For the last Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog post of 2014, we want to share an inspiring story of one of many schools that that is “greening” its schoolyard. The six gardens and overall ecoliteracy program at Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland, CA were spurred by Mary Schriner, who interviewed for a position there. When they asked her why she wanted to work at Cleveland Elementary, she responded, “Because your school looks like a prison yard, and I’d like to change that.” And she has changed both the school and grounds, and the lives of those who learn and teach there. One of the first conversations with her students began with the question, “What is a weed?” The project has been a tremendous success. Says Schriner, “I’ve had many, many moments when I’ve almost wanted to cry because I can feel the community happening, not because of me, but because of the natural world that we’re trying to create conditions for at the school. There’s been so much magic around the garden that I just have a lot of gratitude.”
December 30, 2014
September 22, 2013
Our sincere apologies for getting the word out about this conference this late. However, it’s an important one for the record, so I’m posting it anyway. If anyone is going, please report back!
Join Evergreen Brick Works and the International School Grounds Alliance for three days of inspiration and idea sharing with visionary leaders of the green school ground movement. The Nature School Conference takes place in Toronto, Ontario, September 23-25. Attendees are coming from as far away as Japan, Norway, and Australia.
Some of this year’s breakout sessions include Food and Gardens in Schools, The Need for Beneficial Risk (in school- and play yards), and Cultural Considerations in School Ground Design. The International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA) is a global network of organizations and professionals working to enrich children’s learning and play by improving the way school grounds are designed and used. Open year-round, Evergreen Brick Works is a community environmental centre that inspires visitors to live, work, and play more sustainably.
Along with plenary speakers and inspiring breakout sessions, a pre-conference tour of three local educational spaces takes place Sunday, September 22. To learn more about the conference offerings, plenary speakers, and presenters, visit the Evergreen web site. For even more information, Amal Musa, Conference Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-596-1495 ext.248.
Boston Children’s Hospital’s Prouty Garden under threat of demolition. Guest post by Clare Cooper Marcus
September 17, 2013
The Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital has, for generations of patients, family members, and staff, served as a much-loved retreat from the clinical atmosphere inside. The garden was created in 1956, sponsored by Mrs. Olive Prouty whose two children had died in the hospital. Now it is under threat of demolition as the hospital looks for space to expand on its very urban site.
A petition to save the garden has already garnered over 6,500 signatures, but they need more! Please sign and help spread the word. Newspaper articles and radio reports (see, for example, WBUR and The Boston Globe) have taken up the story to plead for the retention of this irreplaceable green oasis.
A Scientific American article last year called the Prouty Garden “one of the most successful hospital gardens in the country.” Though though constructed long before our research-based knowledge of the critical issues in hospital garden design – it is almost perfect as a restorative space in healthcare. (more…)
August 23, 2013
International Conference in Copenhagen and Malmö, September 2013
No matter the weather or the season, Nordic children can always be found playing outdoors. The upcoming conference, Nordic Adventure: Connecting Children with Nature, will feature keynote addresses and workshop presentations on the myriad opportunities for connecting children to nature in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The conference takes place September 10-13, 2013 in Copenhagen and Malmö. The registration deadline was August 20 (sorry, we’re a little behind on our blog posts) but if you act fast, you can probably squeeze in there.
Scandinavian nations have long since worked with adventure and nature playgrounds, school gardens and green school grounds, forest and outdoor preschools, education for sustainable development, and many other nature-based initiatives for children. The English-language conference will be a mixture of plenary sessions, presentations, site visits and social experiences.
For details and information on registration, contact the planning committee: email@example.com, and visit the conference site.
June 21, 2013
In addition to a host of seminars, attendees will have the chance to participate in tours of the Denver Urban Gardens, The Gardens on Spring Creek (Fort Collins, CO) and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (Cheyenne, WY). The event’s prime sponsor, The American Horticultural Society, has organized more than 50 workshops in six categories including Curriculum, Garden Design and Maintenance, Horticultural Science, Horticutural Therapy, Literature, and Policy.
The first of three keynote speakers is environmental psychologist Louise Chawla, Professor of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado.
