President’s Message


Fung Yuen Yee, Connie, HTR (AHTA, HKATH), RSW, HKATH President

The 10th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture

Established in January 2008, in a blink of an eye, Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture (HKATH) has approached the 10th anniversary. Looking back how HKATH introduced the concept of horticultural therapy from overseas and took root in Hong Kong, it just like happened yesterday.  With the effort of the colleagues and members of HKATH during these 10 years, horticultural therapy is gaining popularity in Hong Kong. It is very encouraging to see that various health and social welfare organizations have started adopting horticultural therapy as one of their service delivery modes.


However, although awareness of horticultural therapy has increased a lot, its professionalism and recognition are not solid enough. One of our visions, based on the stringent training mechanism of HKATH, is facilitating the professionalism of horticultural therapy practitioners. Indeed, “PEOPLE” is a key factor to the sustainable growth of the horticultural therapy industry, talent development is undoubtedly one of the priorities in HKATH. Nowadays, there are HT courses offered by other institutions in HK. Comparing with them, the course requirements of HKATH’s are the most demanding. It is because our curriculum is modelled from the well-established and accredited courses of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). A very important and unique feature of our system is that learners are required to complete a supervised internship in various organizations in order to be qualified for professional registrations. This allows learners to put the theory into practice, serve the community and accumulate experience in one go. Each of our professional Registered Horticultural Therapists (RHT) has gained over 500 hours of theory studying and internship. We believe it is only through such intensive training to ensure that the learners are well-equipped before taking up a professional role to provide quality service for different target groups. Further on the road toward professionalism, an RHT who wants to join us in training aspect and promoting HT can become a supervisor or an instructor by continuing to accumulate practical experience and attending HKATH’s advanced courses. In addition to offering training courses, HKATH also provides platform for HT practitioners and learners at different levels to interact and exchange with overseas counterparts by organizing or participating in international conferences.  These occasions allow members to widen their horizon and upgrade their professional expertise. I believe that, in order to face challenges and keep progress, everyone in the HT industry should take continuing professional learning and skills upgrading more seriously, to acquire new skills and expertise so as to perform our professional roles in an effective way and deliver the professionalism at the highest standards.


Fung Yuen Yee, Connie, HTR (AHTA, HKATH), RSW, HKATH President

Moreover, HKATH has been striving for enhancing the recognition of horticultural therapy in Hong Kong in two major directions. Firstly, HKATH has collaborated with several universities, hospitals and social welfare organizations in conducting academic researches on the applications of horticultural therapy on various target groups. By collecting qualitative and quantitative evidences, horticultural therapy, with the evidence-based studies, could be proved to be beneficial to our local community. With the support from the studies, we could explore the best ways to implement horticultural therapy in Hong Kong. In the recent years, HKATH has conducted several research studies in exploring the effectiveness of horticultural therapy on demented elderly persons in nursing homes, frail elders, patients under palliative care, persons with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Haven of Hope Hospital, Pentecostal Church of Hong Kong, Pok Oi Hospital and Fu Hong Society, and the results of the studies are promising. Secondly, HKATH continues to raise the public awareness of horticultural therapy, as well as the availability of professional services offered by well-trained HT practitioners, through organizing different kinds of promotional activities, participating in community activities and accepting interviews from mass media. We hope more organizations are willing to adopt horticultural therapy as treatment for bringing medical and psychological benefits to their patients, and HKATH members are able to make use of what they have learnt in horticultural therapy in their careers, so as to bring forth a win-win or even multi-win situation.


I firmly believe that HKATH has to play a strategic role in contributing to the development of the horticultural therapy industry in Hong Kong. With our available capacities, we also wish to share our valuable experience with counterparts in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, so as to introduce authentic horticultural therapy to more regions in Greater China, . To this end, we have already and successfully commenced training programmes and internship programmes in these areas over the past few years.


Fung Yuen Yee, Connie


HKATH President

2015 Rhea McCandliss Professional Service Award (AHTA) recipient

1 April 2018