hai2025 Conference

Friday, April 28 - 29, 2023

Green Chimneys, Brewster Campus
400 Doansburg Road
Brewster, NY 10509

Co-hosted by University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and Institute for Human-Animal Connection

People, Animals and Nature: The Restorative Power of Relationship

The 21st century is bringing greater awareness to the life-enriching interconnectedness between people, animals and the environment. Animal-assisted therapy, nature-based education and farm-based programs illustrate the diverse approaches social workers, educators, mental health practitioners, physicians and others are exploring and applying to enhance quality of life for all.

Join this dynamic two-day conference hosted by The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys and presented in partnership with University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and Institute for Human Animal Connection.

In the “living classroom” of Green Chimneys’ farm setting, learn best practices and exchange ideas with experts and peers in a wide range of professions that utilize animal-assisted and nature-based models. Participants will collaborate through interactive group work, discussions and hands-on learning with animals to facilitate the well-being of people, animals and the natural world through models that bring these elements together.

Who should attend hai2025?

  • Mental Health Professionals with an interest in the human-animal connection
  • Educators
  • School Teachers
  • Child and Animal Welfare Professionals
  • Animal-Assisted Service Program Administrators
  • Advocates and Explorers of the relationship between people, animals and the environment

Have a question about the conference content?

See the Conference Program for details, or please contact Michael Kaufmann via [email protected].

Tickets will be available soon here.

  • Early Bird Registration – $335
  • Regular Registration – $385 (Based on availability.)

Space is limited; registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meals are included. See the Conference Program for details

Pets are not permitted. Dogs or other pets are not allowed at the hai2025. With 200 children and over 300 animals of many species on our campus, and in order to maintain a safe and cohesive environment in our school, at the farm, and in the wildlife center, we are unable to integrate personal pets into the conference. Even if your pet offers emotional support at other times, we thank you for respecting the needs of our community, including our animals, by leaving your companion at home. Service dogs have full access.

The daily agenda will be guided by the main conference theme of People, Animals and Nature: The Restorative Power of Relationship. In particular, we will focus on these subject areas:

  1. Innovations in human-animal and nature-based interactions
  2. Embodying a sense of belonging for diverse stakeholders and practitioners
  3. Exploring the concept of animal consent
  4. Examples of methodologies for studying animal-assisted interventions (AAI), particularly evaluating outcomes
  5. Introducing specific farm-based education and therapy options

Attend informative and insightful presentations, including:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Animal-Assisted Services: Obviously, I’m Not From Here – Embodying a Sense of Belonging with the Help of Horses
    Veronica Lac, PhD, LPC
  •  Ecopsychological Praxis Towards an Informed Eco-Justice Framework
    Derrick Sebree, PhD
  • Understanding the Power of Relationship: Innovations in Human-Animal-Nature Interactions
    Megan Mueller, PhD
  • Training and Professionalizing for the Future
    Nina Ekholm Fry and Kevin Morris, PhD
  • Adopting a Restorative Mindset in Human-Animal Interaction Work: Connecting to Our Best Selves and to One Another
    Kristin Licardi, LCSW
  • The Restorative Power of Relationship
    All speaker panel led by Kevin Morris, PhD, and Michael Kaufmann 

Leaders in the field of human-animal interaction share their expertise at hai2025.

Click on or tap an individual photo to learn more about a specific speaker. 

Kristin Licardi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Chief Clinical Officer at Green Chimneys.

Kristin Licardi, LCSW

Chief Clinical Officer, Green Chimneys

Kristin Licardi, LCSW

Chief Clinical Officer, Green Chimneys

Kristin Licardi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Hunter College School of Social Work graduate, with over 30 years of experience in behavioral health services for children and families.  Mrs. Licardi began her early career in direct care in several mental health settings before settling in at Green Chimneys Children’s Services in Brewster, NY, where she has worked for the past 25 years. She held the Director of Social Services position for 17 years, where she directly impacted the programs and services provided to children and families, and trained clinicians, direct care staff, educators and parents, and for the past two years has overseen all clinical services at the agency as Chief Clinical Officer. Mrs. Licardi has adapted and facilitated various training curriculum for the agency, including trauma, trauma-informed care, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), suicide and non-suicidal self-injury, and threat assessment, and has presented at professional conferences, including the Association of Children’s Residential and Community Services (ACRC), the Leir Foundation Trauma Conference, and keynote for the University of Binghamton’s Let Us Dream Conference.
Dr. Derrick Sebree

