Embracing Nature: My Journey as a Horticultural Therapist

Skyland Trail horticultural therapist Marisol Clark, finds solace and purpose in nature. With a background in wildlife ecology and outdoor education, her journey into horticultural therapy has been both transformative and deeply fulfilling.

For me, horticultural therapy is more than just a profession. It’s about using plants and plant care to guide individuals on a journey of self-discovery and healing. From mental health facilities to schools, hospitals, and beyond, horticultural therapy transcends boundaries, welcoming people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

I often describe horticultural therapy as a process of connection—connecting with plants, connecting with oneself, and connecting with something greater than ourselves. Through the simple act of nurturing a living organism, individuals learn valuable lessons about resilience, growth, and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Therapeutic Activities at Skyland Trail

In my role as a horticultural therapist, I have the privilege of curating a diverse array of therapeutic activities designed to engage the senses and nurture holistic well-being. Whether it’s birdwatching, forest bathing, or hands-on gardening, each activity offers a unique opportunity for growth and self-discovery.

Mindful activities, such as observing birds in their natural habitat or immersing oneself in the tranquility of the forest, provide moments of stillness and reflection. These experiences awaken a sense of wonder and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, grounding participants in the present moment.

Hands-on activities, like planting seeds, propagating plants, and creating floral arrangements, offer tangible opportunities for growth and empowerment. As individuals roll up their sleeves and participate in these sessions, they cultivate a deeper connection with the natural world and with themselves.

The Power of Partnerships

At Skyland Trail, we recognize the importance of collaboration in expanding the reach and impact of horticultural therapy programs. Through partnerships with organizations like the Audubon Society, Woodland Gardens, and Cobb County Schools, we can offer diverse experiences and resources to our participants.

These partnerships enrich our programs by providing access to unique experiences, educational opportunities, and community resources. Whether it’s a birdwatching excursion, a fairy garden workshop, or a school outreach initiative, our collaborations empower individuals to connect with nature in meaningful and transformative ways.

Personal Reflection

My journey into horticultural therapy has been deeply influenced by my own experiences in nature. As a child, I did not enjoy going outside, but as an adult, it was where I felt most at home. Through horticultural therapy, I’ve discovered a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment, as I witness the transformative power of nature in the lives of those I serve.

As an impatient person, I’ve learned to remind myself to trust the process, especially through my time at Skyland. I need to believe that things will work out and that someone is benefiting from my group, even if they seem disconnected. It’s about trusting that I can manage my time effectively. Skyland has taught me to trust the process, though I’m still working on my impatience. Sometimes, I just need to take a walk outside, rain or shine, to clear my head and get some fresh air.