It was my first time facilitating a group for these supportive housing tenants and I had no idea whether or not they were interested in birds. Turns out that once asked, they were bursting to share their bird stories with me and their fellow tenants.
Concerned that you don’t know enough about your local birds to facilitate a therapeutic birding program? No worries. Enthusiasm and curiosity go much further than expertise when it comes to inspiring recreational nature engagement. Create space for your participants to share their stories and knowledge, and they will likely teach you a thing or three about your local birds.
Alberta Children's Hospital has several therapeutic gardens where Julie Billo leads popular gardening programs for patients. The kids grow sunflowers and veggies, and make potato salad and ice cream. Julie says, "The kids don't know they're getting therapy".
Leverage your time with these strategies, so that more people engage with your garden and experience nature's benefits. Create opportunities, get the word out, and involve people in a variety of ways. Which strategies will you add to your garden program?
You don’t need to be a gardener or naturalist to facilitate therapeutic garden and nature programs. A sense of curiosity and willingness to follow your participants’ lead are essential in offering these 8 simple, effective nature-based programs.
Signage seems to be a fairly undeveloped strategy for encouraging engagement in therapeutic gardens and school gardens. My theory is that more garden engagement generally means more therapeutic benefit.
This article was published in the winter edition of Growth Point, Thrive's newsletter.
Having an orchid to care for and call his own turned the daily struggle of showing up for outpatient psychiatric treatment into eager anticipation. This heartwarming story illustrates that bonding with a plant can be therapeutic, transforming a child’s attitude and behaviour and supporting his mental health.
As therapeutic activity leaders, our goal is to provide opportunities for people to feel more alive and to live more fully. I found there are more benefits to be had with less materials and more social interactions that encourage curiosity, story-telling and sensory engagement.