Derrick Sebree, PhD

Masters Program Director, Michigan School of Psychology

Derrick Sebree, PhD

Masters Program Director, Michigan School of Psychology

Dr. Derrick Sebree is an American Descendant of Slavery (ADOS) and program director/core faculty member of the MA program at the Michigan School of Psychology. He graduated with his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Michigan School of Psychology in 2016. He has since conducted his clinical work in the Ann Arbor area, working with a variety of populations, with a focus on young college students and adults within the University of Michigan system. Dr. Sebree received his MECCA Certificate in Multicultural Counseling from MSU. He specializes in multicultural identity theory and counseling alongside ecopsychology/ecotherapy and climate psychology. Dr. Sebree has worked extensively with various social justice organizations in Detroit around food security and other environmental justice issues. His teaching, clinical work, and mentorship emphasize Dr. Sebree’s community-oriented social justice praxis. Dr. Sebree has been an active Society for Humanistic Psychology, APA Division 32 member. Serving as a member-at-large, membership chair, and co-chair of the organization's Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.  Dr. Sebree also serves as a member-at-large and communications chair for APA Division 34, Society for Population, Environmental, and Conservation Psychology. Dr. Sebree serves on the Michigan Psychological Association Advocacy Task Force for mental health legislative advocacy and is a member of the APA Climate Advisory Group.
Sara Karlberg

Sara Karlberg

Therapy Dog Trainer and Environmental Psychology Master's Student

Sara Karlberg

Therapy Dog Trainer and Environmental Psychology Master's Student

Sara Karlberg has a bachelor's degree in media and communications from Södertörns University in Stockholm. Soon after taking her degree and working as a tv-photographer she changed course and studied public science, rehabilitation science, ethology, and psychology at different universities. At the moment, she is in the final stages of writing her master's thesis in environmental psychology about school dogs preventing absence in schools. Sara is also a partner with the Swedish University of Agriculture and Uppsala University in a research project regarding the health/economic benefits of working with school dogs to prevent absences from school, which will be finished at the end of 2024. Sara is also educated as a dog instructor. In 2008, she trained her first therapy dog and as a dog instructor with a therapy dog, she started the Swedish School for Therapy Dogs. Her organization has expanded to the Nordic schools for therapy dogs and has courses in Sweden, Finland, and Norway. In 2008 she was one of the founders of the Scandinavian Therapy Dog Association, a non-profit organization for dog teams. From 2011 to 2013, Sara was a member of the committee that developed the Swedish standard for training and educating dog teams in healthcare. Sara has also been a board member of the Swedish HAI organization Manimalis, which unfortunately is no longer active. She is also a frequent lecturer at the Swedish University of Agriculture. 2018 Sara and her colleague Helena Eriksson published a book about animal-assisted interventions who now been translated into English (Animal-Assisted Interventions, Professionals Embrace the Power of the Dog, 2020).
Suzanne M. Kapral

Suzanne M. Kapral

TEDxScranton Speaker and Author

Suzanne M. Kapral

TEDxScranton Speaker and Author

Suzanne is a TEDxScranton speaker, an accomplished author, and a devoted advocate for children and farm animals. Her multifaceted career incorporates roles such as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) and a Farm Animal Welfare Auditor, demonstrating her commitment to both human wellbeing and ethical animal treatment. As a respected advisor in farm-based interventions, Suzanne offers expert counsel across the United States on the creation, funding, and maintenance of farm based therapy programs. Her vision is to empower service providers to launch responsible initiatives that meld the therapeutic benefits of agriculture with the need for compassionate human services. Suzanne's contributions were critical in establishing the nationally recognized Care Farming program at The Lands at Hillside Farms, a historic, 438-acre, non-profit educational dairy farm located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This initiative has been providing farm-based trauma services tailored to children's needs, including those on the autism spectrum, since 2013. Currently, Suzanne serves on the Green Care Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Youth and Young Adult Services Bureau of Substance Addiction. She's also an Animal Welfare Auditor for A Greener World and mentors at Food Animal Concerns Trust. Her TEDxScranton talk, "How Cows and a Cornfield Helped Heal Childhood Trauma", reveals her personal journey through childhood trauma, and how it fired her passion for initiating the Care Farming program at Hillside Farms. Suzanne equipped herself academically with a Master of Science in Animal Behavior/Animal Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, paired with a Master of Science in Organizational Management from Misericordia University. This blend of animal behavioral knowledge and organizational savvy has shaped Suzanne into the compassionate subject matter expert she is today.
Becky Cobban is a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor and qualified Social Worker working in the horse program at Green Chimneys.

