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New Horticultural Therapy Program for VA Lyons and East Orange Campuses

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in Events, MG Chronicles, Programs

Hello Master Gardeners,

My colleagues Joel Flagler (Bergen County)  and Jan Zientek (Essex County)  have received a grant to establish two horticultural therapy programs at the Veterans Administration campuses in East Orange and Lyons, NJ.  They are seeking certified volunteer Master Gardeners to assist with the program under the direct supervision of a certified Horticultural Therapist. (HT)

Here are some details about the program:

This is a call for Certified Rutgers Master Gardeners interested in supporting a horticultural therapy program at the Veterans Administration campuses in East Orange and Lyons, NJ.  Master Gardeners are being recruited from counties nearest these two campuses.  The VA has secured a grant to fund Horticultural Therapy for spinal cord/brain trauma patients and mental health patients (two separate programs).  They will be contracting with two HT graduates of Rutgers-SEBS to deliver the program, as well as having Rutgers-SEBS HT undergraduate interns assist them. RMG volunteers are being sought to help deliver the program (to work side-by-side with veterans and these HT professionals and assist as needed).  This is a great opportunity for RMGs to participate in an actual HT program.

The VA has organized an orientation for RMGs interested in participating in this program, which will be held on September 28, from 2pm to 4pm, at the VA Hospital in East Orange, 3rd Floor Auditorium.  We are working on hopefully having a similar training in Lyons, but for now there is only the one in East Orange.  We are hoping to develop a core of 15-20 volunteers to support this long-term project (it is a research grant where the effectiveness of HT for neurological patients is being measured).

As stated above, there will be volunteer HT opportunities at the VA’s Lyons campus as well.  There is a vocational-type program being organized, based in the Lyons atrium, where veterans are being trained to pursue jobs in interior plant care.

To RSVP and register for the orientation, please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and county RMG program affiliation to Jan Zientek at

If you cannot attend the Sept 28 training, but are interested in working with this project, please contact Jan Zientek to let him know of your interest.



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