Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association

Breakout Sessions             March 8, 2019

Session 1       10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

  1. Artful Pressed Botanicals
  2. Getting to the Root of Horticultural Therapy
  3. Therapeutic Horticulture with Young Children
  4. Documentation: Assessment, Goals, Progress and Evaluation
  5. Grant Writing 101

Session 2        11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  1. Artful Pressed Botanicals (repeated)
  2. Getting to the Root of Horticultural Therapy (repeated)
  3. HT Start Up: Who, What, When, Where & How!
  4. Horticultural Therapy Across a Spectrum (autism)
  5. Horticultural Therapy and Older Adults

Session 1

Artful Pressed Botanicals                     Sarah Sieradzki OTR/L, HTR and Cynthia Hasko

Pressed botanical projects are an easy and low cost way to extend the horticultural therapy season for those of us without a greenhouse. In this session, participants will complete 3 take home projects while learning the best methods of pressing various botanicals. Instructions for a dozen diverse projects will be shared as well as potential participant benefits.

Sarah G. Sieradzki, OTR/L, HTR
Sarah recently retired from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, where she was a Clinical Specialist in mental health occupational therapy, working with adults of all ages for 21 years. Sarah has been an occupational therapist for over 40 years and has specialized in behavioral health for the past 28 years. Sarah is a graduate of the Horticultural Therapy Institute and is a registered horticultural therapist (HTR) and a certified dementia practitioner.

Cynthia Hasko 
Cindy has experience working with older adults in a variety of healthcare settings. She is an active gardener, artist, painter, and mixed media artist. She has taught a variety of creative, artistic, and horticultural topics to community-based and educational groups and enjoys sharing the beauty of her work with others.

Getting to the Root of Horticultural Therapy                                         Cathy Flinton, HTR

Join this session for an introduction to the basics of horticultural therapy. Participants will learn the benefits of horticultural therapy, how it is applied with persons with many types of abilities/disabilities and common goals and objectives. Information will be shared on HT activities, books, plants and resources. Each participant will receive a plant to take back to their programs.

Cathy Flinton has been employed for over 20 years with Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation in East Lansing, working with patients with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury in a greenhouse and outdoor garden setting. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture / horticultural therapy from Michigan State University and was granted Horticultural Therapist Registered (HTR) from the American Horticultural Therapy Association in 1996. Cathy is currently a board member and conference coordinator of the Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association.

Therapeutic Horticulture with Young Children:                                     Kay Knight, HTR
Making the greatest impact, even as an independent contractor

Helping children build a relationship with nature is crucial for their physical, cognitive, and emotional development. However, with class sizes averaging over 25 students, facilitating therapeutic horticulture with children can seem intimidating and expensive. This presentation will help HTs plan for unexpected numbers, gather best practices for working with children, discuss where to host these experiences (and who to partner with!) and leave with 5 budget-friendly activities that children love.

Kay Knight, HTR, is a coordinator of Horticultural Therapy Services at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where her favorite sessions to facilitate are with Chicago Public Schools. She also co-piloted an inclusive education program with the Garden’s Nature Preschool during the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to the Garden, Kay was teaching at Little Green Tree House, an eco-friendly child-care center in Chicago, where she wrote and taught environmental- and nature-based curriculum for ages 6 weeks to 4 years and coordinated the rooftop garden and composting program. Kay has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science, a certificate in sustainable agroecology, a certificate in horticultural therapy, and is professionally registered with AHTA.

Documentation: Assessment, Goals, Progress, Evaluation

                                                                                              Barb Kreski, HTR, M.H.S, OTR/L

You do good work---now put it in writing! Learn how to make your documentation align with that of other professionals. Examples of useful assessment tools, data collection forms, client-oriented and objective goals, evaluation of progress and progress notes will be provided.

Barb Kreski retired from her position as director of horticultural therapy services at Chicago Botanical Garden at the end of 2018 after serving there nearly nine years. She is currently working independently as an educator, consultant, and subject matter expert. She is a member of the advisory board for Gardens for Heroes and is on the steering committee for the Nature Culture and Human Health consortium. Barb has participated in the Veterans Working Group of the Commercial Club of Chicago since its inception. She is excited to begin the next chapter of her career.