Becky Cobban, MSW

Riding Instructor, Green Chimneys

Becky Cobban, MSW

Riding Instructor, Green Chimneys

Becky Cobban is a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor and qualified Social Worker working in the horse program at Green Chimneys. Becky began as an intern in the horse barn where she trained and qualified as an instructor and truly fell in love with working with children and animals. After her internship, Becky achieved her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Edinburgh and returned to Green Chimneys to further her career in a staff role. Becky has since been exploring the depth of equine connection and interpersonal relationships with students at Green Chimneys and continues to develop her passion to enable students to reach their full potential.

Jessica Aiello, LMSW

Residential Social Worker, Green Chimneys

Jessica Aiello, LMSW

Residential Social Worker, Green Chimneys

Jessica Aiello is a Licensed Master Social Worker with a background in equine assisted interventions. Jessica spent most of her childhood at the barn, allowing her to experience the healing impact horses hold. Jessica went on to obtain an Associate’s Degree in Human Services, a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Marist College and a Master’s degree from Fordham University. Throughout her education, Jessica knew she wanted to work with clients and horses together in a therapeutic setting. Since she grew up nearby, Jessica was familiar with Green Chimneys and the animal/nature based supports the agency provided. As a Residential Social Worker at Green Chimneys, Jessica has been able to combine her passion for horses and working with youth in order to support them in building confidence, understanding relationships and strengthening their interpersonal skills.

Veronica Lac, PhD, LPC

Founder and Executive Director, The HERD Institute®

Veronica Lac, PhD, LPC

Founder and Executive Director, The HERD Institute®

Dr. Veronica Lac, LPC, Founder & Executive Director of The HERD Institute®, has 25 years of experience as a corporate trainer and mental health professional, and is also a certified therapeutic riding instructor and equine specialist in mental health and learning. Building a sense of community and belonging is at the core of Veronica's philosophy of working with people. The HERD Institute® offers training and certifications in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy & Learning that incorporate a cultural competence framework. Veronica is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and has worked on a range of racial and social justice initiatives, including being a Board member of The Humanitarian Alliance, and part of the American Psychological Association, Division 32 Diversity Committee and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee for PATH International. Veronica offers DEI consultations and training to organizations both in the corporate sector and within the non-profit environment. She is passionate about research in the field of equine facilitated psychotherapy and has multiple publications internationally in peer-reviewed journals. Veronica is the author of three best-selling books in the field of equine facilitated work and co-editor for an upcoming book, Evidence-Based Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy, published by APA.
Doug Baum, Camel Expert

Doug Baum

Camel Expert

Doug Baum

Camel Expert

Doug Baum has facilitated safe interactions with camels and humans in a variety of settings and across a variety of clientele for thirty years. It is his mission to dispel the negative myths about this misunderstood animal. Learning from cultures around the world who have lived and thrived with camels for five thousand years Doug has become one of the most knowledgeable and respected camel experts, celebrating the relationship with this unique animal. Doug has created camel programs for at-risk youth, conducts programs at assisted-living facilities for seniors and on-campus education programs for schools, libraries, and museums. He annually leads private travel groups to Egypt, Morocco, India; Jordan to meet and experience local experts from cultures that depend on and work closely with camels and also guides trekking expeditions in the Desert Southwest.

