In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

May 29, 2014

Getting their hands dirty for health’s sake

By In the Loop

Garden760Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester boasts beautiful green spaces, colorful flowers and lovely fragrances (which compete with certain food-stand aromas) thanks to a crack team of gardeners and groundkeepers (aka, the Grounds Maintenance team). What it didn't have until several years ago, however, was a children's garden. That was something Louise Phillips was determined to change.

Ms. Phillips is a retired kindergarten teacher who "is passionate about bringing youth and earth together through the arts," according to her website. She's started several children's gardens around the country, and wrote to Mayo's Craig Smoldt, chair of Facilities and Support Services, to suggest that Mayo's green spaces could use the artistic touch of some tiny helping hands. From there, the idea for the Mayo Clinic Children’s Garden blossomed.

The Children's Garden is watched over by the Boy and Dolphin statue just off the Annenberg Plaza. (See pictures of Ms. Phillips in the garden here.) And each year, a Children's Garden Celebration brings together children from the community, Mayo Clinic staff, some freshly tilled soil and colorful annual flowers, along with celebrations of art, music and nature. This year's event promotes the idea of "Health and Wellness through Nature and the Arts” and will be held Friday, May 30, in the Matthews Grand Lobby and Annenberg Plaza. It kicks off around 11 a.m., with children from the Civic League Day Nursery planting flowers and singing a few songs to entertain the boy and dolphin, as well as family, friends and Mayo staff.

Next, the music will continue with the Okee Dokee Brothers. And from noon to 3 p.m., there will be more music, dancing and theater performances by local youth groups in the Matthews lobby. There will also be exhibits and the ever-popular bicycle safety instruction and helmet giveaway. Staff, patients and the public are welcome to attend and enjoy the performances, check out the exhibits, and see artwork by area students that is on display in the Matthews Grand Lobby, Mayo Building, and Hage Atrium, Siebens Building. See the full schedule.

The event is a great way for Mayo to express the importance of health and wellness through art and nature, according to Dawn Davis, M.D., Mayo Clinic Children's Center. "I hope the kids take away that wellness is a lifestyle … and that a healthy lifestyle is not only important, but it's also fun," she says. Jane Matsumoto, M.D., one of the organizers, adds that the event is "part of Mayo’s contribution to the health and wellness of the children of our community by giving them a chance to learn about and connect with nature and the arts, which is such a vital part of a life."

You can hear more from Dr. Davis here. Then give us the dirt with a comment or two. While you're here, you can share this story beyond the walls of Mayo through the handy Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons.

Tags: Community, Dawn Davis, Mayo Clinic Children's Center

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