Physic Garden Serves as Open-Air Classroom for
In May 2006, Pennsylvania Hospital’s Physic Garden
began serving as the backdrop for a unique program for Philadelphia-area
schoolchildren, called Learn to Grow. The program uses tours
and educational activities to teach youth about the history
of herbal medicine and its contributions to science and society,
while emphasizing the importance of preserving the environment.
The Physic Garden, which includes more than 100 plants known
for their medicinal value, provides a unique environment for
Learn to Grow. For thirty years, the Garden has served as
an educational resource and as a respite and meditation garden
for Pennsylvania Hospital’s patients, staff and members
of the community.
Learn to Grow is being made possible by a generous grant
from The Burpee Foundation. Longtime Pennsylvania Hospital
volunteer Essie Karp has been hired as Garden Educator to
develop the program’s curriculum and learning tools,
lead some of the learning activities, train volunteers and
coordinate the public relations, outreach and recruitment
activities. She’s drawing on her extensive experience
as a tour guide for the hospital’s historic areas and
the Physic Garden as well as the creator of the Discovery
Program, a hands-on science program that she developed for
the Jewish Community Center of Greater Philadelphia.
Ms. Karp is throwing all of her energy and creativity into
making Learn to Grow interesting, educational, and most of
all, fun. “When the children arrive, they get an age-appropriate
tour of the hospital and the Garden,” she explains.
“They then do an activity using plant materials –
for example, using a mortar and pestle to create a ‘medicinal’
compound. We hope to teach them how plants were used in colonial
medicine, as well as emphasize the ways that nature continues
to aid modern medicine and improve our quality of life.”
For more information on the Garden Program, please call 215-829-6615
or e-mail at Essie.Karp@uphs.upenn.edu
This two-hour program is offered between 9am and 3pm on Wednesday,
Thursday or Friday.
from the March 15, 2007 Teacher's Event
Read the Philadelphia
Inquirer article about the Physic Garden.