2018 CHTA Conference

Willow Springs Creative Centre Kaministiquia, ON
Thursday, Sept. 20 & Friday, Sept. 21, 2018

Thunder Bay, Ontario


The CHTA and Willow Springs Creative Centre invites you to spend a few days in northern Ontario at the upcoming CHTA’s annual conference. We encourage people from across Canada interested and working in the field of Horticultural Therapy and Therapeutic Gardening to gather to network, share ideas and experiences, gain more knowledge and work to strengthen the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association.

The theme of the conference is Connecting with the Land: Wellness through the Boreal Forest. Now in our history, the importance of people reconnecting with the land is essential. Facilitated or self-directed greencare, in whatever form it takes, needs to be promoted for all the benefits it provides. Workshop topics include: Opportunities to Bring HT into Grief & Dying, Therapeutic Gardening in the Correctional System, Self-Care: Boreal Teas & Body Products, Methods for Engaging All People in Nature, What the Boreal Forest Can Teach Us (Boreal Walk with an Elder). Thursday will be spent at Willow Springs Creative Centre just outside the city of Thunder Bay. Hands-on projects, great food, networking activities and more will get the conference rolling. Looking forward to seeing in September!


About Judi Vinni


I am the cofounder and Coordinator or Willow Springs Creative Centre in northwestern Ontario. Willow Springs is a progressive, inclusive social purpose enterprise that provides programming and training in art, therapeutic gardening and food services.


My background is varied. I began my career as an Athletic Therapist and love sports of all kinds. From there I became a project worker and then the Coordinator of the Northwestern Ontario Women's Health Information Network, a grass roots organization that developed health workshops and resources for isolated northern women. I became a Certified Life Skills Coach which allowed me to hone my facilitation and group dynamic skills. My love of mechanical things and working outdoors lead me to train as a Heavy Equipment operator. I went on to coordinate and teach in the Women into Trades and Technology program at Confederation College for ten years. I have been a professional willow furniture and sculpture maker for the past 19 years and have taught hundreds of people in the art of bent willow construction.


I have my Artist in Education Certificate from York University and have developed and offered nature based art classes for the past 20 years. Throughout my life I have always gardened and embraced being in nature. My passion for Horticultural Therapy grew as we established Willow Springs Creative Centre's gardens, nature paths and creative spaces.


I took the Horticultural Therapy Certification Program with Mitchell Hewson from 2008 to 2011. I have provided therapeutic gardening programming for seniors in long term care, children in treatment, with autism and in schools, youth in correctional facilities, people with mental health issues and more.


In 2015 in partnership with the Social Work department at Lakehead University I developed a Horticultural Therapy Certification Program and instructed the first course of the program in 2016.