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Special Tree employees are constantly furthering their knowledge and education. This aspect is one that defines Special Tree from other Michigan based post-acute care services. But just because the company specializes in medical care doesn’t mean every class is medically themed.

One sunny Tuesday afternoon, Special Tree staff gathered with Greenhouse Coordinator Linda Davis in the newly constructed greenhouse to learn how to care for a different kind of patient: plants.

“I asked Linda if she would be interested in teaching a class because it’s part of the Day Treatment Services and the clients do this same kind of thing most days,” said Learning Systems Manager Mary Jo Hall. “A therapist that took this class might be more encouraged to bring clients by.”

The class began with a brief introduction from Greenhouse Coordinator Linda Davis, who gave attendees a brief background of her time in horticulture. From there, the class got to explore different activities that are available in the enclosure. It started with painting pots to show some of the creative options available in the greenhouse.

“We did the pot painting because I thought it would be a good activity that all different ability levels can participate in, just like the clients can and the class took to it pretty quickly,” said Davis. “The greenhouse is neat in that you can get a lot of different types of therapy. It’s definitely good for stress relief and everything from the smells to the activities are good for relaxation and taking your mind off things. I’ve had clients come out and just fall asleep in the sun.”

Many signed up for the class because of personal projects at home involving plants. Every staff member felt that they had learned something beneficial about horticulture, a few even looking forward to no longer being“plant assassins.” One staff-member present even mentioned that her garden“bottomed out” last year, but said this year the harvest was great.

“She gave us a lot of practical information that you can use at home or in your garden. That’s kind of what it made me want to attend,” said Hall. “It made me think of all the plants at home that might not be growing the way I want them to and how I could make them spread out and become more bountiful. The class was great: It was hands on, very creative, you get to nurture something and I got to go home with something. You could tell from the class that everyone walking out was a better, happier and calmer person. I attended because I’m the learning systems manager, but I came because I love plants.”

The greenhouse is located at Special Tree’s Romulus Neuro Care Campus. The next class in the greenhouse is tentatively scheduled for August.