Thanks to a grant from Scotts Miracle-Gro and expertise provided by the Chicago Botanical Garden, students at Evanston’s Park School will have the therapeutic benefits of a sensory garden that was dedicated over the weekend.
Park School, operated jointly by Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202, serves students with special needs. It is located in the 800 block of Main Street.
The school first imagined the sensory garden project as part of its year-round horticulture therapy program led by the Chicago Botanic Garden’s horticulture therapy services department.
The horticulture therapists primarily used container gardens and potted plants to work with the students, but envisioned a larger, in-ground sensory garden that could enhance the students’ experiences.
Clare Johnson, horticulture therapy services manager at the botanic garden, was present at the dedication Saturday morning and pointed out that “gardens naturally inspire wellness, creativity, and exploration, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to design a permanent sensory-enriching garden for Park School and the surrounding community.”
She added that the students, staff, and families “will utilize and learn from the garden year-round, enhancing their thriving therapeutic programs in a new, exciting way.”
Also present was Lindsay LaSala, representing the community relations department of ScottsMiracle-Gro, who said “it’s an honor for us to work with the Park School students and faculty and the Chicago Botanic Garden to help enhance the students’ daily learning experiences through this sensory garden project.”
Park School Principal Marlene Grossman said the new sensory garden “will extend knowledge and learning experiences of our students and provide a way for every student to be included in our horticulture therapy programs.”