As CEO and managing partner of Chicago-based executive search firm Hanold Associates LLC, Jason Hanold oversees a company focused on recruiting human capital for clients occupying a diverse range of industries. Outside of his leadership of Hanold Associates, Jason Hanold is a contributing member of the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), which supports the positive impact of exposure to natural environments on mental and physical health through services such as horticultural therapy.
Under the direction of a trained horticultural therapist, participants in this therapy gain an increased sense of physical, psychological, and emotional well-being through engagement in gardening, plant appreciation, and nature immersion. Working with plants has been shown by several studies to have beneficial effects on physiological indicators such as pulse, blood pressure, and rate of respiration. Additionally, people who are guided in structured interaction with plants experience psychosocial benefits that include a renewed connection with nature, reduced levels of stress, and relief from depression.
Seasonal horticultural therapy sessions have been designed and offered by CBG for over 40 years. Organizations can enroll their students, or patients, of any functional level, in therapy with CBG by either registering for a session at the Buehler Enabling Garden or commissioning a horticultural therapist to administer onsite sessions at their own location.
Sessions at the CBG’s Buehler Enabling Garden occur during the growing season between May and October, with no more than 15 participants per class, and involve activities ranging from seed planting to making floral arrangements. Onsite courses are provided year-round by CBG therapists who bring all required supplies to facilities throughout the Chicago area, serving students with special needs, residents of assisted-care facilities, and others.
Beyond these sessions, CBG horticultural therapy experts also perform consulting and guest-speaking engagements. At facilities planning to install a garden, therapists can help design the garden for ease of accessibility and optimum therapeutic benefit. Horticultural therapists can be requested for minutes-long to multiple-day seminars on topics such as the use of horticultural therapy with people suffering from specific impairments.