Our Nature-Based Model

Decades of practice in human-animal interactions and nature-based therapies have distinguished Green Chimneys as an innovator in special education and residential treatment. The interconnection of human well-being, animal welfare and environmental stewardship is ingrained in Green Chimneys’ founding principles and nature-based programs are an integral part of our campuses and organizational identity.

Our philosophy is based on the belief that, if children are given a chance to explore and discover their inherent strengths in a safe and structured nature-based environment, their self-esteem, compassion, coping and social skills will improve. The concept of an enriched treatment setting that brings people together with animals and plants in a mutually beneficial relationship lies at the foundation of our approach.

Animal interactions help children build critical skills such as trust, self-esteem, empathy, emotional regulation, and responsibility over time. Horticulture activities also support social, academic, psychological and physical well-being.

Contacts range from playing with a dog or rabbit during a session with a trained adult, to a more comprehensive approach where children experience an immersion with animals or nature, including therapeutic horseback riding, horticulture therapy including greenhouse and garden work, outdoor adventure activities.