauma, intimate partner violence, and queer identities. He and his husband are the Co-Presidents of Chase Park Community Garden in the Uptown/Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.

11:15 – 11:30 AM


11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Annual Business Meeting  - Grand Ballroom ABCD
12:15  – 1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 – 1:30 PM Break
1:30 – 2:30 PM

Breakout Sessions

Morgan's Garden: Weaving in Neural Diversity with Design
Virginia Burt, Emily Thorpe
- Rockhill Room

Dedicated to adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Morgan’s Garden at Monarch School furthers pre-vocational training with urban agriculture, social interaction and sensory integration promoting cognitive stimulation and physical development.

1) Apply specific ASD responsive Therapeutic Garden Design Guidelines

2) Visualize how the physical design of the spaces supports this specific population and can be applied

3) Gain expanded knowledge of the links between landscapes and mental health

Since founding Virginia Burt Designs (VBD) in 1996, Virginia has designed and directed healing landscapes for private residential, educational and public clients. VBD has established a reputation for creating gardens and landscapes of meaning. Virginia’s work has achieved international recognition receiving multiple awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Palladioand Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. She is one of seven women in the world with Fellowships from both societies for outstanding contribution to the profession. Clients appreciate and value her deep respect for place and for the human dimensions of each project. Virginia gets things built – beautifully.

Emily was born in Burlington, Ontario and raised as a 5th generation vegetable farmer. Questioningconventional methods of farming and dichotomies between urban and rural, consumption andproduction, Emily completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Design Studies andMaster of Architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Emily distinctly exploresand researches agricultural self-sufficiency and critical care for the earth through farming andbuilding practices at individual, community, and global scales. Currently, Emily is completing herinternship in landscape architecture which reaffirms her origins as in, of, and for, the Earth.

Horticultural Therapy and Nutrition: The Connection
Carrie Sacco, Judi Sacco - Roanoke Room

Opportunity to explore through discussion the links between horticultural therapy and nutrition for people with mental health disorders, and means of connecting horticultural therapists with mental health facilities.

1) Identify the importance of nutrition in promoting mental health

2) Identify the benefits of horticultural therapy and how it can work to promote healthful nutrition

3) Identify areas whereby horticultural therapists can work to improve the well-being of those with mental illness

Carrie Sacco, RN, MI certified, FNC is the founder of Inspiring Nutritional Choices. She has worked for decades in the field of mental health. Co-wrote monthly articles for the span of one year published in The Berkshire Eagle. She also has had articles published in Psychiatric Services. She has a keen interest in the combined role of nutrition and horticulture and their therapeutic value in enhancing mental health and wellbeing.

Judi Sacco, Operations Manager of Inspiring Nutritional Choices focusing on processes and systems running efficiently and effectively. I have 30 years’ experience in operations and management working with small companies and startups and began my career in IT. My long-term goal is to do the work necessary to incorporate a culture of healthful nutrition in organizations and residential settings starting from the top down. I love my special daughter and am so aware of her struggles in life, especially when it comes to making decisions of food choices that will provide her with positive outcomes in health and wellbeing.

Healthy Bones Matter in the Garden
Melissa Bierman, Jill Hansen - Union Hill Room

Along with a healthy diet, adaptive gardening, and exercise, you can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis through gardening. Learn about how to help your bones stay as strong as possible through therapeutic horticulture daily and weekly interventions.

1) Horticultural Therapy in the Outpatient Care setting - Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

2) Supporting healthy ageing requires a long-term, whole-of-society approach

3) Interdisciplinary approach with MD, PT, PharmD, Dietician, HTR

Melissa manages two ambulatory care clinics in Portland, Oregon. Melissa has her Master's in Healthcare Administration from OHSU in Portland. She teaches the Portland Community College 6 core classes for Horticultural therapy registration. Melissa has expertise in change management, behavioral health, and gardening for wellness.

Dr. Jill R. Hansen is an internist in Portland, Oregon and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center. She received her medical degree from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and has been in practice between 11-20 years.

2:30 – 2:45 PM


2:45 – 4:15 PM   


"I just want to be in the garden!" 
Hilda Krus, Nick Guntli - Rockhill Room

We will share an example of internal and external growth of our organization and together discuss how each of us can respond to the heightened need for people plant connections.

