Research on link between health and nature will grow in new OARDC garden

OARDC’s Secrest Arboretum has many gardens, but its newest addition stands out for its therapeutic and research value.

Dedicated in September, the Lemmon and Rice Health and Wellness Garden was designed to boost visitors’ sense of well-being and to provide opportunities for research on the impact of gardens and nature on people’s health.

The 115-acre arboretum is on OARDC’s campus in Wooster.

The arboretum’s interim director, Joe Cochran, said a number of visitors use the facility in their wellness programs.

“For example, one visitor recently told me that he had lost 36 pounds somewhere on the paths throughout the gardens — jokingly saying that if we found them, we did not need to return them,” Cochran said. “The new garden will provide even more opportunities to give visitors a sense of well-being.”

“The new garden will provide even more opportunities to give visitors a sense of well-being.”—Joe Cochran

How to plant health and wellness

  • Secrest Arboretum partnered with Ohio State’s College of Nursing to come up with a concept for the garden, to make decisions about its design elements and to conduct future research projects.
  • The garden focuses on six of nine pillars of wellness: environmental, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social.
  • The pillars “tie into how well a person feels overall,” said Usha Menon, former professor and director of graduate nursing science programs in the College of Nursing.
  • To contact the source: Joe Cochran at

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