University of Maryland Extension

Arnold Elementary Youth Garden

The Arnold Elementary Youth Garden is an Anne Arundel County Master Gardener approved project (2014) that provides education to the school community on conservation landscaping, native gardening, and mindfulness in nature. The school houses a native pollinator garden and a meditation garden, which are supported and maintained by the school community and the Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners. These gardens provide a space where teachers, students, and staff can go to relax, reflect, increase feelings of well-being, and reduce overall stress.

The Arnold Elementary Youth Garden Project is a flexible and exciting project that runs year round by Master Gardeners. It includes: garden tours, education on mindfulness in nature, in-class education on gardening/nature topics, and maintaining the gardens. In addition, the Master Gardeners create and maintain a nature/gardening bulletin board in the school hallway that provides year-long education. This project was originally funded by Unity Garden Grants and continues to be funded by the Arnold Elementary PTA.

With increased violence and stress in our school systems, Arnold Elementary Youth Garden provides a safe, quiet, and comfortable place for the school community to come to be replenished and rejuvenated. Studies have shown that being in nature and gardens increases feelings of well-being, happiness, and decreases anxiety, depression, and overall stress. Additionally, research shows that working and being in gardens increases self-esteem, attention abilities, and intelligence scores. All these factors play strongly into students’ academic and interpersonal success, as well as increase teachers’ and staffs’ ability to provide a wonderful learning environment.

Arnold Elementary School's Principal Shauna Kauffman is highly supportive of Arnold Youth Garden Project and the help of the Master Gardeners. There is great passion and interest in environmental conservation, which is demonstrated by Arnold Elementary School’s “Green School” accreditation in 2009. Additionally, the school has a Terrapin Program and Butterfly Program. Mrs. Kauffman is excited to see students, teachers, parents, and staff working with Master Gardeners to learn more about nature, gardening, and mindfulness in nature. If you are interested in volunteering for Arnold Elementary Youth Garden, please contact the Project Chair, Jessica Zinder, Ph.D., 410 647-7779.


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