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Leah Diehl Named 2024 Outstanding Educator by FNGLA


Elizabeth “Leah” Diehl, a UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department lecturer, has been named the 2024 Outstanding Educator by FNGLA.


Leah Diehl manages the Undergraduate Program in Horticultural Therapy for the Environmental Horticulture Program. She also directs the Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Wilmot Gardens at UF, where she creates programming for diverse populations and participates in research studies examining the impact of plants and nature on quality of life and wellness. Leah is a registered horticultural therapist and a licensed landscape architect emphasizing healing gardens and therapeutic design and programming. She began her work in horticultural therapy in Chicago in 1993, where she started a therapeutic and pre-vocational program for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. She served as Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture for 15 years. She also works with the National Parks Board of Singapore in their efforts to bring therapeutic horticulture and therapeutic gardens to their citizens.

This award is for her success in both educating and healing through work with plants. Her initiative in expanding therapeutic horticulture was rewarded in October when President Sasse announced a university strategic fund grant of $474,604 for the use of therapeutic horticulture to support the mental health of 80 students per semester.

FNGLA (Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association) is the nation's largest state nursery and landscape association, FNGLA represents Florida's nursery and landscape industry which generated $31.4 billion total output sales in 2020 and directly employed 266,000+ people.