Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

The Science Behind Horticultural Therapy

Posted by Walking Mountains Science Center on Oct 29, 2019 10:00:00 AM
Walking Mountains Science Center


Join Walking Mountains Science Center and local certified horticultural therapist on Tuesday, November 5th at 6:30pm for an insightful evening of exploring the greater power of gardening as a therapeutic and rehabilitative tool in modern healthcare.     

If you have ever taken the time to stop and smell the roses, you will know that stopping to enjoy a garden can be a rewarding experience for the senses but did you know that a garden can be much more powerful for the body and mind?  For ages, people have known the rewarding experiences of tending and enjoying a garden, but by the 19th Century, the Father of American Psychiatry, Dr. Benjamin Rush had begun to officially document the positive effects of working in a garden for those with mental illness. After World War II, horticultural therapy was an accepted and well utilized technique in the rehabilitation of veterans. Since then the practice and its potential for positively impacting mental and physical health has continued to expand.     

As a tool in mental therapy and rehabilitation, horticultural therapy has been shown to improve memory, cognitive abilities, language skills and socialization.  Physically, horticultural therapy has been shown to help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance and endurance. Even in a vocational setting, gardening has been shown to help people work better independently as well as improve problem solving skills and their ability to follow directions.

To reap these positive impacts from horticulture takes a trained professional and the right kind of garden working in symphony. Understanding how to unlock the healing potential of horticulture takes education, training and practice. The growth of horticultural therapy has resulted in the development of certifications and trainings that help develop skilled and effective providers. Along with producing skilled horticultural therapy providers, the growth of this technique has resulted in purposely designed therapeutic gardens. These therapeutic gardens are specifically designed to facilitate interactions with beneficial elements and are designed around specific goals such as healing, enabling or rehabilitation.

During our evening of exploration into the world of horticultural therapy, we will cover the fundamental principles behind this technique and examples of programs that are actively changing people’s lives, including applications right here in Eagle County.  We will also learn what it takes to be a trained and certified horticultural therapy provider. Hands on activities will further provide us an opportunity to experience horticultural therapy in action. So join Walking Mountains and certified horticultural therapy provider, Patricia Esperon, to find out how gardening can do so much more then develop a green thumb.        

Patricia Esperon studied criminal justice and psychology earning her BS in Psychology. She is an Eagle County Master Gardener and holds a certificate in Horticultural Therapy from Colorado State University. She will complete her master's in clinical counseling next summer. She is employed by the Vail Valley Salvation Army as the Garden & Greenhouse Facility Programs Manager. She teaches individuals and groups about gardening and nutrition. Wellness and mental health have recently been added to the programing. Her intention is to practice counseling as an LPC through the Horticultural Therapy Modality here in Eagle County and to train others in that orientation. 


If you go…

What: The Science Behind Horticultural Therapy

When: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 | 6:30pm

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon

How much: FREE ($5.00 donation suggested).  Registration required at www.walkingmountains.org/sb


Topics: The Science Behind Series

Walking Mountains Science Center

Written by Walking Mountains Science Center

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.