Thrive with Nature

lilac picket fence - thrive with nature

My name is Shelagh and I’m here to help you thrive with nature: to notice nearby nature while you go about your day; to enjoy the benefits for yourself; and to offer simple evidence-based activities to your patients and clients so they, too, can thrive with nature.

Engaging with nearby nature is on the threshold of becoming a well-established healthcare practice.

The research is coming fast and furious, but it can be a slow process to translate that research into practice in our daily lives and in caring for others. That’s where I can be useful.

As a horticultural therapist and educator, I can help you apply the latest research to enhance your own health, well-being and productivity, as well as that of your patients and clients. Read more about my qualifications at the end of this page.

I teach healthcare and social service providers:

1. to notice nearby nature in daily life for personal and professional self-care, and

2. to offer simple garden and nature programming for health promotion and therapeutic intervention.

Check out my free webinar, transformative online course, illustrated garden activity signs and instructive blog posts, all described below.

I hope you’ll find something here that’s useful for you.

Banfield Pavilion long-term care home garden patio

Free Webinar

Nature in the Workplace:
Professional Self-Care for Recreation Therapists
(and other Healthcare Providers)

Free Webinar with Shelagh Smith, HTR, MAEEC
Hosted by the BC Therapeutic Recreation Association
Pre-approved by NCTRC for 1 contact hour of education or .10 CEU

Live event was on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 12 noon PDT

Recording link is now available,
along with worksheet, resource list & CEU application
Sign up just below

 After watching the live webinar, Emma wrote to me:

“As always, lots to takeaway.

I did laugh when you mentioned that people underestimate the benefits of time spent in nature, because I think you underestimate the huge benefits your trainings provide (even for those of us who have heard it before).

Thanks again for keeping me sane and happy.”

Emma Rooney, Creativity Facilitator & Founder of Blooming Caravan

And Maura said:
Hello Shelagh: thank you for sharing all you have with the public! I am now your fan!
Maura Miller, PhD, ACHPN, Director, Hospice and Palliative Care, West Palm Beach VA Medical Center Hospice

To receive the webinar link:

CEUs for Recreation Therapists

You'll be granted a CEU attendance certificate after you provide beginning and end codes and reply to 3 questions based on the webinar content. This offer applies until August 7, 2020. 

Webinar Description

The leafy green world that we inhabit is so easy to take for granted, and yet research shows that if we pay attention to nearby nature, we feel better and function more effectively. Discover simple, enjoyable activities for noticing nearby nature that fit your work site, work schedule and your personal preferences. This evidence-based, professional self-care practice is quick and easy to implement. Best of all: you’re likely to feel the benefits right away!

You know that feeling of expansion, like there’s suddenly more room to breathe? It’s waiting for you, closer than you think!

You’ll learn how to notice nearby nature to:

  • immediately reduce fatigue,
  • increase your creativity and productivity, and
  • have more energy at the end of the work day.

    Here's what Jannick wrote to me:

    “I will create myself a little seasonal nature kit and have been gushing about the statistics to my fellow work colleagues! I even went to buy myself a new plant, a fluffy ruffle fern (eeek sooo pretty), for my desk that same evening.

    Thank you so very much for sending me this great resource document. I hope to motivate my coworkers to see the value of nature in our day to day work-life and the many benefits. I hope to be able to spread my passion and love of nature through the help of your document and by implementing some outdoor meetings, mindfulness walks and bringing in plants in offices.”

    Jannick Thériault, CTRS, Recreation Coordinator for Shannex, Riverview, New Brunswick

    my daily nature practice online course

    Online Course

    My Daily Nature Practice: Self-Care for Healthcare Providers

    Are you crazy busy caring for others? Need more self-care so you can continue to do what you’re good at? 

    Noticing nearby nature may be just the thing you need to enjoy your day, while increasing your energy, effectiveness and life satisfaction.

    Click here to go to the course page

    We tend to underestimate how much better we’ll feel when we focus our attention, however briefly, on the natural world around us: gazing at clouds, watching leaves dance in the breeze, or listening to birdsong.

    Yes, even the green and blue spaces of an urban environment.

    My interactive online course is designed for healthcare and social service providers. Join me in this 6-week guided experience to establish a pleasurable daily practice of noticing nearby nature for personal and professional self-care.

    The course includes a playful and profound mix of science, nature art, poetry, photos and quotes, as well as personal reflections and experiential activities. All designed to inspire, equip and empower you to transform the way you feel and function in your daily life.

    If you (like me) have the best of intentions, but need inspiration, encouragement and a few gentle nudges to care for yourself the way you deserve, you're not alone.

    The course starts on September 30, 2019. Registration is now open.

    Click here to go to the course page

    Here's what one of the beta students had to say:

    I usually do not take a break in the morning. It was a nice surprise - how refreshed and how much joy I feel by just pausing for a few minutes to do a simple nature-based activity in the middle of my morning. Also, a surprise for me to learn that a break does not have to be very long to be effective. Seems to give me energy for the day. Carol Shoji, British Columbia, Canada

    Undecided? Or not available to take the course now? Get on my email list to hear more:

    Garden Activity Signs

    Garden activity signs invite your garden visitors to independently engage with plants and listen for songbirds. They’ll know which flowers and herbs are worth smelling, and which plants need water more often. Invite them to sweep, harvest, and enjoy the garden’s delights.

    Click on links to see signs:

    Most popular set of signs: All 12 Signs with Stakes (17” tall!)

    Most inexpensive set of signs (and my favourite!): All 12 Plant Tags

    Most versatile set of signs: All 12 Attachable Signs

    Signs are also available individually or in sets of 6. Click here to choose.


    Shelagh's Blog

    My blog posts may be of interest if you’re a healthcare or social service provider, including recreation therapists and garden program leaders who wish to offer simple therapeutic garden and nature programming.

    Click on titles to read the most popular posts (or click here to see all posts):

    Hospital Garden Eases Nurse Burnout

    10 Signs to Engage your Garden Visitors

    Not an Expert Gardener? Eight Nature-Based Programs You Can Easily Facilitate

    Gardening with Kids at Alberta Children’s Hospital

    Noticing Nearby Nature: An Underestimated Mental Health Strategy

    About Shelagh

    Shelagh Smith, HTR, MAEEC

    Shelagh Smith, HTR, MAEEC, is a professional gardener, registered horticultural therapist and ecological educator. Shelagh is passionate about promoting health and well-being through daily engagement with nearby nature.

    For 23 years, Shelagh developed and led therapeutic garden programs for care home residents, while supervising and mentoring many students and volunteers. She taught people with mental health issues how to grow their own food, collaborated on the design of restorative and enabling gardens, and taught a certificate program for budding horticultural therapists.

    Currently, Shelagh inspires and teaches online in hopes of benefiting a wider audience with the evidence-based practice of engaging with nearby nature for health promotion and therapeutic intervention.

    She lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada and loves to travel on the back roads of British Columbia with her husband and their tiny Trillium trailer.

    Click here to contact Shelagh

    Nature in the Workplace as Professional Self-Care