Brookside Gardens Stroll for Wellness


The positive benefits of exposure to nature and green spaces related to wellness are well-documented. A structured walk in a garden or park setting, in combination with reflective journaling, has proven to be invaluable and life-changing to community members suffering from the adverse effects of stress and trauma suffering from grief, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other types of trauma, all of which are becoming more prevalent in our society. The Morikami Japanese Gardens in Florida, the Bloedel Reserve in Washington, and other publicly accessible gardens have developed these types of guided wellness programs. These are often referred to as prescribed or suggested “strolls” that are mapped for improving mindful, active, and engaged contact with nature. A therapeutic walking program promotes well-being and resilience in the face of adversity. With the large population of veterans in Maryland communities, plus countless local medical providers serving clients suffering from a diverse challenges, Brookside Gardens is located and poised to serve these populations and improve wellness outcomes for a range of Maryland and regional residents. As Brookside Gardens is poised to expand on health and wellness programming, it has sought the assistance of the University of Maryland’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS). PALS assists local governments while offering valuable real-world problem-solving experience for graduate and undergraduate students. In spring 2018, the Landscape Architecture Program collaborated with PALS and Brookside Gardens to create a Special Topics Course (LARC 489Z) that offered research and technical support for the proposed “Stroll for Wellness” program. There are many populations near the Gardens who might benefit from guided wellness programming, including those suffering from trauma, depression or chronic illness. A growing body of research has documented nature’s healing effects and Brookside Gardens offers a safe, inspirational setting where visitors can immerse themselves in nature with the kinetic experience of moving through garden spaces, a resource that can spark creativity and introspection.


Final project for LARC489Z Special Topics (Spring 2018). University of Maryland, College Park.