• Jennifer Jewell

HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AT WORK: MATT WICHROWSKI, RUSK INSTITUTE HEALING GARDENS #5


As we continue our series on Healing Gardens and Therapeutic landscapes, this week we’re joined by Matthew J. Wichrowski, MSW HTR, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Senior Horticultural Therapist at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health.

He has been on the ground and in the field for the length of his career and he offers us insights on the impacts and importance of horticultural therapy in a variety of settings.. A longtime educator and practitioner in the field, Matt joined us from New York.


Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health has been ranked the best rehabilitation program in New York and one of the top ten in the country since 1989, when U.S. News & World Report introduced its annual "Best Hospitals" rankings. Rusk Rehabilitation is among the most renowned centers of its kind for the treatment of adults and children with disabilities—home to innovations and advances that have set the standard in rehabilitation care for every stage of life and every phase of recovery.


In our conversation, Matt describes his current clinical practice at the medical center's cardiac rehabilitation unit where cognitive, emotional, and physical exercises are keys, he also works on an acute-care psychiatric ward putting the same skills to work.


The Rusk institute’s The Enid A. Haupt Glass Garden was built in 1958 as part of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center. It is contained in a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) greenhouse at 34th Street and First Avenue in New York City. The garden was a gift from Enid A. Haupt. The garden and glass house were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and subsequently closed. Matt continues his work from a horticultural cart of green wonders.

Join us again next week when we finish up our series on Healing Gardens and Therapeutic Landscape AND at the same time kick off our Women’s History Month Series, each week of March featuring one of the 75 women profiled in my book The Earth in Her Hands 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants, which as of it's official birth day of March 3, 2020 will be available EVERYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD.


There are soooooo many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.


And hey Chico Family and Friends – I am so looking forward to seeing you in person for my book launch celebration this Sunday MARCH 1stat the Chico Women’s Club from 1 – 3:30 – I would love to thank you in person for all the support you’ve given to me these past many years. It’s free, but if you’re not registered head to MYNSPR.org and get registered. See you there!



RELATED EPISODES INCLUDE:


- REDBIRD RESTORATIVE GARDENS


- NAOMI SACHS, THERAPEUTIC LANDSCAPES NETWORK


- PERLA CURBELO, AGROCHIC




UPCOMING CULTIVATING PLACE LIVE EVENTS: click green title links for more info or to register!

- MRS. DALLOWAY'S BOOKS - FEBRUARY 28, Berkeley, CA 7:30 - 9 pm


- CHICO WOMEN'S CLUB - SUNDAY MARCH 1, 1 - 3:30 pm Book signing, refreshment, home-town celebration! RSVP required for FREE event JOIN US!


- ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE ALLIANCE Wednesday March 4, 2020: ELA annual conference- Amherst, MA


- THE ARNOLD ARBORETUM of HARVARD UNIVERSITY - CULTIVATING SPACE, WOMEN IN HORTICULTURE & PLACE MAKING - Saturday March 7, 2020

Mark your calendars - I hope to meet you wherever you cultivate your place in the coming year....

Thinking out Loud this week...

The ongoing relationship between our state of mind and our state of health with our relationship to nature continues in a really interesting way in this conversation with Matt.


Here’s a little more on the work at the Rusk institute: Horticultural therapy is one of the oldest healing therapies and is a widely recognized form of care for people with physical or mental disabilities. The Rusk Institute launched one of the nation’s first horticultural therapy programs in the 1970s with support from Enid A. Haupt, whose philanthropy also made the conservatory named after her here at the New Yok Botanic Garden what it is today. The Rusk program expanded in the ’90s with the addition of a perennial garden, also funded by Mrs. Haupt.


Children and adult patients from each of the Rusk units grow plants, arrange flowers, and make nature craft projects, gaining a sense of personal accomplishment, productivity, and self-reliance while guided by trained horticultural therapists. One of the therapists, Matthew J. Wichrowski, is also on the faculty at NYBG.


You may have noticed that Matt keeps speaking about his work in the Enid Haupt Glass house in the past tense, due to the fact that the outdoor garden and the beautiful Glass Garden were badly damaged in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. Since then, Matt’s work has been primarily bedside work from a horticultural cart. We need and are improved by our nature relations wherever we can get them.


I was really struck by Matt’s observations and the research results about the improvement in overall attitude and outlook for patients and medical staff in rooms with more nature imagery – not even nature herself, but images of her soothing our reptilian brains.


This positive feedback loop hearkens back for me to my clear understanding that I am a better person overall when I get time outdoors, in my garden, on a trail, playing with flowers, mucking in the compost pile. I am more patient, I am a better listener, I am more cheerful, I am more careful.

Think of the power of this played forward on any order of magnitude? What we put out into the world – we know – comes back to us – reflects back.


SO if you needed no other affirmation as to why you need your daily dose of green in your garden, remember how it does in fact change the world for the better in this one very simple way. And plays out from there – ever greenly.


HEY – speaking of putting our green love out in the world, I am now ON THE ROAD for the next six weeks essentially and I would very much like to connect with you on all things green in person along the way. This week, I am in Seattle at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.


Next week I am in Amherst, Mass at the Ecological Landscape Association’s annual conference, at Long Hill house and garden for an evening talk with The Trustees of the Reservation, and at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as part of a morning long symposium entitled Cultivating Space – Women in Horticulture and Space-Making, where I will be in conversation with other women leaders in greening communities.


For all of my speaking events – times, places, ticket info and more make sure to check out the March A View From Here Newsletter (coming out this weekend) or follow along with updates at the Events tab on Cultivating Place.


TOGETHER WE GROW!

UPCOMING CULTIVATING PLACE LIVE EVENTS: click green title links for more info or to register!

- MRS. DALLOWAY'S BOOKS - FEBRUARY 28, Berkeley, CA 7:30 - 9 pm


- CHICO WOMEN'S CLUB - SUNDAY MARCH 1, 1 - 3:30 pm Book signing, refreshment, home-town celebration! RSVP required for FREE event JOIN US!


- ECOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE ALLIANCE Wednesday March 4, 2020: ELA annual conference- Amherst, MA


- THE ARNOLD ARBORETUM of HARVARD UNIVERSITY - CULTIVATING SPACE, WOMEN IN HORTICULTURE & PLACE MAKING - Saturday March 7, 2020

Mark your calendars - I hope to meet you wherever you cultivate your place in the coming year

WAYS TO SUPPORT CULTIVATING PLACE

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