(New Albany, MS, December 2018)
The New Albany Garden Club and the Young Gardeners at the middle school recently got together for an exercise in woodland therapy. Garden club members brought fresh greenery including magnolia, cedar, and holly, from their own yards. Using snippers, wire cutters, wire, and recycled hangers, students were instructed how to make swags which would be used to decorate the halls at Dogwood Senior Living facility. “Putting together these swags for Dogwood with the students is an activity we look forward to every year”, Tanya Coombs, garden club president said, “It gives us a chance to get to know our future gardeners and provide them with an opportunity to do something nice for the seniors in our community.”
There is documented value in these types of activities for mental health and well-being. Research shows that participating in woodland therapy allows participants to feel empowered, develop their nurturing skills, as well as increase serotonin and dopamine levels. (https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2018/jul/26/a-path-to-wellbeing-the-growing-world-of-gardening-therapy)
Tracy Vainisi, Garden Club member and teacher at New Albany Middle School, commented, “As we head into semester exams and the busyness of the holidays, this is a great way for my students to spend what I feel is an hour of healthy living. They have a chance to communicate and learn alongside positive adults from the community while doing something nice for others. As an educator, I firmly believe that engaging in a hands-on activity and expressing their creative side is a fabulous way for my students to spend their time.” Following the work they did with the garden club, Vainisi’s students went on to make four additional swags for some of the support staff at the middle school.
Tracy Vainisi, New Albany Middle School
Categories: Local School