Friday, October 17, 2014

American Horticultural Therapy Association Annual Conference 2014

Every year the American Horticultural Therapy Association hosts an amazing conference in North America.  This years event was at the Ace Hotel in Lafayette Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  Horticultural Therapy is the use of plants an plant related materials to improve the mind body and spirit.  It is utilized in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior living facilities, childrens programs, drug and alcohol programs, women's eating disorder programs, prisons, ARC facilities, mental health facilities, VA hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Alzheimer Units, Cardiac Units, Intensive care units, Vocational Rehab centers, special education schools and day programs, and so on.

Until we get insurance companies to reimburse us for our expertise, we will not have enough job opportunities for our young students graduating with degrees in horticultural therapy.

We had AHTA members and non members attending from 37 states and 9 different countries.  There were a multitude of speakers and the hardest decision is choosing who to listen to when there were concurrent sessions.  The key note speaker was Stephen Kellert, PhD of Yale.  George Ball the CEO of Burpee Seed Co spoke on Sunday.  Both men are brilliant and understand the value and necessity of Horticultural Therapy.

Yours truly spoke on Saturday.  The discussion was titled "How to start your own Horticultural Therapy Business."  The goal was to motivate others to create a career in Horticultural Therapy and a plan to achieve financial independence as well.  This was a lofty goal for just an hour presentation.  Luckily the session went very well and was well received.

It is always marvelous meeting your peers, learning from each other and making new friends as well.  Next year the conference will be in Portland Oregon at the exemplary of program Teresia Hazen of Legacy Healthcare.  Not to be missed!

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