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About Us

We founded the Association of Social Therapeutic Horticulture Facilitators in Ireland (ASTHFI) in 2022 out of a passion for empowering others through the medium of nature, whilst recognising the need for best practice exchange for STH facilitators within Ireland. In addition to a supportive community, we also provide our members with evidence-based resources, advice and opportunities to enable our registered facilitators to strengthen and grow their practice, and ultimately better help their clients.

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Our Story 

Our roots

Roots - Where we come from

We were a group of students who were studying Social Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) in Festina Lente. During the course of our studies we discovered that there was no existing association of STH facilitators in Ireland. Recognising the potential value that such a service could bring to STH facilitators in Ireland, we held out first meeting via via Zoom on March 22nd, 2022 and hence the ASTHFI was formed. We, the founding members, make up the management committee of the association. Since then, we have been working hard to grow the association and raise awareness of STH in Ireland.

ASTHFI management committee at launch of ASTHFI in 2023, McCauley Place, Naas

Our driving objectives are to provide a supportive network for STH facilitators across Ireland, offering opportunities for professional development, networking, and knowledge-sharing. As a relevant organisation, we are able to offer registered members Garda Vetting as an STH facilitator, which is vital to protect both the facilitator and the service user. We are committed to promoting the benefits of STH and to ensuring that STH is recognised as a valuable form of therapy in Ireland. Our members come from a range of backgrounds and have a diverse range of skills and expertise in STH. We welcome new members who share our passion for STH and our commitment to promoting the benefits of this therapy.

Thank you for visiting our website, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to find out more about our association.

Our management committee

Our mangement committee

Our management committee are passionate about improving best practice for Social Horticulture Therapy in Ireland and providing a supportive community for their registered members. Together, they help to run the association. 

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Tanya O'Brien

Founding member

Tanya O'Brien STH

With over 30 years of experience, Tanya graduated from the Botanic Gardens in 1990 and has been passionately working in the field ever since (learn more)

North Co. Wicklow

Mary Marsden

Founding member

Skerries STH

Engaging with nature, growing my own plants has always been a passion of mine. It has brought contentment both physically and emotionally to me... (learn more)

Skerries, Co.Dublin

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I'm 10 years working ad an SNA in a secondary school. I hope to use what I have learned as a SNA together with STH to work with teenagers with additional needs.

North Dublin, Co. Dublin


Elaine Dunwoody 

Founding Treasurer

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My experience in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture involves working with groups in various settings such as mental health recovery, young adults, intellectual disability and community groups.

Co. Dublin



Aoife Clavin 

Founding member

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Dr Sinéad O'Connor 


Associate lecturer in environmental management & sustainability in Open University. Head of Horticulture & sustainability services, Festina Lente Victoria Walled Garden. Mentor & trainer in QQI social & therapeutic horticulture facilitation.

Nicola Carroll 

Founding Chairperson


Wild Willow Gardens

Specializes in nature-based interventions for young people and those in the Foster Care system (learn more)

Louisburgh, Co.Mayo

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Edith Gordon 

Founding Secretary

Ingredients For Wellbeing

Specialises in delivering coaching, therapy and training for individuals and corporations to help develop a resilient lifestyle/workstyle within each person or organisation

Kells, Co. Kerry

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ATHFI members

ASTHFI Members

Get to Know Us

We are all Social Therapeutic Horticulture Facilitators registered with ASTHFHI. We share best practices in STH and a common goal of empowering our clients through therapeutic interventions in a way that connects mind, body, nature and space. We always put the needs of our clients first. 

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Colm O`Callaghan

 As a Chartered Community Horticulturist I engage with various community groups and organisations in setting up advising, training and mentoring in Sustainable Community Gardens and Social Therapeutic Horticulture Projects.


 Bray Co Wicklow

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Maria Rowlette

Maria offers therapeutic nature sessions. Maria can work therapeutically with individuals or in small groups. Her extensive Special Education experience supports her STH work. Maria would be delighted to chat and is happy to provide references on request. 


Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

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Hilary Delaney

Provision of group and individual Horticultural therapy programme’s for older people in extended care including those with physical and sensory deficit’s following stroke

087 622 5521


Marie Hirst

Marie Hirst

A calm, safe space to relax while nurturing and caring for plants in the beautiful Wicklow countryside!

083 097 8713

Arklow Co.Wicklow

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Helen Marie McCauley

Over ten years experience working with young adults with a physical or intellectual disability growing vegetables and flowers

087 773 5403

Ballincar Co. Sligo

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Trained as a Facilitator in STH at Festina Lente in Bray, County Wicklow in 2023 and qualified with Distinction QQI level 6 in Coaching. She set up Revive with Nature to share in the power of plants and nature to help others revive their social, physical and mental wellbeing.

Wicklow Town Co.Wicklow

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Carmel Ennis

With almost thirty years of experience facilitating people in their own gardens, in community spaces,

083 026 0982

Dublin 9  Co.Dublin

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Elizabeth O'Connell

Giving a Hands-on experience, teaching passing on life-long skills, and creating a new awareness in others of the utter joy and rewards that gardens and gardening can give through tailored programs. 
Peace, Quiet, Calm, Engaging the senses, awakening the powers of nature to heal and enrich a person's life.

087 6868256

 Abbeyleix Co. Laois

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Provision of group and individual Horticultural therapy programme’s for older people in extended care including those with physical and sensory deficit’s following stroke

087 622 5521


Find a registered STH facilitator near you!

Find a facilitator near you

Use the interactive map below to find a registered Social Therapeutic Horticulture facilitator near you. You can click on the map, drag the mouse to different locations, and zoom in and out. Clicking on a pin will show you more details such as the project name, facilitator name and contact details, their area of specialty. 

Learn more about our registered members. 

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