Health through Horticulture: Using Plants for Therapeutic Outcomes
I. Course Prefix/Number: HTC 101
Course Name: Health through Horticulture: Using Plants for Therapeutic Outcomes
Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 2 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
This is an introductory course designed to provide the student with basic knowledge of using plants in a therapeutic way. In addition, the history, current issues, and basic techniques of the profession will be addressed. During the required days on-site at the Chicago Botanic Garden, students will tour examples of therapeutic gardens, experience some HT sessions with a variety of clients and learn to assess and establish goals. Students taking this course are assumed to have acquired basic horticulture knowledge comparable to that covered in Horticulture 100: Introduction to Horticulture for Horticultural Therapists.
IV. Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Articulate the history and efficacy of horticultural therapy.
- Describe the impact of horticultural therapy as a societal trend.
- Identify the personal and professional characteristics/resources that will foster success as a horticultural therapist, team member, and administrator.
- List and evaluate the critical issues that horticultural therapists consider when planning programs, activities, and site design.
- Define Problem Based Learning (PBL) and provide evidence for its effectiveness in Horticultural Therapy planning.
- Select plants that will support the goals and activities of the program and its spaces.
- Plan program content (activities, curriculum, materials, timelines) to meet goals and to match participant abilities and interests.
- Execute program activities for mock participant groups, adapting activities as audience profile requires.
- Create methods to evaluate the effectiveness of activities, programs, and spaces.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
- History and Efficacy of Horticultural Therapy
- Defining Horticultural Therapy
- Historical Roots of the People-Plant Connection
- Conceptual Framework – Foundations in Theory
- Research Topics and Initiatives – Past and Present
- Societal Trends – Impact on the Profession
- Horticultural Therapy Practice
- Skills required of an AHTA registered horticultural therapist
- Educational background and professional experience
- Horticultural therapy definition
- Horticultural therapy history
- Therapeutic session planning process
- Requirements to further develop professional skills for practice
- Funding structures, reimbursement issues, and costs associated with agency-based program delivery
- Personal skills and knowledge assessment of skills identified during the interview process to determine areas of further preparation
- Letter of Introduction – Strengths brought to the Firm
- Personal facts that are distinctive and valuable to a firm specializing in a practice of horticultural therapy
- Strengths and qualities that are important in being an effective therapist, team member, and administrator
- Problem-based Learning
- What Is PBL?
- PBL vs previous educational experiences and personal learning style
- Benefits of PBL
- Introduction to Session Planning
- Review of definition of horticultural therapy and theoretical foundations
- Overview of Therapeutic Process
- Use of Session Planning Forms for Effective Program Delivery
- Adaptations – Garden Design, Plant Selection, Adaptive Tools
- Tour of the Buehler Enabling Garden
- Discussion of Sensory Stimulating Plants
- Identification of adaptive tools
- Observation and Evaluation of Programs and Garden Designs
- Travel to four agencies to observe horticultural therapy sessions
- Collect site information, conduct needs analyses
- Participate in a barrier-free garden design charrette
- Lead a mock horticultural therapy session
- Application of Skills Observed and Session Planning
- Lead several mock horticultural therapy sessions
- Participate in session planning exercises for purposes of facilitating a mobile plant cart program, create a program for special education students, a pre-vocational program, an income-generating program, and a comprehensive program proposal
- Formulating Treatment Goals, Delivery Methods, and Assessment
- Completion of horticultural therapy assessment for various settings
- Writing treatment goals, documenting daily progress and providing summaries and recommendations
- Mastery of activity analysis and appropriate therapy delivery strategies
- Analysis of individual and program outcomes
VII. Methods of Instruction
- Student-directed research required to complete assignments with guidance by instructor and support.
- The lab activities are conducted at the Chicago Botanic Garden and nearby health care facilities with student participation in residential activities and group discussions.
- Instructor and peer evaluations and critiques of projects.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
- Complete the readings, research and assignments (includes weekly discussions, written reports, etc.) required in this course.
- Completion of all assigned readings and materials.
- Submission of written assignments.
- Active participation by students in class discussions and activities.
- Participation in on-site experience at Chicago Botanic Garden and nearby health care facilities.
- Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
IX. Instructional Materials
- Required texts:
Second Edition: Horticultural Therapy Methods: Connecting People and Plants in HealthCare, Human Services, and Therapeutic Programs by Rebecca L. Haller and Christine L Capra.
Johanna Leos, HTM; Kelly Nelson, HTR; and Gene Rothert, HTR, Health through Horticulture: A Guide for using the Indoor Garden for Therapeutic Outcomes, 2008, Chicago Botanic Garden
Sharon P. Simpson and Martha C. Straus, Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practices, 1998, Haworth Press.
- Selected websites
- Selected additional reading materials
- Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton’s Schedule of Classes.
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
- Written assignments
- Self-directed learning projects
- Written assignments and papers may include:
Paper – History and Efficacy of HT
Interview and Paper – HT Professional
Proposal – Letter of Introduction
Paper – Problem Based Learning
Adaptive Tool Planting Activity
Needs Analysis – SP Forms/Proposals
Treatment Goals, Delivery, Assessment
- Grading Scale:
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
Below 70 = F
XI. Other Course Information
- Attendance is mandatory at all scheduled discussions, and assignments must be submitted as scheduled.
- There will be no make-ups of assignments. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.
- Correct grammar and spelling is required on all written assignments.
- Students guilty of plagiarism/cheating are subject to dismissal from the program and/or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.