As Associate Director of the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement. Marcia Eames-Sheavly is a senior lecturer as well as children and youth program leader for Cornell Garden-Based Learning in Ithaca, NY.
David Sobel, Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University in Keene, NH. He is the author of seven books and more than 60 articles focused on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators.
Pre-symposium garden tours July 10 and 11
Denver Urban Gardens supports one of the largest school garden networks in the United States. In this tour you will see three school gardens and learn how they foster community, health, and education. A youth-led farmer’s market at Fairview School Community Garden, a schoolyard farm at Denver Green School Community Garden supplying the cafeteria salad bar managed by Sprout City Farms, and integrated nutrition and science classes at Bradley International School’s Heather Regan Memorial Garden will be some of the dynamic aspects of youth gardening we will encounter.
The Gardens on Spring Creek and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are public gardens that serve as models for children’s gardening due to their dedicated interest in making gardens a safe, enjoyable, and educational environment for children and youth. Staff at each location will give personalized tours while highlighting the history and development of these children’s gardens, as well as their hands-on methods of educational programming.
A sampler of symposium workshops
- Benefits of School Gardens
- Cross-Curricular Cooking
- Slow Food in the Garden
- Little Budget, Big Impact! Hands-on Lessons, Few Supplies
- Sensory Gardens that Maximize Play
- Learning Gardens: Making Outdoor Education Irresistible, Relevant and Resilient
- Your Garden Toolkit: The Right Tools for a Children’s Garden
- Lessons for Today’s Children’s Garden Educators
- Discover Fun and Interesting Fruits and Veggies for the Garden
- Teachable Landscapes: Using Gardens for Informal Science Learning
The symposium is also offering three Horticultural Therapy sessions:
- Operating a Greenhouse with Special Needs Students
- Horticultural Therapy and Junior Master Gardeners
- Horticultural Therapy: Gardening with Pediatric Patients in a Hospital Environment
In 1993 the American Horticultural Society saw a need to reconnect children with nature, and created the first Children & Youth Garden Symposium. If you wish to register the July 2013 conference, visit the registration page. Learn more details by visiting the overview page which offers a day-by-day schedule of workshops and activities. If you have specific queries, contact the American Horticultural Society, 703.768.5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 2, 2013
April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day, and what better way to mark it than to showcase Natasha Etherington’s great new book, Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs.
There is scant literature and research in this field, so Etherington’s book is a welcome and timely addition.
The TLN encourages everyone interested in this subject to also join our Austim and Special Needs group on Linked In.
Here’s a blurb about the book from Jessica Kingsley Publishers:
A garden or nature setting presents the perfect opportunity for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and special needs to learn, play and strengthen body and mind. This book empowers teachers and parents with little gardening know-how to get outside and use nature to motivate young learners.
Using a mindfulness approach, Natasha Etherington presents a simple gardening program that offers learning experiences beyond those a special needs student can gain within the classroom. The book outlines the many positive physical, cognitive, sensory, emotional and social benefits of getting out into the garden and provides specially adapted gardening activities for a variety of needs, including those with developmental disabilities and behavioural difficulties, as well as wheelchair users. With a focus on the therapeutic potential of nature, the book shows that gardening can help reduce feelings of anxiety, provide an outlet for physical aggression, build self-esteem through the nurturing of plants and much more.
With this practical program, teachers and parents can easily adopt gardening activities into their schedules and enjoy the benefits of introducing children with special needs to nature and the rhythms of the seasons.
And here, also from JKP, is an interview with the author.
Special Needs Book Review also did a great write-up about the book and an interview with the author, which you can find HERE.
December 13, 2012
This is the fourth year for TLN Blog book recommendations (!). If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for someone special (including yourself), here are some recommendations for beautiful books with a healing garden theme that are sure to inspire you and your giftees. These are all books that I own and refer to again and again. There are more academic and educational books out there, which are listed on the TLN’s References page. When you buy from any of the Amazon links on this post, you’ll be supporting the Therapeutic Landscapes Network as well. Through the Amazon Associates program, the TLN receives a percentage of each book sale. This is true for Amazon purchase at any time of the year, so please bookmark the link and use it when you shop there. Of course, if you can find the books locally, all the better.
