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Sensory Garden Brings Therapeutic Benefits to Park School Students

ScottsMiracle-Gro and Chicago Botanic Garden Help Students with Special Needs Connect to Nature and Their Community

EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Teachers at the Park School in Evanston will now be able to conduct a broader range of therapeutic activities with their students and create integration opportunities with the school district and community thanks to a grant to build an on-site sensory garden, designed by Clare Johnson of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The Park School Sensory Garden, supported by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s national GRO1000 gardens and greenspaces program, was the site of a volunteer day in the garden with students and teachers to mark the installation.

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Park 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.

“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,” said Clare Johnson, Horticulture Therapy Services Manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden. “The Park students, staff and families will utilize and learn from the garden year-round, enhancing their thriving therapeutic programs in a new, exciting way.”

The Park School Sensory Garden includes handicapped accessible raised beds and walkways, as well as plantings that heighten all of the senses. Students with limited cognitive and physical abilities will be able to see, smell, touch and hear the many colors, fragrances, textures and sounds from the garden. The new garden will also increase students’ personal satisfaction and pride in growing something that can be eaten or shared with others.

“The Sensory Garden will extend the knowledge and learning experiences of our students and provide a way for every student to be included in our horticulture therapy programs,” said Marlene Grossman, Park School Principal. “It will also provide accessibility to a beautiful urban garden to all of the Evanston community for years to come.”

The GRO1000 sensory garden community event kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, at 828 Main Street, Evanston, Illinois 60202. Area residents and youth will join ScottsMiracle-Gro volunteers and local leaders in garden-related plantings and activities. The garden will be dedicated at 2 p.m.

“Gardens have the ability to improve a child’s life in so many powerful ways,” said Lindsay LaSala, Community Relations, ScottsMiracle-Gro. “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.”

GRO1000 is ScottsMiracle-Gro’s commitment to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens and greenspaces to the children who need them most. The company launched the initiative in 2011 with the goal of supporting the creation of 1,000 gardens by the year 2018, in conjunction with its 150th anniversary. To date, more than 800 communities have received GRO1000 funding. For more information, visit and follow ScottsMiracle-Gro on Twitter @Scotts_MGro, #GRO1000.

About Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 385-acre living plant museum featuring 27 distinct display gardens and four natural areas uniquely situated on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline.  The Garden is managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society, on land dedicated by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Over one million people have visited the Garden each year for the past three years. The Garden mission, “We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life” is realized through the conservation science, education, urban agriculture and horticulture programs that take place at the Glencoe campus, in the Chicago metropolitan area, in the Midwest region and throughout the world. The Garden is open 365 days a year. 

About ScottsMiracle-Gro
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is passionate about helping people of all ages express themselves on their own piece of the Earth.  With approximately $3 billion in sales, the Company is the world's largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care. The Company's brands are the most recognized in the industry. In 2016, the Company ranked in Forbes 100 Most Reputable Companies in America for the second year in a row.  To learn more about the Company and our initiatives, visit us at 

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