The Green Chimneys Projects

Understanding Nature-Based Interventions in Treatment Environments

Our Partnership

Brewster, New York's Green Chimneys is a residential treatment and special education facility for students with serious psychosocial challenges. Here, researchers from the University of Denver worked with scholars from Oregon State University to assess the animal- and horticulture-based interventions the facility specializes in. Through this collaboration, the team worked to develop a better understanding of the links between the natural environment and human health factors.

About Our Research

We leverage cross-institutional collaboration to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, producing interdisciplinary solutions that influence policymakers to effectively serve the public good. From Stanford to UChicago to NYU, we’ve refined our collaborative process through years of mutually beneficial relationships with institutions nationwide to understand and address challenges like climate change, HIV and youth homelessness.

DU’s current research efforts have been featured in news outlets like The New York Times. They include…

  • exploring the effects of felony disenfranchisement.
  • employing lasers as the medium for quantum science.
  • using theatre to heal and rehabilitate inmates.

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About the Project

Green Chimneys is a summer camp and residential treatment facility that believes in the healing power of nature. As such, it's an ideal place to explore the effectiveness of interventions that rely on contact and connection with animals, plants and the surrounding environment. 

As part of the effort to study the use of these types of interventions, we developed a new methodology suited to such a complex clinical environment. The methodology was designed to measure self-regulation skills and positive youth development, which revealed insights into the use of environment-based interventions.

This project is a collaboration between the University of Denver, Oregon State University, Tufts University and Green Chimneys.

Discover Research at DU

Kevin Morris

Kevin Morris is the American Humane Endowed Chair and Research Associate Professor at DU's Graduate School of Social Work and the Institute for Human-Animal Connection. Through a focus on the connections between natural ecosystems and human health, he utilizes his two decades of experience in clinical and preclinical cancer research to explore new areas of study that illuminate better health interventions for people, animals, and the natural world.