1) Offer an example for drastic change, both internally and externally, of an organization during the pandemic.

2) Participants will have had a lively exchange about how the heightened public awareness of people-plant relationships affects us in our profession and what opportunities this offers

3) Participants will take away concrete ideas to keep this momentum going

Hilda Mechthild Krus is the Director of Horticultural Therapy with the Horticultural Society of New York. She oversees the GreenHouse Program on Rikers Island Correctional Facility, as well as therapeutic horticulture programming in over 30 supportive housing facilities accross the NYC and at the organization‘s education center at Riverbank State Park. On Rikers, Hilda and her team provide women, men and young adults who are incarcerated with horticultural therapy, class room horticultural training and applied education as well as year-round hands-on experience in horticulture. Hilda trains and supervises Horticultural Therapy students, as well as Interns from related fields. Hilda is a registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR) and Social Worker (MSW, University of Essen, Germany). She has served on the board of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) and gives presentations at local, national and international HT conferences. In 2012, Hilda received AHTA’s Rhea McCandliss Professional Service Award, and in 2017 the GreenHouse Program received the “Program Excellence Award” from the Mid Atlantic Horticultural Therapy Network. Hilda teaches “Therapeutic Horticulture for Mental Health” at the NYBG. Hilda is a life long gardener and hear earliest memories take her back to being in her parents‘ garden. 


Nick is the Senior Director of Horticulture at The Horticultural Society of New York(The Hort). He has a BS from the University of Missouri in Plant Sciences and an MBA from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business with an emphasis on Sustainable Business. In his tenure at the Hort, he has helped to grow the Hort’s impact across NYC through the expansion of its workforce training program, therapeutic horticulture workshops and the number of greenspaces the Hort beautifies across the city.  Nick has worked in many different facets of the green industry, including nurseries, landscaping and public gardens.

Building a Professional Portfolio to Build Your Career
Diane Relf - Roanoke Room

This workshop will provide the participants with tools to clearly and succinctly develop their own answer to the questions "Why should I hire you? "

1) Discuss how to turn student projects into professional accomplishment

2) Package activities into marketable signs of professional growth

3) Explain the difference in a resume, a CV and a portfolio and the role each plays in career advancement.

Paula Diane Relf received her PhD in Horticulture from the University of Maryland in 1976 where she pioneered studies in Horticultural Therapy. She was a Professor and Extension Specialist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University from 1976 to 2003 and Professor Emeritus to the present. In 1973 she was instrumental in the founding of what is now the American Horticultural Therapy Association. and served as president from 1975 to 1979. From 1989 to 2003, she chaired what is now the International People-Plant Council. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences in August 2002 and one of the top 100 ASHS members of the late 20th century for contributions to growth and change in horticulture in 2001. She received the American Horticultural Society’s National Horticultural Therapy Award, 2000; the National Council for Therapy and Rehabilitation through Horticulture (now AHTA) presented her with their Award for Professional Service (1984) and the Award for Outstanding Service to Horticultural Therapy (1979)and Founder Award 2006

Nature vs Nurture: The Intersection of Horticultural Therapy and Nature Therapy
Leigh Anne Starling - Union Hill Room

Horticultural therapy is frequently referred to as a nature-based therapy. While both intersect, research and practice demonstrate there are distinct differences in the process and application of each intervention.

1) At the end of this session, participants will be able to identify the commonalities and differences between nature therapy and horticultural therapy.

2) At the end of this session, participants will have a basic understanding of the research in support of both interventions.

3) At the end of the session, participants will be equipped to appropriately apply horticulture interventions in the context of nature-based therapy.

Leigh Anne Starling, LCPC, CRC, CNIT, HTR is a registered horticultural therapist, certified rehabilitation counselor, licensed professional counselor, and a certified nature-informed therapist. Leigh Anne has worked in the field of horticultural therapy for over 30 years in therapeutic, rehabilitative, and vocational programs serving individuals of all ages and abilities. She has designed and implemented several adaptive gardens for health care facilities. Leigh Anne currently incorporates horticultural therapy into her practice. She served on the AHTA Board of Directors for 14 years, supervises horticultural therapy interns, and mentors horticultural therapy intern supervisors.

