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Living Laboratories — University of Kansas Medical Center Botanic Gardens
Shelly Triplett

The University of Kansas Medical Center Botanic Gardens enhance the educational experience and well-being of students, faculty and staff as well as the community. Each garden’s theme is designed to connect nature to improved health. “Gardens are a perfect place to practice mindfulness, which has been shown to decrease stress and cortisol levels,” said Christine Harmeyer, gardens program manager. “Spending time outdoors also offers the opportunity to soak up some sun and increase vitamin D levels, a known relief for stress, anxiety and depression.”

Garden visitors enjoy a feast for the senses including vibrant colors, moving waters, fragrant plants and fresh produce. Last year, the gardens provided more than 1,200 pounds of produce to Thrive food pantry, which serves the university community. Our access to essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals depends on gardens like the pollinator garden and the green roof garden, where plants filter the air and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Current medical research conducted at the Hixson Lied Cancer Research Garden on plants such as oregano, thyme and banana, aims to create a deeper connection to treatments and drug therapies used in the future.

The gardens are a living laboratory for KU Medical Center’s students, educators, researchers and visitors. Private support will help create and maintain future proposed gardens on roughly 13 campus sites. Memorials or tributes to loved ones also are available and include a tree or a dedicated bench with a special engraved message. Donations to the gardens support year-round beautification and educational programming.

Touching lives through improved health, the food pantry and research into new treatments meet the vision of the University of Kansas Medical Center Botanic Gardens. With the right balance of water, air, sunlight and nutrients mixed with loving hands to tend and nurture them, these plants are benefiting people every day.

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