Grant Writing 101                                                                                         Steven Assarian

You can write any grant; no one, however, can write every grant. With that in mind, how can we maximize our chances of success? What are the local resources available to save us time and money? And, most importantly, how can we use grant-seeking to build a bright future for our organizations? Join Steven Assarian, Business Librarian and Foundation Center Online Certified Trainer, for an informative session on the grant writing process. You'll learn answers to all these questions and more!

Steven Assarian is a librarian and writer. As the Business Librarian of the Grand Rapids Public Library, he works in the areas of career development, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit grant-seeking. He is a certified Foundation Directory Online trainer.




Session 2


Artful Pressed Botanicals (repeated, same as session 1)

Getting to the Root of Horticultural Therapy (repeated, same as Session 1)

HT Start Up: Who, What, When, Where and How! Angie Girdham, HTR & Mary Machon, BS


Angie Girdham, HTR and Mary Machon will discuss how they both took their passion for HT and found ways to create paid positions. Angie will give critical information on contracting and the legal information you should know when working with organizations as an outside contractor. She will also share her experiences in developing and growing an HT program outside of her day job which started in 2018.  Mary will give information on finding HT clients in your community:  key contacts, types of organizations and even businesses that may be receptive to HT and how to get your foot in the door.  She will also share her experiences working with organizations and businesses in the Toledo area and how they have developed over the last 5 years.

Mary Machon is the owner of Bensell greenhouse in Toledo, OH for 11 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse and received a master’s certificate in horticultural therapy from Kansas State University in 2013. Mary has worked with many local organizations including the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Arc of Ohio (a statewide membership association made of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, interested citizens, and professionals in the disabilities field), the Victory Center (for cancer patients and their families), and many private clients. She is currently working with The Arc of Ohio and Bittersweet Farms designing and installing a Sensory Walk for their clients to use throughout the year.

Angie Girdham has worked in the "green" industry for over 25 years. Currently as the campus horticulturalist for Hillsdale College. She has her Bachelors degree in ornamental horticulture, a certificate in greenhouse growing, ISA tree risk assessment qualification, and is a certified green industry professional. Angie completed her horticultural therapy certificate with HTI in 2010 and was registered as a HTR with AHTA shortly after. She has had several independently contracted HT programs since then, specializing in youth at risk and young adults.


Horticulture Therapy Across a Spectrum                                       Anne S. Brand, MA HTC


Individuals with autism present unique challenges when planning and implementing a Horticulture Therapy program. Because of the wide array of ways in which autism manifests itself within a person, there cannot be one clear structure for a program. Anne will discuss what she has learned in her 6 years working with adults who are profoundly impacted by their Autism. She has developed both indoor and outdoor programs with a strong vocational component as part of a life enrichment day program. Anne will share what she has learned with how to combat negative group dynamics, and how to make the program valuable for all abilities through understanding the individual and not the diagnoses.  Additionally, she will outline some of her favorite go-to jobs, plants, and tools that help everyone be successful! 

Anne Brand is the Barn and Garden Manager at Benjamin's Hope. Benjamin's Hope is a Live, Work, Play, Worship model for individuals and their families impacted by developmental disabilities. She has a Masters in zoology where she focused on conservation education and recently completed her certificate in Horticulture Therapy. She has developed the programing at Benjamin's Hope in both the outdoor and indoor gardens as well as the animal based programing. She has worked with adults with ASD and related behavioral disorders in both direct care and programing environments.


Horticultural Therapy and Older Adults              Debbie Albert, BA and Betsy Brown, HTR

Join this session to understand and embrace specific challenges our vintage participants bring to horticultural therapy groups.  Debbie Albert will share information on general ageing issues, adaptations, helpful skills, and projects for the older adult population.  Betsy Brown will share behaviors, challenges and strategies used in memory care units. This session will be helpful to those who are interested in learning how to incorporate horticulture as therapy with older adults in a professional setting, in contracted employment or with family members. 

Debbie Albert has a BA in Education and a certificate from the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado.  Over the past fifteen years, she has provided horticultural therapy services to children in Grand Rapids schools, women in drug and alcohol rehabs, the homeless, and veterans.  Her focus for the past three years has been with seniors at the Christian Rest Home in Grand Rapids. Debbie is passionate about connecting people with plants!     


Betsy Brown, HTR, has been active as a horticultural therapist for the past 20 years, working with Alzheimer's patients, men and women with multiple disabilities, veterans, and women in drug and alcohol abuse treatment. She is currently employed at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and Porter Hills retirement facilities. Betsy served on the MHTA Board of directors for 8 years including President of MHTA.


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