About

our vision and mission

Our vision is to be a leading representative organisation for Australian Therapeutic Horticulture.

Our mission is to foster and support evidence-based, ethical and person-centred therapeutic horticulture in Australia and develop a robust, professional and ethical industry that is widely recognised, valued and utilised.

THA National Committee

Tara Graham-Cochrane

President

Tara is an internationally award-winning Landscape Architect who specialises in the design of healing and therapeutic landscapes for the healthcare, aged care, disability and education sectors across Australia. Tara is a strong believer that physical environments can be designed to reduce stress, improve health and to support people’s wellbeing.

Residing in Adelaide, SA, Tara is the Director of DesignWELL Landscape Architects, a landscape architecture firm that specialises in therapeutic landscapes. She has a passion for enabling people to connect with nature through therapeutic horticulture and is a founding member of THA. Prior to THA forming, Tara was President of Horticultural Therapy S.A and has been strongly active in bringing together the therapeutic horticulture community in South Australia.  Tara understands the importance of the physical environment in the lives of older Australians and is the S.A. Environmental Design Consultant for Dementia Training Australia. A government funded organisation who educates aged care providers on enabling and supportive care of people living with dementia. Tara is also the author of ‘Gardens that Care: Planning Outdoor Environments for People with Dementia’ and is well know around the aged care conference circuits as a speaker on dementia enabling landscapes.

Kate Neale

Vice President

Dr Kate Neale holds concurrent research positions at the Centre for Children and Young People (Southern Cross University) and Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (National Parks Board, Singapore). She is also a full member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture. Kate is a childhood studies and disability studies researcher with a particular interest in the therapeutic benefits of time spent in greenspaces. 
Kate specialises in ethical methodologies for involving kids, people with cognitive disability or vulnerable communities meaningfully in horticulture to foster esteem, wellbeing and belonging.  She has written therapeutic gardening programs in the contexts of early years education, schools, aged care, disability & social housing; presents nationally and internationally on the topic; is a regular contributor to Australian Hort. Journal, has written for ABC’s Organic Gardener Magazine, Garden Clinic magazine and Singapore’s award winning CITYGREEN magazine. In 2018, Kate was invited to curate an educational exhibit on urban farming at the Chelsea Flower Show. In the same year she received an Australian Institute of Horticulture Award for her contributions to therapeutic horticulture.

Doug Twentyman

Secretary

Doug lives in Lake Macquarie, NSW and has been involved in horticulture for over 40 years as a partner in a wholesale propagation nursery, horticulture teacher, garden maintenance, design and horticultural consultant.  The inclusion of horticulture into therapeutic applications over the last 4 or 5 years has provided an avenue of great interest and enthusiasm. 

Particular areas of interest in horticulture and nature-based activities include training of allied health workers into sustainable outdoor activity practises across all sectors. Of particular interest is aged care, mental health and community gardens with the inclusivity these settings bring to enhancing people’s lives.

Luis Renato Arriola Garcia

Treasurer

Luis’ career in Horticulture started in 2015 when he was appointed Chairman of the Kilburn Peace and Welcome Community Garden (KPWCG). The overarching goal of this multi-award winning community project was to support Asylum Seekers to overcome social isolation and language barriers, thus facilitating their integration to the wider Australian community.

 This was achieved through engaging participants in meaningful activities related to food and gardening.  Throughout the years, participants have reported that these activities have been key in the reduction of their stress and anxiety as newly arrived elements of the community.

His success at KPWCG led him to participate in other similar projects. He is currently a board member and Treasurer of Therapeutic Horticulture Australia (THA), as well as Coordinator at Greenacres Community Garden. He is also an active member in both the Latin American and mainstream Australian communities. He shares his knowledge through annual Horticulture Therapy courses and presented at the Australian Therapeutic Landscapes Conference (2017).

Nowadays his entrepreneurial drive led him to become the Managing Partner of Tutor Doctor, launching in SA, the top ranked in-home education premium one-on-one in-home and on-line tutoring services in Adelaide Metro. This while keeping a work-life balance and continued participation in both community gardens.

Carol Twentyman

Committee

Carol lives in Lake Macquarie, NSW and has been practicing horticulture for over 25 years, including many years as a horticulture educator. She is a partner in Twentyman Horticultural Consultants and is passionate about the therapeutic benefits of gardens and gardening for people of all capabilities.

Carol has participated in and is enthusiastic about therapeutic horticulture research and application.  She has delivered therapeutic horticulture workshops and social garden activities in the Lake Macquarie/Newcastle region as well as volunteering at a day respite centre for people with dementia. Carol has a particular interest in working with seniors, aged care and the aged care with dementia sectors. 

amy Baker

Committee

Dr Amy Baker is a researcher and lecturer based within the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of South Australia. Her research explores people’s experiences, perceived benefits and challenges of engaging in nature and gardening. Other areas of research that Amy undertakes include: creative arts for wellbeing, the health of veterans and first responders, as well as the use of sensory approaches to promote mental health and well being.

Amy mainly undertakes qualitative research, in particular participatory action research and the use of creative methods, but also some mixed methods research. Previous research projects Amy has undertaken or supervised in relation to therapeutic horticulture and nature-based activities include: horticulture therapy in a hospital setting, nature play for young people and the meanings and benefits of community gardening. Amy is a gardener, nature lover, conservationist and certified forest bathing and nature therapy guide.

Rebecca Taylor

Committee

Rebecca is a Social Ecologist who applies a creative, nature-based, approach to her work in Community Development, Capacity Building, Adult Education and within her private Counselling practice.

Rebecca is the Founder and Director of Wyld Work Projects which facilitates creative, natured-based projects that tackle inter-generational disadvantage, social isolation and anti-social behaviour with a particular focus on addressing the underlying trauma behind those challenges.

Rebecca has an extensive history with Community and School-based gardens, and has played a central role in establishing a number of gardens in Tasmania and Victoria. Her most adventurous gardening project to date has been ‘Greening the Mall.’ A project which utilised the benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture in reducing social isolation and addressing anti-social behaviour in the local CBD. Her newest project is working on establishing a therapy farm and gardens in the Greater Geelong region – Spell Garden Therapy Farm

Our 2021 Committee

We welcome our new 2021 committee members, Rebecca Taylor, Amy Baker and Dom White. 

Sponsors

THA Sponsorship opportunities allow organisations and businesses with an interest in therapeutic horticulture the opportunity to connect with those working in the field and promote their offerings to an Australian and growing International audience. To register to receive our sponsorship prospectus, please email: vicepresident@tha.org.au.

Foundational sponsors

Conference sponsor