5:00 – 5:30 PM

Poster Presentations - Plaza Terrace

Promoting Horticultural Therapy to Cope with Chronic Pain
Rachael Incorvaia

An overview of the uses and effectiveness of utilizing horticultural therapy to reduce symptoms and side effects of individuals with chronic pain.

1) Participants will learn the high population of individuals with chronic pain.

2) Participants will learn the challenges individuals with chronic pain face.

3) Participants will learn how HT can help ease the challenges/barriers individuals with chronic pain face.

Rachael Incorvaia, HTR is a graduate of Rutgers University with concentrations in Agriculture and Medicinal Botany. She is currently teaching horticulture at a vocational school for children with developmental disabilities.

Horticultural Therapy for Chronic Pain
Amanda Feneis

Horticultural therapy's benefits can be seen more prevalently when utilized within a very broad range population. Many people with many different disorders, illnesses, and disabilities suffer with chronic pain because it is a common symptom among these various disorders and illnesses.

1) Learn horticultural therapy strategies for working with clients with chronic pain

2) Understand diversity issues and prevalence or incidence of chronic pain

3) Understand barriers and develop rehabilitation interventions

Amanda Feneis is a professionally registered horticultural therapist. Amanda has her BA in psychology and completed the Horticultural therapy certificate program at Rutgers. She completed her horticultural therapy internship at Rutgers University Green Industry Vocational skills training program and Princeton behavioral health. Amanda is the Horticultural Therapy Manager for The Horticultural Society of New York.

A Diabetes, Social, Ecological and Economic Solution by Nutrition Garden RX
Deidre Scheutz

This diabetes solution by Nutrition Garden Rx also addresses multiple social, ecological, and economic challenges. This session shares learnings from our pilot and invites collaboration/exchanges to similarly empower local communities.

1) Learnings from this multicultural, multisector, and multidisciplinary collaboration (with an invitation to collaborate moving forward)

2) Designing for cultural, social, ecological, and economic solutions (with an invitation to collaborate moving forward)

3) Scalable, garden-and community-based diabetes solution (with an invitation to collaborate moving forward)

A self-employed wellness consultant/coach (20+ years), Deidre facilitates cross-cultural, sustainable, local to global solutions and works in integrated healthcare environments. She formed Illuminate HumaNature (facilitating wellbeing with/for people and the planet; and Nutrition Garden Rx nonprofit (urban gardens optimized for health and climate benefits; Her academic credentials include Arts and Administration (MA), International Studies and Spanish (BAs), and certificates in Nonprofit Management, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, climate and healthcare, mind-body wellness optimization, Massage Therapy (license), and HTR by 2022. She is trilingual (French, Spanish), and lived abroad for 6 years (West Africa 5 years).

5:30 – 6:30 PM Social Reception - Plaza Terrace
7:00 – 9:00 PM Awards Dinner - Grand Ballroom ABCD


Saturday | September 10 - (Registration hours 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM)

Time Event
7:30 – 8:30 AM Breakfast

7:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Silent Auction - Grand Ballroom EFG

7:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Exhibitors - Grand Ballroom Foyer

8:30 AM – 9:45 AM




Introductions and Announcements - Grand Ballroom ABCD

Plenary Speaker - Ashley Williamson - “Healing by way of Community Orcharding – Stories from the Field”

Community Gardening has been around for centuries – equipping individuals and families with a means to grow their own food while providing therapeutic benefits of working with plants in a peaceful garden environment. The Giving Grove has extended the community gardening construct to include fruits, berries, and nuts. In the nine years since the organization’s launch, each little orchard tells its own little story. 

9:45 – 10:00 AM


10:00 – 11:00 AM Breakout Sessions

How Can Research Help Us Reimagine and Revitalize Horticultural Therapy?
Candice Shoemaker
- Rockhill Room

This session will provide resources on how to find and access research findings, and how to critically consider the findings to inform your practice and promote the profession of HT.

1) Summarize the current state of research in HT (understanding and remembering)

2) Use online search tools to find HT/TH research (performance skill)

3) Judge research findings for their use in HT/TH practice (practical thinking)

Dr. Candice Shoemaker has a long and distinguished career in teaching and research in horticultural therapy and urban food systems at Kansas State University. Her research program investigates the physical and psychological health benefits of gardening, focusing on children and older adults, and the community benefits of urban agriculture. Dr. Shoemaker has more than 40 publications in scientific journals, proceedings, and books and has presented her work around the world. Dr. Shoemaker has received numerous awards throughout her career including the Charles A. Lewis Excellence in Research Award, the AHTA Publication Award, and the AHTA Association Alice Burlingame Humanitarian Service Award.