My new favorite book is Patty Cassidy’s The Illustrated Practical Guide to Gardening for Seniors: How to maintain your outside space with ease into retirement and beyond. It is so richly illustrated and will be useful to all gardeners and aspiring gardeners. However, the emphasis is really on gardening for seniors and others who have difficulty with the more physical challenges of gardening. It’s a valuable and beautiful addition to the gardening book library.
September 5, 2011
Engaging Our Grounds
2011 International Green Schoolyard Conference
September 16–18, 2011
Berkeley & San Francisco, California
I would so love to go to this conference.
The green schoolyard movement is growing rapidly and flourishing around the world. Schools near and far are re-imagining their grounds, replacing their extensive paved surfaces with a vibrant mosaic of outdoor learning and play opportunities. Schools in many different countries are leaders in this field, finding innovative ways to weave curricula into their landscapes, diversify their recreational offerings, enhance their local ecology, and reflect their unique location and cultural context.
We are at the forefront of a new paradigm that blends education, ecology, and urban sustainability. We invite you to join us and become an important part of this exciting movement by registering and supporting this ground-breaking event.
Participate in the first International Green Schoolyard Conference held in the United States—an exciting opportunity to learn about cutting edge schoolyards and school gardens, meet like-minded colleagues from around the world, share ideas, tour fantastic local school grounds (including the Berkeley Adventure Playground, pictured above), and get inspirational ideas for your own community.
Engaging Our Grounds will bring together leading green schoolyards practitioners from the United States and other countries to share the latest trends and innovations, case studies, best practices, and creative thinking in green schoolyard design, maintenance, curricula, advocacy, and funding partnerships. The conference will include a resource and networking fair, keynote presentations by visionary leaders of the school ground movement from Canada, England, Germany, Japan, and Sweden; tours of outstanding local school grounds; and networking time.
Learn more and register at www.greenschoolyards.org.
Thanks to Sharon Danks, conference organizer and author of the terrific new book Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, for this information and these images.
June 3, 2011
Last week, Painted Lady butterflies were released in the Olson Family Garden at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Gary Wangler, Horticulturist/Manager of Grounds Operations/Horticultural Therapist sent these photographs and this description:
“We do 2 releases each year. I get 100 larvae off the internet as a kit. The kids assemble the small containers with lids, place larvae food into each container, and in 3 weeks, we have butterflies. The last 3 days, I feed the butterflies with cotton balls that I have soaked with sugar water and on a nice day, we send word through the hospital about the release. At 1:00 in the Garden, patients and families come out to release the little winged creatures to the new world.”
This is the magic we can bring to people when they need it most.
The Olson Family Garden is one of the best examples of a children’s healing garden and rooftop healing garden. For more information, visit the St. Louis Children’s Hospital website, www.stlouischildrens.org/content/OlsonFamilyGarden.htm.
Many thanks, Gary, for these wonderful images! All photos by Gary Wangler. By consent of the guardian(s), these images may be used.
April 27, 2011
Hot off the press! InformeDesign’s latest issue of Implications (Vol. 9, Issue 1) just went live today, and it features an article by Naomi Sachs and Tara Vincenta, “Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism and Special Needs.” I mentioned this article in my April 13th blog post about Autism Awareness and Landscape Architecture month, but it had not come out yet.
So take a look by linking to the pdf here: http://www.informedesign.org/_news/april_v09-p.pdf.
And here is the resource list on autism and related disorders and children and nature mentioned in the article , which will also soon be available for download from the TLN Get Out and Play! page:
PDF of resources on autism and nature-based learning and play for InformeDesign’s ‘Implications’ (Vol. 9, Issue 1)
Tara Vincenta developed the Sequential Outdoor Learning (SOL) Environment and many of the design guidelines in our article are based on SOL Environment principles.
Many thanks to InformeDesign for giving me and Tara this platform to share our work. InformeDesign is an evidence-based design tool that transforms research into an easy-to-read, easy-to-use format for architects, graphic designers, housing specialists, interior designers, landscape architects, and the public. They are, in my humble opinion, one of the best resources out there.
And if you know of people who would benefit from the information in this post, please pass it on!