National Garden Bureau, Sakata Seed America Award Grants to Three Horticulture Therapy Gardens

Monarch School of New England
Monarch School of New England

After two weeks of online voting, and with more than 16,000 votes, National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America have selected three therapeutic gardens to receive grants totaling $5,000.

The three winning gardens are:

First place vote-recipient and winner of a $3,000 grant: The Monarch School of New England, Rochester, NY

The Monarch School of New England (MSNE) is a unique, comprehensive, private, non-profit, year-round, specialized, day school for students, 5 to 21 years of age, with severe physical, intellectual, emotional, medical, and developmental disabilities. MSNE’s programs, located on two sites, are based on an integrated team approach and a vast array of traditional and innovative programs, including horticultural therapy. The first site is the elementary/middle school, which has just completed an outdoor classroom/therapeutic garden after eight years of planning and fundraising. The second site is the brand new high school/vocational training center, which includes an indoor horticulture room as well as outdoor space to create a therapeutic garden. As with all endeavors at MSNE, planning the high school therapeutic garden is a collaborative process; therapists from all disciplines, special educators, students, and administrators work together to ensure a design that is user-friendly to all. Led by a full-time horticultural therapist who is also an occupational therapist, group, and individual horticultural therapy sessions focus on decreasing stress while addressing individualized therapeutic goals as identified in the students’ Individualized Education Programs. The outdoor environment is a valued element in the therapeutic and educational programming at MSNE, and the therapeutic garden provides a safe and motivating place for students and staff to interact with plants and nature.

Second place vote-recipient and winner of a $1,000 grant: University of Wisconsin (UW)-Extension Milwaukee County, Wauwatosa, WI

Since 2012, the 1-acre Vets Healing Garden site has been a partnership between UW-Extension, Veterans Affairs, and Milwaukee County open to all veterans of military service, primarily consisting of veterans from the Vietnam War. The Vets Healing Garden is coordinated by a VA Readjustment Counselor. Through a partnership with UW-Extension, Veterans Affairs, Milwaukee County House of Corrections, and private donors, a greenhouse, brick patio, meeting house, rainwater cistern, and tool shed with tools were donated and constructed using Milwaukee County House of Corrections inmate and volunteer labor. A second partnership provides accessible garden and therapeutic horticulture programming for individuals with disabilities at Wil-O-Way Grant and Wil-O-Way Underwood. Wil-O-Way Grant therapeutic gardening programming serves adult individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities such as dementia, autism, and traumatic brain injuries in the adult day care program provided by Adult Day Services of Southeastern Wisconsin LLC. UW-Extension facilitators work in collaboration with Adult Day Services case managers and recreation assistants to deliver horticultural programming suitable to each individual on a weekly basis.

Third place vote-recipient and winner of a $1,000 grant: XDS Inc. – The Farm at Penny Lane, Pittsboro, NC

Since 2014, the Horticultural Therapy Program (HTP) of the North Carolina Botanical Garden has provided weekly horticultural therapy sessions for adults with serious and persistent mental illness at the Farm at Penny Lane, located in Chatham County, North Carolina. The Farm is operated by XDS Inc., a local nonprofit that provides holistic and sustainable community-based services to adults living with serious mental illness in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each week, eight to 10 adults participate in garden-related education, gardening work, and group therapy time for sharing and reflection. There is currently no charge for the program. Operations at the farm, including the HTP, are supported by a combination of funds from University of North Carolina sources, grants, and private donations.

National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America recognize all 47 of the worthwhile grant applicants that are listed on the NGB website. NGB encourages support of these and other therapeutic gardens by the industry, local communities, and individuals:

For more information about National Garden Bureau, contact Diane Blazek.

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