NGB Awards Therapeutic Garden Grants
This year nearly 60,000 votes were cast to determine the winners. The three winning gardens are: Beyond Boundaries, Ward, Arkansas; Kenny Rogers Children’s Center Sensory Garden, Sikeston, Missouri; and Insight Garden Program, Berkeley, California.
· First place vote-recipient ($3,000 grant) — Beyond Boundaries, Ward, Arkansas
Beyond Boundaries is an equine-assisted therapy center (pictured above) that provides skilled therapy services to children and adults with disabilities. Founded in 2003, Beyond Boundaries was conceived by a group of therapists and other individuals who identified the need for a dedicated equine-assisted therapy center to offer unduplicated services for individuals with disabilities in the rural areas of central Arkansas. Beyond Boundaries employees licensed speech, occupational and physical therapists that provide specialized services to children and adults with disabilities.
Beyond Boundaries is located in central Arkansas and is currently home to a herd of horses trained specifically for use in therapy sessions. The unique setting and atmosphere that Beyond Boundaries fosters promote interaction with and awareness of the outdoor environment. To expand its therapeutic offerings, add to the beauty of the natural setting and develop a safe place for outdoor exploration, Beyond Boundaries is currently working to design and develop a Sensory Garden.
The purpose of the Sensory Garden is to provide a natural environment for these individuals to therapeutically interact with nature in a way that promotes stimulation of all five senses. These types of gardens are especially beneficial to individuals who have sensory processing issues, although people of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy the garden and its benefits.
· Second place vote-recipient ($1,000 grant) — Kenny Rogers Children’s Center Sensory Garden, Sikeston, Missouri
The Kenny Rogers Children’s Center is an outpatient pediatric therapy center whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children with special needs and their families throughout the community and region by providing a wide array of superior developmental and therapeutic services. The Kenny Rogers Children’s Center Sensory Garden is located on the grounds of the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center. This 1,600 square foot garden is designed for sensory exploration and enrichment providing a space where children of all ability levels can be immersed in the scents, textures, colors, and sounds of the outdoors. The garden will be fully accessible to children of all ages and to those who use any type of assistive device.
The Kenny Rogers Children’s Center services children with all types of special health care needs and developmental delays including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, prematurity, muscular dystrophy, ADHD, sensory processing dysfunction, and many other developmental disorders.
· Third place vote-recipient ($1,000 grant) — Insight Garden Program, Berkeley, California
Insight Garden Program (IGP) facilitates an innovative environmental education curriculum combined with vocational gardening and landscaping training, so that people in prison can reconnect to self, community, and the natural world. This “inner” and “outer” gardening approach transforms lives, ends ongoing cycles of incarceration, and creates safer communities. The program operates at the intersection of environment, criminal justice, and physical, behavioral, and mental health issues and provides people in prison with the tools and resources needed to become role models for others in prison, and in their communities upon release.
Since 2002, Insight Garden Program has successfully managed a program on H-Unit at San Quentin Prison. Over the past 16 years, IGP has designed, installed and maintained two gardens on H-Unit and has worked with over 1000 participants, many of whom have gone on to be successfully employed by green sector employers including our community partner Planting Justice.
National Garden Bureau, American Meadows and Sakata Seed America would like to recognize all 73 of the worthy 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.
The judges who read through all 73 applications and narrowed them down to the three finalists deserve a huge thank you. Those judges are:
- Patty Cassidy, vice president of the American Horticultural Therapy Association
- Barbara Kreski, director, Horticultural Therapy Services, Chicago Botanic Garden
- Julie Tracy, president, Julie+Michael Tracy Family Foundation/Growing Solutions Farm
- Alecia Troy, senior marketing manager, Sakata Seed America
- Mike Lizotte, owner/managing partner at American Meadows
- Tim Hodson, editorial director at Lawn & Garden Retailer/Greenhouse Product News and NGB president