FREDONIA - The State University at Fredonia will host a two-part series, "Horses, Hounds and Healing Arts: Animal-Assisted Learning and Therapy Programs," with the first session from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20.
Bruce Klonsky and Nancy Gee, SUNY Fredonia psychology professors, and Sandra Vedovato, a psychologist, are hosting the series to allow participants to hear from experts in the fields of animal-assisted learning and therapy.
Part one will focus on horse/equine therapy and will be held in the Williams Center's Horizon Room on the Fredonia campus.
Debbi Fisher, left, operations director for the Rainier Therapeutic Riding Center in Yelm, Wash., will be among the leaders of an equine therapy workshop at the State University at Fredonia on Oct. 20. Ms. Fisher has served many members and veterans of the armed forces through an equine therapy program she co-founded in 2008.
Claudia Monroe, a physical therapist, hippotherapist and founder of the Centaur Stride Therapeutic Riding center in Westfield, and Debbi Fisher, operations director for the Rainier Therapeutic Riding Center in Yelm, Wash., will speak and serve as workshop leaders in discussing equine-assisted program services. Ms. Monroe has served individuals with medical and mental health challenges in Chautauqua County for 20 years, while Ms. Fisher, a path-certified riding instructor, has served members of the armed forces in the program she co-founded in 2008. Fisher is also the mother of a daughter and son serving in the armed forces, as did her late husband.
The second session to be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will focus on canine therapy topics and feature Dr. Gee and Jonell Belcher. Gee is a Mars Corporation Fellow in human-animal interaction whose professional research has revealed the positive effects which dogs have on the motor and cognitive skills of young children. Ms. Belcher is a 2010 SUNY Fredonia graduate and a military veteran who recently obtained her master's in social work with an animal-assisted social work certificate from the University of Denver.
Representatives from schools, medical and mental health facilities, senior programs, civil service organizations like fire and police, military organizations and prison programs may benefit from the program.
Each event's morning keynote session, as well as the special planning session about military and civilian responder programming on Oct. 20, are free and open to the public. Advanced registration by today is required. There is a $12 fee, which includes lunch. Campus and community groups are welcome to sponsor an individual's attendance at workshops.
Funding has been provided by the SUNY Fredonia Convocation Committee as well as the Faculty-Student Association. For more information or to register, call Dr. Klonsky at 673-3892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.