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, we worked with partners like Tufts University to assess the animal- and horticultural-based interventions the facility specializes in. We believe the research and ingenuity achieved by collaborating with partners like Tufts is needed to uncover unique insights and develop more effective interventions.

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, Tufts University, Oregon State University and Green Chimneys.

Discover Research at DU

Kevin Morris

Kevin Morris is a research associate professor with the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work and the Institute for Human Animal Connection, where he serves as American Humane Endowed Chair. His work explores the various ways in which humans and animals are intertwined, with a particular focus on animal-assisted interventions and the reciprocal impacts between companion animals and communities.