Our Center for the Child nature and garden trail is a wonderful addition to our center, and is enjoyed by many! Working behind the scenes and the vision of Associate Professor of Biology, Lisa Pike, quite a few faculty, staff and students made the vision a reality. From digging a plant and vegetable garden to blazing the trail, they all put in quite a few after work hours to make this a special retreat for the children here at the Center. The trail starts behind the Center classrooms beyond the back gate, and stretches through the woods to a bird house. The children have been able to use it to learn about flowers and leaves and different things about the woods. They have been on trail walks, and have planted flower and vegetable gardens, even using their own produce for vegetarian pizza!
In addition to the children enjoying the trail, the Center has had visitors from the community, such as the Florence Garden Club, who have come to see the creation, and enjoy a walk with nature. We are excited about this addition to our Center, as research shows that unstructured nature play and gardening are very helpful for preschoolers. They help with issues such as low self esteem, depression, obesity and help develop a sense of responsibility. It also provides a place to develop skills in nurturing, creativity and imagination. Gardening relieves stress. Children will learn science, good nutrition, and positive food choices.