Growing Hope in Loss and Grief: Horticultural Therapy for Life and Death Education in Older Adults with Intellectual Disability
Nicolson Yat-Fan Siu
- Roanoke Room

As there is an increasing number of individuals with intellectual disability who survive into old age, the present study implemented horticultural therapy as a means for death education for them.

1) Design HT protocol for life and death education

2) Conduct HT programs for reducing death anxiety and improving quality of life

3) Master to conduct randomized controlled study to assess HT effectiveness

Nicolson is a Lecturer from the Division of Social Science of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a registered horticultural therapist at Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture.

Horticultural Therapy Across Continents
Matthew Wichrowski
- Union Hill Room

This presentation describes an HT education program for psychotherapists working with refugees in Iraq. Background in trauma-informed practice and description of training program are discussed.

1) Gain an understanding of trauma-informed practice

2) Gain an understanding of ways HT benefits refugees and the displaced

3) Ways a healing garden can complement psychotherapy work with refugees

Matthew J. Wichrowski MSW, HTR has been practicing horticultural therapy at Rusk Rehabilitation NYU-Langone Medical Center for almost 30 years and is currently Clinical Associate Professor. He teaches in the Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program at New York Botanical Garden, presents regularly at national and international conferences, and has won many awards for his work. Matt is also Editor-in-Chief of the AHTA’s Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. His research interests center around the effects of nature on human health and wellness and his work has been published in a variety of media.

11:00 – 11:15 AM


11:15 AM – 12:15 PM General Session: Charles Lewis Award Presentation - Grand Ballroom ABCD
12:15  – 1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 – 1:30 PM Break/ Silent Auction Closes
1:30 – 2:30 PM

Breakout Sessions

Exploring Community-Based Rehabilitation and Horticultural Therapy
Derrick Stowell - Rockhill Room

This session will discuss a needs assessment on the integration of horticultural therapy programming into Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) conducted for the Guyana CBR and the Caribbean CBR Network.

1) By the end of the session participants will be able to describe the components of Community-Based Rehabilitation.

2) By the end of the session participants will be able to discuss the Caribbean CBR Network and the results of a needs assessment conducted in 2021.

3) By the end of the session participants will be able to discuss the connection between horticultural therapy and Community-Based Rehabilitation.

Dr. Stowell is the Education & Horticultural Therapy Program Administrator for the UT Gardens. Dr. Stowell received the 2022 Horticultural Therapy Award from the American Horticultural Society.

Engaging the Active Duty Military
Donna Hunt
- Roanoke Room

This session offers ideas to bring HT to military installations. The active duty population has unique opportunities and unique limitations not found in civilian populations.

1) Understand the basic "chain of command" to get started in introducing HT to a military installation

2) Understand what it is like to be active duty military or dependent (family)

3) Narrowing what type of HT would be appropriate for you

Donna Hunt is a Former Air Force Officer, 2021 Master Gardener of the Year, and Coordinator of the Hope Gardens Robins AFB Ga.

Horticultural Therapy Job Task Analysis
Lana Dreyfuss - Union Hill Room

This presentation will cover the recent 2022 job task analysis of horticultural therapists that AHTA and PTC facilitated. Topics to be included: History of AHTA  job task analysis, best practices, standards of the profession, and implications of the job task analysis findings

Lana is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, and Horticultural Therapist Registered since 2004. Lana's holistic healing modalities are inclusive of horticultural therapy.

2:30 – 2:45 PM


2:45 – 3:45 PM   

Breakout Sessions

Horticultural Therapy with Justice-Involved Veterans: A Mixed-Methods Study
Sarah Anne Himmelheber, Kimberly Borges - Rockhill Room

This session explores outcomes from an eight-week HT program with justice-involved veterans. The mixed-methods study included evaluation of salivary samples for changes in cortisol and alpha-amylase and qualitative interviews.

1) Participants will gain an understanding of mixed-methods study design to evaluate horticultural therapy interventions.

2) Participants will better understand how to involve multiple disciplines and undergraduate students in HT research.

