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A Wellness Day with Horticultural Science

Sidney Suits at Duke Gardens Wellness Day
Sydney Suits, a Horticultural Science undergraduate, stops to smell the flowers while visiting Duke Gardens on NC State University Wellness Day.

North Carolina State University’s Wellness Day on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, brought numerous activities and opportunities for students to turn their focus from classes and assignments to relaxing tasks. While numerous options were available across campus, including recreational classes, a roundtable discussion and relaxation stations, the Department of Horticultural Science created its own hub of mental health activities on campus and beyond. There are also several ways to continue to relax and rewind on an ongoing basis.

Tea Time and Relaxation Activities

On Wellness Day, The Marye Anne Fox Science Building offered a plant division activity, an apple tasting, rock painting, hot tea, a leaf print activity and an origami flower lesson to students.

Examples of origami flower and rock painting activities.
Examples of origami flower and rock painting activities.

Visit the NC State Plant Conservatory

Fall and winter are great times to schedule a visit to the NC State Plant Conservatory. On central campus, located behind Marye Anne Fox Science Building, is a hidden gem that is a great place to dry off, warm up and view a greenhouse full of various plants. This greenhouse location is only open to NC State students, staff and faculty during weekday business hours. There are classes occasionally, so be sure to schedule your visit in advance.

Inside NC State Plant Conservatory
Inside of the NC State Plant Conservatory, behind Marye Anne Fox Science Building.

Volunteer to Garden

Have you considered volunteering to garden for your mental wellness? Students spend Wellness Day planting pansies, cool-season veggies and bulbs at the Talley Rooftop Living Lab. Garden volunteers are accepted on the third Saturday of each month to weed, plant additional plants, seed annuals and perform other therapeutic garden tasks. Contact Professor Anne Spafford to signup. Other campus gardening opportunities include the Kilgore Hall rain garden project with Julie Sherk and the JC Raulston Arboretum’s membership and volunteer manager is Kathryn Wall.

Garden Walks

If you have time to explore off-campus, there are several nationally acclaimed gardens in the Triangle. JC Raulston Arboretum, Sara P. Duke Gardens and North Carolina Botanical Gardens are excellent places to go for a walk and decompress.

Flourish at NC State

Flourish is a program that was developed from evidence-based research related to the benefits of horticulture therapy. The program is a collaboration between Prevention Services and the Department of Horticultural Science, and provides both in-person and online plant and personal wellness resources.

Wolfpack Wellness Resources

Our students’ well-being is something we are always mindful of, but mental health challenges can often be overlooked since there are no universal signs or warnings to look for. With the help of our dedicated teaching faculty and staff, we were able to offer this small respite for students who needed a break. While we want to thank everyone that participated, we also rely on everyone in the department to be aware of students and colleagues alike when it comes to identifying anyone who may be overwhelmed, struggling or in need of the resources we can provide. The NC State Wolfpack Wellness website lists many available resources. We encourage our students, staff and faculty to be mindful of each other and themselves, take their own mental health days when they need them, don’t fail to reach out if they are in need, and be ready to assist anyone who may need a helping hand.

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