The Nature of Us: A Curriculum that Draws Parallels Between Horticulture and Wellbeing

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Virginia Tech


As the global population increases and advances technologically, humans move away from rural living and towards urbanization, resulting in the decline in the amount of green space and connection to nature. American teenagers are faced with surmounting pressure to perform academically in an education system that focuses on a narrow selection of subjects at the expense of their physical, mental, and social health. A growing field of research explores the effects of nature-based interventions on these effects that are defined as Nature-Deficit Disorder. The purpose of the present curriculum is to create links between horticultural topics and biopsychosocial (BPS) concepts for 15-16-year old teens that are preparing to enter the workforce. A panel of four professionals evaluated the curriculum units using a 5-point Likert scale and open-ended questions to provide feedback for improving the lessons. Although the panel concurred that the abstract components relating to the BPS concepts were clear and tangible, the respondents felt that the methodologies and practicality of instruction and assessment required improvement. Despite a range of responses relating to the evaluation questions likely due, in part, to the varied professions and backgrounds of the panel members, feedback confirmed that The Nature of Us curriculum clearly connected the horticultural and BPS principles and could easily be integrated into existing programs.