Samantha Arevalo

Equine Program Manager, Green Chimneys

Samantha Arevalo

Equine Program Manager, Green Chimneys

Samantha Arevalo is the Equine Program Manager at Green Chimneys. After graduating in 2011 from Post University with a degree in Equine Business Management, Samantha initially started her work managing the therapeutic riding program but quickly expanded her skills and responsibilities once camels arrived to the Green Chimneys campus. Samantha currently holds certification as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH, Intl. and oversees the riding and groundwork program. Her work incorporating camels into traditional therapeutic groundwork sessions has driven the evolution of safe and educational camel interactions for children and adults. Samantha has presented this work at a variety of conferences and workshops, most notably the Southwest Camel Conference in Texas.

Michael Kaufmann

Vice President of Nature-Based Programs, and Sam and Myra Ross Institute, Green Chimneys

Michael Kaufmann

Vice President of Nature-Based Programs, and Sam and Myra Ross Institute, Green Chimneys

Michael Kaufmann is the Vice President of Nature Based Programs & Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys. He directs all aspects of the nature-based therapeutic/educational programs and supervises The Institute dedicated to education and research on the human connection to animals and the natural world. He serves on the board of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, is an advisor to the International Center for Anthrozoology, Norway, is on the advisory council of TAT Center for Human Animal Interaction, Vienna, Austria, Advisor to The Canadian Institute of Animal-Assisted Interventions, serves on the editorial board of  People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice, and is on the editorial board of the magazine GREEN CARE, Switzerland.

Nina Ekholm Fry

Director of Equine Programs, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Nina Ekholm Fry

Director of Equine Programs, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Nina Ekholm Fry is the Director of Equine Programs at University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection and is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She is the coordinator of the Human-Animal-Environment Interactions in Social Work specialization within the Master of Social Work program and leads the Post-Master’s Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate program. For the past 15 years, her work has included animals in human services with a focus on equine interactions in psychotherapy and counseling. Nina is a board member of the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA Inc.), past chair of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP) and previously served as the Chief Editor of the HETI Journal: International Research and Practice, published by the International Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy (HETI). Nina currently serves as an advisor to the State of Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services on matters related to mental health services in green environments. Nina has a background as a mental health professional specializing in trauma treatment and neurodivergence, as a riding instructor (CHA), adaptive riding instructor (PATH Intl.), and equine behavior consultant. She has a particular interest in applied ethics and social justice perspectives within human-animal interactions and is actively engaged in national and international organizations for both human and equine wellbeing.

Kevin Morris, PhD

Chair and Research Professor, University of Denver, and Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Kevin Morris, PhD

Chair and Research Professor, University of Denver, and Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Dr. Kevin Morris is the American Humane endowed chair and a research professor within the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley and his PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from The University of Chicago. Dr. Morris spent 20 years conducting preclinical and clinical cancer research before adapting the focus of his work to improving human and animal health and welfare through scientific understanding of the human-animal bond. As executive director of the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection, he oversees its research and education programs. Dr. Morris’ research portfolio focuses on understanding how human-animal interactions affect individual and community health and welfare within a framework of equity for both humans and other species. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs and on the Core Scientific Advisory Board for Michelson Found Animals Foundation’s Michelson Prize and Grants. The overall goal of his efforts is to raise the health and welfare of both people and other animals within the One Health framework through innovative, in-depth research and education.

Miyako Kinoshita

Farm Education Program Manager, Green Chimneys

Miyako Kinoshita

Farm Education Program Manager, Green Chimneys

Miyako Kinoshita is the Farm Education Program Manager of the Farm & Wildlife Center at Green Chimneys. She serves as the key facilitator for over 200 children with psychosocial disabilities currently in residential and day school, and facilitates and co-supervises a wide range of animal-assisted programs. She has a master’s degree in educational studies, and specializes in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted education. She looks back on over 20 years of working in direct service with children and animals as a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Miyako is the former president of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) and a former board member of PATH Intl., serving as chair of the board governance committee and as board secretary. Miyako was instrumental in reintegrating equine-assisted mental health programs back into PATH Intl. She is an author of several chapters in textbooks, including Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy by Aubrey Fine.

