Nutrition plays an important role in the life of a child because of the impact it has on growth, development, and the ability to learn. One part of proper nutrition is consumption of five fruits and vegetables a day. Currently, children eat an average of 2.5 fruits and vegetables a day, which is only half of the recommended servings. Education is needed to help increase consumption. School gardens are one education tool that can provide active hands-on activities in supportive environments. Through gardening, children learn not only what they should eat but also obtain a greater appreciation for how their food is grown. The main goals of this study were to provide teachers with a guide book for teaching nutrition through horticulture activities and school gardens and to test the effect of gardening on food preferences and eating behaviors of children. A curriculum guide, “Nutrition in the Garden”, was developed for teachers to use with their garden containing background information in horticulture and nutrition. Each lesson includes three to four related activities that can be completed with a garden or in the classroom. A pretest/posttest instrument developed by Tom Baranowski, Professor of Behavioral Science, Univ. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was used to determine students' attitudes toward fruits and vegetables. A 24-hour recall food journal was used to determine eating behaviors. Results examine the effects of school gardens on nutritional attitudes and behaviors.
Sarah Lineberger and J.M. Zajicek
Carol Dawson and J.M. Zajicek
The Green Brigade, organized by the Bexar County Agricultural Extension Service in San Antonio, Texas, is a community-based horticultural program for juvenile offenders based on the earn while learning philosophy. This study determined if participation in the Green Brigade Program improved self-esteem, locus of control, interpersonal relationships, and attitudes toward school, toward gardening and toward the environment as well as decreased recidivism of juvenile offenders. To measure psychological variables, a pre-test, post-test design was implemented using the Self-Report of Personality from The Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). A questionnaire, developed by the researchers, measured environmental attitudes as well as basic horticultural knowledge. Youths participating in the Green Brigade were pre-tested on the first day of the session and post-tested on the final day of the 6-month session. Comparisons were made between children based on age, ethnic background, gender, and session of the Green Brigade in which they participated. Results determined the relationship between participation in the Green Brigade and the dependent variables mentioned previously.
Tina M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek
Children develop their personalities and attitudes at an early age. With children spending 25% of each day in the classroom, schools are a major influence on self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and environmental attitudes. Studies in human issues in horticulture have focused on how gardens affect self-esteem in nontraditional populations but have yet to research children in mainstream school districts. Our main goal was to initiate and integrate an environmental education garden program into the curriculum of several schools in the midwest and Texas. Our objectives included evaluating whether the students participating in the garden program were receiving various emotional, physical, and psychological benefits and whether they were developing positive environmental attitudes as a result of participation in the garden program. The garden program, titled “The Green Classroom,” was designed to provide third-through eighth-grade teachers some basic garden activities that could be infused into their classroom lessons and would serve to reinforce curriculum in various disciplines with hands-on activities. Eight schools, ≈1000 students, took part in the study. Students participating in this study were administered a pretest before participation in the garden program and an identical posttest after its completion. The questionnaire included a psychological inventory, an environmental attitude survey, and a short biographical information section. Comparisons were made between children based on age, ethnic background, gender, and length of garden season. Results examine the relationship between the garden program and self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, attitude toward school, and environmental attitudes of children.
Melanie M. Migura and J.M. Zajicek
Quantitative evaluation of horticulture vocational-therapy programs is becoming more and more critical as professionals in the area of people-plant interactions try to document the value of their programs. Evaluation tools to assess self-development of individuals studying such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and locus of control have long been used in the social science disciplines. Many of these tools, either in their original forms or with some adaptations, can be successfully used to measure changes in self-development of individuals participating in horticulture programs.
M.L. George and J.M. Zajicek
Persons ≥60 years of age comprise a significant and growing segment of the U.S. population. More than one half of the elderly are female, and as age increases, the ratio of women to men increases as well. Gardening has long been known to be beneficial to older adults physically and psychologically. Our quantitative objective was to investigate the relationship between gardening and life satisfaction, self-esteem, and locus of control of elderly women. Our qualitative objective was to investigate the motivations to garden and the personal, self-rated benefits of gardening experienced by older women. About 45 participants were chosen from 1) volunteers in a horticultural therapy program, 2) participants in a community gardening project for older adults, and 3) participants in a community health project. During the first of two interviews, the participants completed survey instruments measuring self-esteem, locus of control, and life satisfaction. They also provided brief information about their gardening history along with demographic variables of age, ethnicity, educational background, and income level. During the second interview, the participants expanded on their experiences as gardeners, relating information such as how they became gardeners, how they learned to garden, and what factors influenced them to continue gardening. They were specifically asked to relate how they have personally benefited from gardening. Results examine the relationship between gardening and the psychological well-being of the older women.
