Gerontology Program

Spring into Nature with Florence Williams

Drawing of the future Therapeutic Learning Garden
Florence Williams
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
9am-2pm (full agenda below)
Sylvania CC Cafeteria and Therapeutic Learning Garden site
Register for the event

Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, will speak about connecting with nature where learning and healing meet:

  • Ramble with Florence through a forested path on the Sylvania Campus
  • Explore the potential of the Therapeutic Learning Garden (TLG) for healing and for learning
  • Imagine a public policy for healthier communities using nearby nature
  • Celebrate the transplant of our Horticultural Therapy Program from Legacy Health
  • Savor the nature connection
  • And much more!

For more information, contact Jan Abushakrah, Gerontology Program.


  • 9-9:30am: registration, healthy trail mix buffet, and networking
  • 9:45-10:40am: Session One – nature fix options, networking, and welcome
    (indicate your preferences on the RSVP form)
    1. Option 1: Ramble on the Sylvania woods trail (bring your walking gear)
    2. Option 2: Explore the TLG site
    3. Option 3: Enjoy an "awe"some virtual nature ramble
  • 10:40-11:30am: Session Two – PCC's TLG as a "nature fix" laboratory
    • What is a Therapeutic (Healing) Garden?
    • The history and evolution of PCC's TLG.
    • What is a Therapeutic Learning Garden?
    • What is the Nature-Neuro Connection?

    Speakers: Teresia Hazen, Legacy Health; Melissa Bierman, PCC; Brian Bainnson, ASLA, PLA, Quatrefoil; Roger Anunsen, PCC
    Respondent: Florence Williams
    Facilitator: Jan Abushakrah, PCC

  • 11:30-1:40am: Brain break, stretch, and healthy trail mix buffet
  • 11:40am-12:20pm: Session Three – removing the barriers to accessing nature

    Accessing nature is becoming more challenging for a range of logistical and social reasons. Urban development, screen time, and societal fears begin to create a roadblock that makes something we once took for granted now a monumental challenge. Subsequently we are seeing a range of physical and mental health issues proliferate, issues that have been proven can be mitigated through a direct nature connection. New strategies are required, and this panel conversation will touch on some innovative ways we are beginning to overcome this challenge.

    Speakers: Nancy Bales, Executive Director, The Gray Family Foundation; Ben Johnson, PLA, CPSI, Greenworks; Nancy Bond, Resource Conservation Coordinator, Portland Public Schools; Florence Williams
    Respondent: TBA
    Facilitator: David Cohen, The Intertwine Alliance

  • 12:20-12:30: Brain break, stretch, and healthy trail mix buffet
  • 12:30-1pm: Legacy transplant ceremony at the TLG site
  • 1-1:20: Break, trail mix fix, and The Nature Fix book signing
  • 1:20-1:50: Session Four – digging deeper and planting seeds: innovative applications of nature fixes

    Where do we go from here? How do we create opportunities for everyone to get their own nature fix? What role can PCC's Therapeutic Learning Garden play as a partner in this grand effort?

    Speakers: Florence Williams; Julie Concannon, Connecting People with Nature, USF&W; John Strawn, Global Golf Advisors
    Facilitator: Roger Anunsen

  • 1:50-2pm: Closing remarks from Jan Abushakrah
  • 2pm: The Nature Fix final book signing opportunity