Case Study – Changing Leaves with Natural Academy

3 min read

Scotland's Rural college at Scone
Changing Leaves / Natural Academy – Horticulture Therapy

Emilie Griffin began her journey with nature at a very early age. Her parents would take her brother and her for walks and bike rides, they’d go wild camping and spend a lot of time in the garden. Now she works through Changing Leaves – ecotherapy to build personal growth and understanding.

Initial Direction

“When it was time to decide what I wanted to do for a career I knew I wanted to help people but didn’t know how. I studied horticulture for 2 years, with the aim of continuing in horticultural therapy, but unfortunately the course closed.

Since then, I have experienced different roles within the horticultural industry before settling into the role of a horticultural teacher. I started working at a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities school where I was inspired by the way the students reacted to nature. This motivated me to complete a course in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, so that I could start facilitating interventions.

The students’ behaviour improved and social interactions saw a change for the better, which had a positive effect on their wellbeing. This started to lead me down a path of self-discovery, looking at what the natural world could offer us all in our everyday life, and how it can help us with our health, whether physical or psychological. I believe nature has such an important role for wellbeing and social interaction, no matter what age you are.”


Changing Leaves Changing Leaves Changing Leaves


“In 2017 I experienced loss through suicide. Although grief played an important role in my decision making, I decided I wanted to learn more about how nature can help people with a range of mental health issues. I had finally decided how I wanted to help people, through nature connection. This is when I began a 3-year course in Ecopsychology. And now, here I am, helping others, to help nature, to help others”

Chelsea 2024

Now in 2024 Emilie and Changing Leaves are working with Natural Academy to create a garden for RHS Chelsea. Natural Academy works with individuals and organisations offering accredited training courses in nature-based practices for health.  We are a not-for-profit Eco Social Enterprise whose mission is to help people and nature recover and flourish together.

The Garden – Nature’s Kinship

The Message – ‘One Health’ – People and nature together

The relationship we hold with our self, our community and our natural environment all contribute towards our health and wellbeing. At Natural Academy we hold that health is a holistic sum of interacting connections including our personal wellness of mind and body in relationship with other people, friends, family and community. Our whole health is held within a connection to the natural world around us.

This is  our ‘One Health’ approach and this garden focuses on the balance between personal, social and ecological health, Nature’s Kinship.


Natural Academy


If you’re not heading to Chelsea then come and learn how you can grow fruit and vegetables in any space. Whether you have a garden, courtyard, windowsill or balcony, there are so many fruits and veg to choose from. If you are a little confused about what’s what and how to help the plants thrive then come along and we will offer expert advice and a cuppa!

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