T.M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek
Service learning is a technique in which instructors integrate community service into their semester curriculum to enhance the learning experience. Service-learning teaching strategies naturally fit into horticulture and landscape design curricula, since hands-on laboratories are often incorporated into lesson plans. The purpose of this study was to integrate service-learning techniques into a university-level horticulture course and measure the impact of the course on students’ perceptions of community involvement, perceptions of social impact, and perception of how well the students felt they learned the course material. Students in an undergraduate landscape design class were taught the process of landscape design using service-learning activities within the city and campus communities. Projects included developing designs for campus gardens, the city post office, neighborhood parks, the campus childcare center, city road median areas and the city women's shelter, and other projects. A survey tool was developed from other existing surveys to measure how students felt about service learning as a means to learn skills in class and to measure their perceptions of community involvement and social impact. Currently enrolled students were surveyed and alumni from five classes taught in a similar manner in previous years were surveyed. Results from the study showed major differences in that students felt more positive about community involvement after the course compared with before the course. Students rated their feelings of social impact and learning course material above the neutral levels in both categories. No differences were found in gender and grade point average (GPA) comparisons in any of the categories, with the exception of the social impact statements with males and students with higher GPAs rating their feelings more positively within that category. Additionally, differences were found in comparisons of alumni vs. current students, with alumni feeling more positive about how well they learned course material compared to current students.
Sonja M. Skelly and J.M. Zajicek
Project GREEN (Garden Resources for Environmental Education Now!) is an educational tool to assist in the teaching of environmental education at the elementary school level. Project GREEN is different from many current educational practices because its major goal is to provide an interdisciplinary approach to environmental education by infusing activities centered around a hands-on tool, “the garden.” The main goal of this project included evaluating whether students participating in Project GREEN were developing positive environmental attitudes. Three schools throughout Texas participated in the study. Approximately 200 students were evaluated; 100 participants served as the experimental group and 100 non-participants served as the control group. Students were evaluated using the Children's Environmental Response Inventory (CERI), which measures students' attitudes about nature and human dominance over nature. This questionnaire also contained a section for biographical information. Comparisons were made between the experimental and control groups, as well as between gender, age, ethnicity, and time in the garden. Results examine the relationship between the garden program and environmental attitudes for both control and experimental groups.
Tina M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek
Children develop their personalities and attitudes at an early age. With children spending a large portion of their waking hours in the classroom, schools are a major influence on many factors including environmental attitudes. Studies in human issues in horticulture have focused on how gardens and nature affect other variables in children, but few have focused on environmental attitudes of children in mainstream school districts. The main goal of this study was to initiate and integrate an environmental education garden program into the curriculum of several schools in the midwest and Texas. One objective of the research project included evaluating whether the students participating in the garden program developed positive environmental attitudes as a result of participation in the garden program. The garden program, Project Green, was designed to provide thirdthrough eighth-grade teachers some basic garden activities that could be infused into their classroom lessons and would serve to reinforce curriculum in various disciplines with hands-on activities. Eight schools, ≈1000 students, took part in the study. Students participating in the study were administered a pre-test prior to participation in the garden program and an identical post-test after its completion. Comparisons were made between children based on age, ethnic background, gender, and length of garden season. Results examine the relationship between the garden program, environmental attitudes of children and demographic variables.
Jayne M. Zajicek and J.L. Heilman
A study was conducted to explore how surface materials, including pine bark mulch, bare soil, and turfgrass, affect water use of diverse cultivars (dwarf weeping, dwarf upright, standard weeping, and standard upright) of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). Daily water use was measured gravimetrically, and instantaneous rates of sap flow were measured using heat balance stem flow gauges. Plants of all cultivars surrounded by the mulched surface lost 0.63 to 1.25 kg·m-2·day-1 more water than plants on the soil surface and 0.83 to 1.09 kg·m-2·day-1 more than plants surrounded by turf. The surface temperature of the mulch was higher than that of the other surfaces, resulting in greater fluxes of longwave radiation from the surface. Because of the greater energy load, plants on the mulched surface had higher leaf temperatures and higher leaf-air vapor pressure deficits (VPD) throughout the day. Plants on the mulched area also had higher stomata1 conductances during most of the day compared with those on bare soil and turfgrass surfaces.
Jennifer L. Boatright and J. M. Zajicek
Hydrogel (Hydrosource™, Western Polyacrylamide, Inc.) was incorporated into 102 cm × 122 cm landscape beds at 25, 50, 75, or 100 lbs per 1000 sq ft. Weed barrier and 2 cm of pine bark mulch were added to the top of each bed. Controls consisted of 1) no hydrogel with weed barrier and mulch and 2) no hydrogel with mulch but no weed barrier. Each treatment was replicated four times with ten plants of petunia, marigold, and vinca planted per bed, for a total of forty plants of each species per treatment. Flower number of vinca and petunia increased with hydrogel incorporation, 75 lbs of hydrogel having the greatest number of flowers. Petunia also had higher visual ratings with increased hydrogel rates. Soil temperatures directly under the mulch and 10 cm below the mulch, at 1400 hr, were 49C and 40C respectively for controls, compared to 42C and 36C for beds with hydrogel.