By Pat Newman
In 2015, New Jersey State Senator Kip Bateman, a representative for Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon County, introduced a bill to officially recognize the third full week in March as Horticulture Therapy Week in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill last May. The idea was to designate a week each year to raise awareness of Horticulture Therapy, and it’s many benefits, importance and value for people of all ages.
On the occasion of Horticulture Therapy Week, we recognize Lee Shahay - Parker's own Horticulture Specialist. Lee is often seen throughout Parker's homes tending to plants, preparing the garden soil, facilitating programs on every aspect of horticulture, or welcoming speakers to share their knowledge at a presentation. She has invited beekeepers and Master Gardeners to speak to our residents.
Lee's program, "Get Fresh with Lee," introduces a seasonal fruit or vegetable to the elders. Her program, "The History of the Produce," is followed by preparing a recipe or a tasting.
Lee shares her passion for gardening and knowledge of flowers & plants with care partners and elders at RR/LL/EGW and PAS. She introduces the children attending the Parker's Child Development Center to nature, and facilitates intergenerational horticulture programs with the Child Development Center and Parker's Adult Day Center.
Lee spreads her joy of horticulture and life, in general, with all people she meets. Parker thanks Lee for her many contributions to Parker and we join her in celebrating Horticulture Therapy Week in NJ, from March 20-26.