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Current Status of Children’s Gardens Within Public Gardens in the United States

The purpose of this study was to identify the current status and future development of children’s gardens within public gardens in the United States and to examine their roles as places for children to explore natural environments. This study identified 776 public gardens and examined 163 of those gardens using a comprehensive online survey. The sampled public gardens were widely distributed throughout the United States, although they were located primarily in the eastern and western regions of the United States. We found that 55% of the 163 public gardens that we investigated included a children’s garden at the time of data collection, and 26.4% planned to add a children’s garden in the near future. Children’s gardens found within public gardens were typically in a botanical garden and were added after the public gardens were formed. Most of the children’s
gardens had a stated purpose of providing children with environmental education by allowing them to experience the natural environment through play. Most children’s gardens occupied a small proportion, less than 1 acre, of the overall size of a public garden. We also found that demographic and socioeconomic factors influenced the development of children’s gardens within public gardens and public gardens in general.
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