University Researchers to Focus on the Green Chimneys Model


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March 16, 2016

NEWS_Research-Study-GC_March-2016.jpgAs spring begins, Green Chimneys students prepare the vegetable beds, lead sheep out to pasture and take first trail rides in the woods with their horses. The concept of an enriched treatment setting that purposefully brings young people together with shelter dogs, camels and injured birds of prey in a mutually beneficial relationship lies at the foundation of the Green Chimneys approach. While research in human-animal interaction and horticultural activities has increased, the available literature specific to incorporating animals and plants into therapeutic settings is rather limited, as are studies documenting effects of such practices.

Because of this absence of data, The Sam and Myra Ross Institute has established a formal partnership with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. “We have witnessed the impact of this type of intervention for many years. Green Chimneys is widely known as the school with the farm and animals,” shares Founder Dr. Samuel Ross, “but gathering irrefutable data as to how it works will help to lead our animal-assisted programs to long term sustainability and allow others to replicate what we do.”

The vision of the partnership is to conduct research into the outcomes of animal- and nature-based interactions at Green Chimneys. Research plans and protocols are being developed and will be implemented over a multi-year period once funding has been secured. One of the first steps will be to define the role of the nature-based programs at Green Chimneys, with the ultimate challenge being to measure the effects and document the clinical and academic impacts of particular components on the individual child.

The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys is dedicated to education and research on the human connection to animals and the natural world and serves as a model and training site for the varied facets of human-animal and nature-based interactions, grounded in evidence-based practices for implementing diverse and ethically responsible educational and therapeutic interventions and activities.

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