Publication: Journal of Youth Development
This study is the first in a series of qualitative studies as part of the joint research project between Green Chimneys and the University of Denver Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC). It is focused on describing the essence and nature of special education teachers’ lived experiences in incorporating nature-based interventions as a tool to improve youth social-emotional learning outcomes and promote positive youth development.
Publication: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Building on the approach to capture first-hand perspectives of staff working directly with youth, a second qualitative study with IHAC focuses on the experiences of Green Chimneys’ nature-based program staff. This study asked farm staff to describe how they’ve seen youth be impacted by nature-based programs, particularly in shaping outcomes related to their development and wellbeing. Staff shared that youth interactions with plants, animals, and nature improved mood, strengthened relations, self-regulation, and self-conception.
Publication: Journal of Child and Adolescent Social Work
In this third study with IHAC, data collection focused specifically on animal-assisted interventions as clinicians were asked to share their perspective on how animal-assisted therapy impacts youth. The majority of clinical staff observed that animal-assisted therapy provided youth opportunities for contribution, increased sense of safety, supported self-regulation, increased engagement in therapy, and facilitated youth relationships with others.
In May 2017, Green Chimneys published a study exploring the effectiveness of an animal-assisted social skills intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Findings demonstrate that incorporating therapy dogs in social skills training is a valid approach to teaching children with ASD to engage with peers and improve social interaction.