A garden of opportunity


Lindale ponders the addition of a student garden. The benefits of the garden would be psychological, innovative and communicable.

For years, counselors have pondered ideas to better the education of students in a way that promotes mental health. The most natural way to allow a peaceful environment for students in the workplace is to encompass outdoor classroom opportunities.

School gardens have been implemented in places like the state of California, which calls for a garden at each campus, as well as the University of South Florida and the University of Illinois. A majority of the participating institutions have had positive reactions to the success of their campus due to a garden being included. Student’s test scores, mental health, and overall moods increased.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the most common mental health disorder in teens and adults. In students aged 12-17, 3 million have had at least one depressive episode in 2015. This is 10-15% of the world’s depression rates lying in high school aged students alone. A common characteristic in the brain chemistry of many depressed people is a serotonin deficiency.

According to research by Permaculture College in Australia, exposure to soil and a soil bacteria (Mycobacterium vaccae), triggers the release of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a “happy chemical”, a natural antidepressant that strengthens the immune system. Gardening and planting has proven to decrease feelings of depression in students. High school can be a stressful and pressuring place for many, so having a courtyard to relax and clear the mind can rejuvenate students transitioning classes.

The severity of social and communicative skills are often disregarded due to the pressuring attention focused on academic excellence. Undertaking the responsibility of maintaining growth in plants teaches accountability and group cooperation. Aside from the communicable benefits, students are given the opportunity to learn outside of the technology-driven environment existing today. As future homeowners and providers, it is important for students to be given the opportunity to learn how to grow crops, take care of a dependent being, and be exposed to the earth and its offerings that many often overlook.

With city expansion taking place, population growth is expected for the developing town. People from all over are attracted to Lindale schools for the outstanding facilities we have been granted. The appearance of our already recognized school will only improve with the addition of a garden/courtyard.

Along with growing a garden comes also growing camaraderie between students. The value of working in a group setting prepares students for future community projects and colleague communications. Students must learn how to take responsibility for their environment and develop a strong sense of community to ensure the continuation of our society.