Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Horticulture Therapy In Abundance

Many of the images in this blog were taken today at the Horticulture Therapy workshop at RBG. With the long title of Gardening to Enhance Well-Being, Working With Older Adult Populations, this educational event (joint RBG, UW Extension and Madison College) realized a turnout of close to 40 attendees. This included our speakers, members from our Horticulture Therapy committee (Janice, Dawn, Sharon and Karen) and a wide range of interested individuals from as far away as Oshkosh, Milwaukee and LaCrosse. Mike M. did a great job keeping everyone organized and while both Darcie O. and I added to the content organized by Mike, we had some nice presentations from six of Darcie's Occupational Therapy students from Madison College (Madison Area Technical College). The students not only did nice, informative presentations that supplemented the presentation content, they also organized and facilitated three activities at the end of the day (example above). To the left was a task that involved planting with impaired vision (note the dark/restrictive sunglasses). This exercise really gave participants an understanding of the challenges and frustrations that reduced vision may cause not only for gardening tasks but general day to day activities. To the right is a planting activity that was done with a faux arm brace to simulate a limitation with hand/arm usage. Many did the task one handed which was challenging and I think these tasks certainly had merit when you consider those that have to live and work with these challenges daily. The third task involved assembling wind chimes. We had many positive comments from attendees (about the tasty lunch too!) and the wrap up at the end of the workshop included getting input on what RBG can do to help accomodate their clients in terms of garden features and/or programming. Kay C. and three other Southeast Master Gardeners brought a very impressive tool display that had a strong focus on adaptability, ergonomics, etc. We appreciate them sharing this collection and the program attendees enjoyed looking at the wide range of tools and their potential applications. To the left is Darcie on a swivel stool that allows a range of bending and reaching while having the support of the stool itself. It took us 30 minutes to get her off of this as she kept swiveling and spinning.... I only had brief overlaps with the grounds staff today. However, they kept busy outside despite the sporadic drizzle and rain showers. It was a smaller crew today with Marv, Terry, Pat and Big John. I came up with a list of indoor projects for the guys and Marv and Terry went out early while it was raining and picked up some nice hedge shears for their future endeavors around the gardens. The guys spent a good portion of the day planting five large trees in the main parking lot (see to the left). They do a nice job and are no strangers to planting trees. Pat worked on many different projects including tidying up the rose collection, composting and working with John to finish digging out a tough hole (lots of roots) for a future tree. Big John, when he wasn't doing his Gordon's Fisherman impersonation (see to the right), spent the morning pressure washing the back deck and porch in preparation for near future painting efforts with Pat. John also worked on some digging projects and other projects as well. I'm not sure who else showed up at the Horticulture Center or was out in the gardens but I'm sure Dr. Gredler was around and I saw Maury milling around as well. Directly to the right is one of the 40 or so oak leaf projects that has trickled in very recently (nice job Jackie R.!). I like this "green man" rendition and I'm looking forward to the placement and installation of all these art pieces throughout the gardens. We are still waiting on some of the tardy artists (including both my daughters!) and once all these are sealed and placed in the gardens, we'll develop a map to direct poeple to the various art pieces. On September 9th, all of these are auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting the continued operation of RBG. At the bottom is a bumper sticker I saw out in our parking lot today. I could only nod.

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