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Concurrent Sessions 1
October 20, 2023 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Session 1.1 (First Half)  |  Session 1.1 (Second Half)  |  Session 1.2  |  Session 1.3

Session 1.1 First Half (10:00–10:30 AM) | Reconnecting People to Nature With Social Media

Marcus discusses how stumbling into plant care & gardening began a new chapter in his wellness journey, and how sharing what he learned on social media inspired countless people to reconnect with nature. 

About the Speakers

Marcus Bridgewater

Marcus Bridgewater, widely known as Garden Marcus, is an author, wellness educator, motivational speaker, and creator. He is known for connecting his observations in his garden to personal growth & well-being, and he is the author of How to Grow: Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself (HarperOne, 2022). Marcus is also the founder of the How to Grow School, and has had his work featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and the Houston Chronicle.

Session 1.1 Second Half (10:30–11:00 AM) | Optimizing Black Adolescent Wellbeing Within Food Forests


Presenting Nutrition Garden Rx's, three-stage, food forest-based project supports Black adolescents living with high levels of trauma and/or diversabilities in personal transformation and bridge into vibrantly healthy lives.

About the Speakers

Deidre Schuetz

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 LLC (optimizing wellbeing with/for people and the planet; illuminatehn.com) and Nutrition Garden Rx nonprofit (optimizing urban gardens for health and climate benefits; nutritiongardenrx.org). Her academic credentials include Arts and Administration (MA), International Studies and Spanish (BAs), and certificates in Nonprofit Management (graduate-level), social innovation/entrepreneurship, climate and healthcare, mind-body wellness optimization, Massage Therapy (license), and HTR by 2023. She is trilingual (French, Spanish), and lived abroad for 6 years (West Africa 5 years).

Kenneth Powell-Wilson

For 30+ years, Kenneth has worked with at-risk youth as an advisor and life skills coach. For 15+ years, he has assisted/supervised students/adults experiencing developmental and educational diversabilities. He currently stabilizes/cares for patients experiencing behavioral health crises with integrated, multidisciplinary healthcare teams. He has extensive experience conducting/evaluating baseline assessments and facilitating learning/growth so that adolescents have access to essential resources to feel happy/successful. Kenneth has a long history of standing up for people in vulnerable situations and is passionate about exchanges about quality self-care, health, and wellbeing. His academic background includes Sociology, Psychology, Mental Health, Human Development, and Organizational Dynamics.

Session 1.2 | “What’s growing on…?” – Staff from The Hort shares about their growth through therapeutic horticulture and within the organization


In recent years, The Hort made a shift to include therapeutic horticulture in all our work. Staff from various departments share their steppingstones of professional growth, how therapeutic horticulture became an intentional aspect of their work, and their own experience with the benefits of therapeutic horticulture.

About the Speaker

Hilda Krus

Bio coming soon!

Session 1.3 | Green Hope: Gardening with Individuals with Special Needs. A Handbook for Master Gardeners


Economic realities, past, present and looking ahead to the future, have made it difficult to provide sustainable horticulture therapy programs for underserved populations. Volunteer Master Gardeners have long been overlooked as a valuable resource in providing therapeutic horticulture activities. Master Gardeners have frequently initiated projects without having an understanding of the principles of therapeutic horticulture not its difference from horticulture therapy. This creates challenges that hinder success. Looking ahead to the future, Master Gardeners can prove an effective resource if provided with training and resources. The Green Hope Handbook offers o framework to achieve this objective.

About the Speakers

Kathleen Wellington

Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia who spent 40+ years working in the behavioral health field in administrative and clinical positions. Prior to her retirement she served as V.P. of Clinical Service for a local non-profit. She also worked part time as a therapist specializing in anxiety and affective disorders.She has taken certificate courses in horticulture therapy and worked throughout her career developing, implementing, consulting and presenting on various horticulture therapy projects. Since retirement she has become certified Green Springs Extension Master Gardener and has completed studies in the field of Medicinal Herbalism.