Role of The Institute

As a dynamic education and research component of the Green Chimneys organization, The Sam and Myra Ross Institute offers a meaningful introduction to the theoretical and practical principles of incorporating animals, plants and the natural world in the re-education, socialization and treatment of deeply impacted children who have experienced crisis and a lack of success in their lives.

Activities of The Institute are supported by three practice areas:

1 Education

  • Serve as a “living laboratory” for students and professionals to observe and learn about nature-based interventions and activities in an active residential treatment, therapeutic day school, and general human service setting
  • Create and disseminate educational tools and materials to facilitate nature-based program replication
  • Host regional and national conferences to explore and disseminate scientific, scholarly and practical information
  • Maintain a speakers bureau of diverse professionals to share expertise on program implementation, replication and evaluation

2 Advocacy

  • Support the positive impact animals, plants and nature can have on human health and well-being through advocacy efforts at the local, federal and global level
  • Advocate for acceptance of animal- and nature-based activities and therapy within educational and institutional settings
  • Model ethical incorporation of animals in nature-based programs

3 Research

  • Collaborate with academic and scientific institutions, research and advocacy organizations, and governmental entities that share an interest in the diverse areas of animals and nature-based programming, and therapy in a human service setting
  • Develop research and implement models for effective animal- and nature-based programming and treatment for children with special needs
  • Encourage outside academic and clinical research, and share knowledge with visiting researchers

Research Partnerships

The Sam and Myra Ross Institute seeks to create an ambitious research agenda in the wider field of nature-based interactions through partnerships with academic institutions and professionals that includes basic research as well as sophisticated clinical studies that will ultimately impact the physical and mental health and quality of life for children with special needs who are involved in our program.

The strength and promise of The Institute is to facilitate understanding, education and medical recognition of the significant influence of nature-based therapies, education and interactions. By facilitating and inviting scientific research that explores the impact of our nature-based work, we seek to set benchmarks for effective intervention methods and encourage data-driven practices that can be replicated.

If you are interested in exploring a research project partnership, please contact Green Chimneys Clinical Director Kristin Licardi at [email protected] and Institute Director Michael Kaufmann at [email protected]