The three winning gardens are:
The Monarch School of New England, Rochester, New Hampshire
First place vote-recipient; winner of a $3,000 grant.
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 8 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.
University of Wisconsin-Extension Milwaukee County, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Second place vote-recipient; winner of a $1,000 grant.
Since 2012, the one-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.
Wil-O-Way Underwood 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 administered by Goodwill Industries. UW-Extension facilitators work in collaboration with Goodwill Industries case managers and recreation assistants to deliver horticultural programming suitable to each individual’s needs on a weekly basis for one to two hours. In addition, the adult day care program utilizes the space adjacent for the gardens for outdoor activities such as picnics and light exercise.
XDS Inc. – The Farm at Penny Lane, Pittsboro, NC
Third place vote-recipient; winner of a $1,000 grant.
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, 8 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.