Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Major

Environmental Horticulture

Advisor(s)

Stephanie Burnett

Committee Members

Charlene Gray, Jessica Leahy, Jennie Woodard

Graduation Year

May 2022

Publication Date

Spring 5-2022

Abstract

As students in Maine are subject to harsh winters and a disconnectedness due to the pandemic, the creation of an ecotherapy focused garden may benefit the community at the University of Maine. Mental health is a rising concern within the United States, where anxiety has been the most frequent in students at 62.7% from a survey conducted by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (Son et al., 2020). Ecotherapy is the practice of holistic psychology where healing is derived from interactions with the surrounding ecosystem (Summers and Vivian, 2018). Through literature review and gardening, this creative project provides a green space on campus with the potential to supplement psychological treatments related to mental health. Landscape design principles and horticultural practices were implemented to create a pleasant, interactive space for community. Plants were chosen based on aesthetic value, ecosystem services, and functionality with the space. Community members were invited to participate in gardening, hanging bird seed, and attend a garden tea party to promote awareness and interactions within the area. With assessments of plant health, mortality, therapeutic properties, and functionality, the space will continue to grow to be an inclusive place for all. The improved garden has therapeutic potential using ecosystem services, especially in the context of the pandemic.

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