Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society believes (PHS) in the power of horticulture to make positive social and environmental change. Driven by a diverse community of more than 300,000 supporters, volunteers, and gardeners, PHS uses all its activities to advance four impact priorities:
- Creating healthy living environments
- Increasing access to fresh food
- Expanding economic opportunity
- Building meaningful social connections
PHS participated in a compilation of carefully conducted research by Nature Sacred and UPenn that examined how green spaces in cities positively affect health and safety. Presented below is a short summary of “The Nature Health Connection” as well as a spotlight of the game-changing women leaders within the PHS organization.
As found on page four of the comprehensive report, “The Healing Power of Nature: How Green Space is Improving Health and Wellbeing in Cities:”
The Nature-Health Connection
What we know.
An increasing number of diverse research disciplines are now immersed in understanding the nature-health connection: social scientists to epidemiologists, neuroscientists to physicians. As a result, the growing body of scientific evidence is gradually nudging nature into the realm of public health and traditional medicine as a tool healthcare providers can use to promote healthy living. This is evidenced through the development of therapeutic gardens in hospital settings and physician-administered nature prescription programs. A decided shift is afoot. This report, a collaboration between Nature Sacred, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and growing the number of small, accessible urban green spaces, Dr. Eugenia South, a physician-scientist with expertise in the health benefits of nature, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, compiles some of the most recent evidence underscoring the health benefits of nature. While not an exhaustive review of the full body of existing literature, we highlight high-impact studies across a range of outcomes. We present the research in such a way that time-crunched urban planners, administrators and decision-makers, healthcare providers and public health officials, and community foundations can gain a quick briefing, absorbing key facts that help strengthen and inform decisions around the development of green infrastructure in cities and communities, and suggest ways to connect people with nearby nature (Nature Scared 4).
To learn more visit: https://phsonline.org/
Game Changing Women of PHS
Julianne Schrader Ortega – Vice President and Chief of Healthy Neighborhoods
Julianne Schrader Ortega, the VP and Chief of Healthy Neighborhoods at PHS, builds and drives horticultural and equity-centered strategies to scale the impact of gardening on health and wellbeing in communities across greater Philadelphia. Julianne advances partnerships and
leverages resources to scale the impact of neighborhood leaders working to garden together and create livable environments, grow economic opportunity, increase access to fresh food and buildsocial connections in their communities.
Julianne received her B.S. in Biology from Trinity College and has worked around the world to transform land use and empower communities to work toward sustainable and just food systems. As Director of the Citywide School Garden Initiative with GrowNYC, Julianne worked with government agencies and non-profit organizations to connect 400 New York City public schools with the funding, training, and materials needed to start and sustain learning garden programs. She also spent over a decade with the Rainforest Alliance.
Malini Doddamani – Chief Marketing Officer
Malini Doddamani is the Chief Marketing Officer and oversees PHS’s Marketing function, consisting of Creative Services, Sales, Marketing, and Communications. As a part of the Executive Team, Doddamani helps to further PHS’s Vision 2027 plan, a strategy that fully commits PHS to using horticulture to advance the health and well-being of the Greater Philadelphia region. Malini actively engages a diverse community of more than 300,000 supporters, volunteers, and gardeners and helps to grow PHS’s brand recognition as a leader in horticulture.
Amanda Morales Pratt – Director of Strategic Initiatives
Amanda Morales Pratt is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at PHS, where she designs and implements major and transformative philanthropic opportunities, growing revenue so the program initiatives can increase PHS’s overall impact. Amanda leads a team focused on prospect research to create spectacular experiences for supporters, including travel and events. Amanda has been with PHS since July 2018 in the Development department.
Amanda is a seasoned development professional who has worked in both grassroots fundraising and in the foundation world, having previously served as the Director of Development at Bread and Roses Community Fund, and Development and Marketing Manager at Norris Square Neighborhood Project. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College and Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership from La Salle University.
Mindy Maslin – Program Manager for Tree Tenders
As an environmental activist and community organizer, Mindy Maslin founded PHS Tree Tenders over 30 years ago when she saw taking care of Philadelphia’s trees as an opportunity to develop a neighborhood-based citizen stewardship program and revitalize neighborhoods. Since 1993, the PHS Tree Tenders program has been empowering volunteer-based community groups
to plant and care for trees where they live. The program provides workshops in tree planting and care, advocacy, and volunteer group organization. PHS has trained more than 6,000 people in the Philadelphia region and beyond who have gone on to lead volunteers in planting over 25,00 trees since its inception. Mindy has developed and facilitated hundreds of Tree Tenders trainings and
events and certified thousands of Tree Tenders to improve the health, resilience, and quality of their towns and neighborhoods through the power of trees. The program is at the forefront of the urban tree movement across the country and has been adopted by many cities.
She led the initiative to make the program and educational materials accessible to Spanish speaking and environmental justice communities and has developed multiple advanced and special training series. She adapted Tree Tenders trainings to make them virtual during the pandemic, ultimately doubling the number of participants.
Sally McCabe – Associate Director of Community Education and Community Gardens
Sally McCabe is the Associate Director of Community Education and Community Gardens at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). In this role, she is instrumental in leading PHS’s Garden Tenders and Green City Teachers programs and instructs gardeners and educators via workshops that service hundreds of people annually. Sally prompts change at the neighborhood level by working directly with community members. Through the asset-based community development approach, Sally supports under-served communities by helping them recognize and dial into their pre-existing strengths, resources, and materials, and then encourages them to harness the strengths and resources of those in their immediate circles to help sustain their garden and support one another in their urban growing endeavors. Sally has been involved with gardening and horticulture for almost 50 years because she passionately believes that it can change the world, one community garden at a time. For 40 of these years, Sally has been at the forefront of PHS Garden Tenders and Green City Teachers.
Marquita Heard – Healthy Neighborhoods Operations Manager
Marquita Heard is PHS’s Healthy Neighborhood Operations Manager where she oversees greening and engagement initiatives to improve health and quality of life in priority communities. Marquita supports community engagement and grows PHS’s network of qualified for-profit and nonprofit companies and oversees their work to install street trees, green vacant lots, and build mini-parks to improve wellbeing in Southwest and West Philadelphia.
After interning with the PHS Trees team, Marquita joined PHS fulltime in 2015 where she started as a Field Specialist for the Philadelphia LandCare program that cleans and greens vacant lots. In this role, Marquita helped monitor the Philadelphia LandCare inventory across the city, helped lead community engagement including presenting at community meetings and stewarding relationships with neighborhood stakeholders. In 2020, she was promoted to the Community LandCare Manager where she led and developed qualified community-based organizations to clean vacant lots, designed training workshops, evaluated, and promoted successes, while ensuring that the program was delivered on time and with high quality.
Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society