Megan Mueller, PhD

Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Megan Mueller, PhD

Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Dr. Megan Mueller is an Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She is also directs the Pets and Well-Being Lab, and teaches in the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy program at the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts. Dr. Mueller is a developmental scientist, and her research program focuses on exploring the complex interactions between companion animals and their families, with a particular interest in adolescent development and well-being. Dr. Mueller currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Anthrozoology, as well as on the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond Advisory Board.

Danielle Zalewski

Animal Caretaker, Green Chimneys

Danielle Zalewski

Animal Caretaker, Green Chimneys

Danielle Zalewski is the Animal Caretaker for the Teaching Barn at Green Chimneys. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut with Bachelor’s in Animal Science, she gravitated towards finding a way to combine a passion for livestock with a mission to help people. She has a background in livestock and equine husbandry at independent farms as well as environmental management with US Fish & Wildlife. While heavily involved in the direct care of the livestock at Green Chimneys, she is also focused on guiding others into the practice of Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) with livestock. Danielle currently is co-authoring an academic paper on the potential of sheep in human-service programs.

We are excited to invite poster presentation submissions about human-animal-environment interactions (HAEI) in two areas: research and practice. Research posters summarize research concisely to help publicize it and generate discussion. Practice posters communicate information about a practice concept or other content related to the conference theme/HAEI professional area.

A poster is a mixture of text and tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation elements. The presenter stands or sits by their poster while other conference attendees view it and interact with the presenter.

We especially encourage students and professionals in their first two years in human-animal-environment interactions to submit posters for the conference.

Learn more about the poster presentation submission process

Green Chimneys is the host venue. All hai2025 Conference activities will be held on the Brewster campus. Sessions will take place in various school buildings as well as on the farm and among animals.

Get an intimate overview and gain insight into the diverse nature-based programs that are integrated into Green Chimneys’ therapeutic day school and residential treatment center. Explore the wildlife rehabilitation center; a PATH Intl. accredited therapeutic equine program, a teaching barn and its farm animals, and two organic gardens.

This meeting is hosted by The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys which was established in 2012 to deepen the vision and impact of its animal and nature-based programs by demonstrating how purposeful contact with animals and the outdoors can enhance formal therapies and traditional education, and sharing knowledge to bring continued growth and leadership to the field. The Institute is inspired by the remarkable work of Green Chimneys Founders Sam and Myra Ross and strives to honor their legacy through education, advocacy, and research.

Green Chimneys’ Brewster Campus is located in Putnam County, New York and is only an hour away from midtown Manhattan. Below please find travel information, which may be helpful in planning your trip.

Airports

Train Travel from New York City

  • Via Metro-North Railroad
  • Take the Harlem Line to Southeast Station
  • You will then need a taxi to take you from the train station to 400 Doansburg Road, Brewster.

By Car

Please visit Getting to Green Chimneys

Parking

Free parking will be available to hai2025 attendees. Signage onsite will direct you to designated attendee parking.

Hotel with Conference Rate for Attendees

Hilton Garden Inn Danbury
119 Mill Plain Road
Danbury, CT  06811
203.205.2000 (If calling, ask for “Green Chimneys Event”.)

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn for the HAI Conference at a rate of $139 per night. This rate is available until April 9th; the rate begins on Thursday evening, April 24 and goes through Sunday, April 27th. Rooms at the conference rate are limited so it is suggested that you book early.

Book online:
https://www.hilton.com/en/attend-my-event/dnbdhgi-hai-21f78fc1-26fa-48d6-a3fc-5d688686e4f8/ 

Group Name: Green Chimneys
Group Code: HAI

Check-in: April 24, 2025
Check-out: April 27, 2025
Cutoff date: April 9, 2025 (All Reservations must be made prior to the Cutoff Date)

The Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance of several casual restaurants, Starbucks, and other shops. The hotel also has a restaurant on the property.


Transportation to the Hilton Garden Inn Danbury

Shuttle Transportation

GO Airport Shuttle
www.2theairport.com
Reservations are required for shuttle service. When making your reservation, tell them that you are going to the Hilton Garden Inn Danbury, and they will make a stop at the hotel.

Private Transportation

Lindsey Limo
www.lindseylimo.com
860.289.5466
Contact: Becca Mockalis

Green Light Limos
www.greenlightlimos.com
866.304.7336


See highlights from past conferences and what to expect at hai2025.