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  • Author or Editor: Jennifer Campbell Bradley x
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The benefits of horticulture to our society have long been known. Just recently, we are beginning to see the valuable role that horticulture can have on impacting youth. However, research into this area has been limited. As this avenue of horticulture is growing, so is the need to continue and establish substantial research into this area. One important obstacle to overcome is funding. While a desire to pursue the effects of horticulture on youth exists, too often a lack of financial support has limited the depth and scope of research. Finding and establishing funding allows the researcher to explore and allocate the resources necessary to continue reputable research. This workshop will explore various funding opportunities for research in the area of children and gardening. Areas of discussion will include sources for funding as well as generating a proposed idea, refining your idea, documenting the need, and establishing uniqueness of your study. This talk will focus on finding and establishing funding for children's gardening research—a much needed necessity to help document and establish the benefits and importance of youth gardening programs.

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Attracting new students into traditional agriculture programs has become increasingly difficult. The idea of offering a course as a means for introducing students to agriculture is a concept with popular appeal. As a recruiting effort, and as a method of introducing students to horticulture, the Environmental Horticulture Dept. at the Univ. of Florida designed a one-credit course for non-majors. The course was structured such that a broad understanding of horticulture, including production, landscaping, and floriculture, would be emphasized. The intent was to develop a course somewhat similar to an entry-level course, but incorporating a more enjoyable, practical, hands-on approach. ORH 1030 Plants, Gardens, and You was offered for the first time in summer 1997. It is now offered every semester. The course has one faculty assigned each semester and various other faculty members, including teaching, research, and extension specialists who participate as “guest lecturers”. Student response to ORH 1030 has been favorable, ratings are high and enrollment in the course has continued to rise from 30 to our current cap of 100. As a means of ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our students and to aid in targeting potential students, a survey was administered in Spring 2000. Students enrolled in the course were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the semester to gain insight into student demographics, horticulture background and experience, reasons for enrollment in the class, attitude toward horticulture and overall interest in horticulture. Findings will be discussed in addition to information and suggestions for successfully establishing a similar course in other horticulture departments.

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Stress has been characterized as an epidemic and has been found to play an important role in causing many diseases. In contrast, people often seek out nature and green spaces to help cope with life stress. Botanic gardens provide opportunities for people to immerse in nature, explore their horticultural interests, and experience recreation and leisure. The literature suggests that all of these activities are effective coping strategies against life stress. This study explored the effectiveness of botanic garden visits as a coping strategy. The findings of this study suggest that botanic gardens could be a place for coping with the effects of stress. Botanic garden visitation, along with gender, stressful life events, perceived health, and selfesteem, was found to be important in explaining reported levels of depression. Data also showed that visitors who received the most benefit of stress reduction were those most needing a coping strategy.

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Attracting new students into traditional agriculture programs has become increasingly difficult. Offering a survey course as a means for introducing students to agriculture is a concept with popular appeal. As a recruiting effort, and as a method of introducing students to horticulture, the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, designed a one-credit course for nonmajors. The course was structured to provide a broad overview of horticulture, emphasizing plant use to enhance interior and exterior environments. The intent was to develop a course somewhat similar to an entry-level course for majors, but with each lecture devoted to a single, self-contained topic. When feasible, hands-on activities were incorporated within the classroom presentation. The course ORH 1030-Plants, Gardens, and You was offered for the first time in Summer 1997. It is now offered every semester. The course has one faculty assigned each semester and various other faculty members, including teaching, research, and extension specialists, participate as guest lecturers. Methods to improve the course are discussed by the faculty presenters and the course coordinator each term. Student response to ORH 1030 has been favorable, ratings are high and enrollment in the course has continued to rise from 30 to our current cap of 100. As a means of ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our students and to aid in targeting potential students, a survey was administered in Spring 2000. Students enrolled in the course were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the semester to gain insight into student demographics, horticulture background and experience, reasons for enrollment in the class, and overall interest in the course.

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During the past few years, Americans have experienced a wide variety of stressors, including political tensions, racial/civil unrest, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. All of these have led to uncertainty within society. Chronic feelings of helplessness can lead to depression or feelings of hopelessness in those who perceive their situation as unchanging. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impacts of gardening and outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic on perceptions of hope, hopelessness, and levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. Participants of this study were recruited through online social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram; 458 participants completed the 21-item Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale inventory as well as the Hope Scale. Our data indicated that individuals who self-reported themselves as gardeners had significantly more positive scores related to levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and a sense of hope. Furthermore, gardeners had lower levels of self-reported depression, anxiety, and stress when compared with those who did not identify themselves as gardeners. The gardeners also had a more positive outlook regarding hope for the future. Additionally, a significant positive correlation was found between the number of hours spent participating in gardening and a sense of hope, and a negative correlation was found between the number of hours gardening and stress levels. Similarly, there was a significant negative correlation between the number of hours spent participating in any outdoor activity and self-reported levels of stress, anxiety, or depression; however, there was a positive correlation between the number of hours spent participating in any outdoor activity and a sense of hope. Our data suggested that more hours spent outside gardening or participating in recreational activities led to less perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and greater levels of hope for the future.

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Researchers at the University of Florida and Texas A&M University developed a survey to gain insight into demographic and educational influences on undergraduate students who major in horticulture. Five universities participated in the study of undergraduate horticulture programs. These included the University of Florida, Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, University of Tennessee, and Kansas State University. About 600 surveys were sent to schools during the 1997 fall semester. The questionnaires were completed by horticulture majors and nonmajors taking classes in horticulture departments. The survey consisted of two main sections. The first section, which was completed by all students, explored student demographic information, high school history, university history, and horticulture background. Only horticulture majors completed the second section, which examined factors influencing choice of horticulture as a major. Statistically significant differences were found between horticulture majors and nonmajors when comparing the two groups on the variables of transfer status, gardening experiences, and the importance of gardening. There was a significantly higher percentage of transfer students among horticulture majors. The decision to major in horticulture occurred somewhat early in academic programs, with the largest representations in high school or early in college. Overall, majors had more gardening experience than nonmajors and considered the hobby of gardening as a strong influence in choosing their major. This information should be considered in recruitment efforts since students reported that this interest fostered in them a desire to pursue horticulture as a major. School garden programs at the primary level and horticulture classes at the high school level could possibly influence more students to choose horticulture as a major at the college level. Currently, trends in recruiting efforts in academic programs at the university level are intense and competitive, as students are given more and more career option information. Consequently, data from this study may be useful for horticulture departments developing targeted recruiting programs.

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