3) Participants will be able to think critically about stress reduction versus HT's capacity for generating insight.

Sarah A. Himmelheber, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D. is a social work professor and field director at Warren Wilson College. Dr. Himmelheber’s research interests include community-engaged pedagogies, expressive and non-traditional therapeutic modalities, community food security, and mindfulness applications in social work practice and education. Her practice background includes community-based mental health, homeless services, and food justice activism. Dr. Himmelheber earned her Ph.D. and MSW from the University of Georgia and her BS from New College of Florida.

Kim Borges is a biochemist and pre-health program advisor at Warren Wilson College. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Rochester Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College. She teaches life science students who are interested in human health science, and she enjoys helping students explore the intersections of nature, chemistry, and health. Her research investigates the biochemistry of natural products. Currently, she works with undergraduates to investigate the medicinal and artisanal properties of herbal products grown at the College forest and farm.

Current Research on Farm and Garden-based Strategies for Addressing Trauma
Michelle Hand - Roanoke Room

A systematic scoping review was conducted to explore current research on farm and garden-based interventions for trauma, particularly among at-risk populations. Implications for practice, research, and policy will be discussed.

1) At the end of this session, participants will be able to articulate current trauma-informed farm and garden-based interventions for addressing posttraumatic stress and how this relates to our current COVID-19 pandemic context.

2) Participants will be able to explain how specific farm and garden-based approaches can be used to attend to the needs of at-risk populations.

3) Participants will be able to incorporate and share current recommendations for practice, policy, and research

Dr. Michelle D. Hand is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at George Mason University. She studies holistic empowerment-building strategies to address trauma among at-risk populations across the life course (e.g., through exploring the causes and impacts of trauma along with garden and farm-based approaches to promote healing, informed by extensive interdisciplinary clinical and research-based experience. Her work has been published in premier scholarly journals and books, and has been presented at several national and international conferences, including at Harvard Law School’s "Just Food?" Forum. She welcomes transdisciplinary collaboration, to collectively develop horticulture-based resources for sustainable recovery from trauma.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Horticultural Therapy: A Conceptual Framework of Practice for Improved Vocational Outcomes
Gary Altman, Rachael Incorvaia, Amanda Feneis
- Union Hill Room

This session will provide an overview and framework of how the practice of horticultural therapy can be adapted for use in green industry vocational skills training. Using the evidenced-based practices of individualized placement and support and support employment as a framework, new roles, skills, and competencies for horticultural therapists will be described.

1) Attendees will be able to describe VR EBPs and know where to obtain practice manuals

2) Attendees will be able to describe new roles for HTRs and the significance of the HTR in green industry vocational skills training

3) Attendees will gain a brief understanding of the role of assessment, vocational goal setting, targeted skills training, labor market research, and case conceptualization.

Mr. Gary Altman is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist, and Registered Horticultural Therapist. He is a Teaching Instructor in the Rutgers University Department of Plant Biology and Associate Director of the Horticultural Therapy program at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, with responsibilities in teaching and providing supervised internship experiences to students in the Horticultural Therapy Certificate program and the Horticultural Therapy Minor Program. Mr. Altman also serves as an executive committee member of the board of directors for the American Horticultural Therapy Association. Gary is a Ph.D. Student in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Counselor Education and Supervision Track program in the Rutgers University Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions where he is working to develop evidenced-based rehabilitative practices for people-plant interactions and horticultural therapy. Mr. Altman also facilitates a green industry vocational skills training and supported employment program for individuals with disabilities on the Rutgers University Cook Campus in New Brunswick, NJ.

Rachael Incorvaia is a graduate of Rutgers University with concentrations in Agriculture and Medicinal Botany. Rachael completed the Rutgers University Horticultural Therapy Green Industry Vocational Skills Training Internship and she is currently teaching horticulture at a vocational school for children with developmental disabilities.

Amanda Feneis is a professionally registered horticultural therapist. She is a graduate of Rutgers University where she studied psychology and completed the horticultural therapy certificate program. Amanda completed her internship at the Rutgers Horticultural Therapy Green Industry Vocational Skills Training Program and Penn Medicine Princeton Behavioral Health Hospital internship sites.

3:45 – 4:30 PM Conference Closing Remarks - Grand Ballroom ABCD