Historical Collections Historical Timeline Stories Virtual Tour
Historic Library|Exhibits|Image Gallery|Archives|Finding Aid|FAQ


Physic Garden Serves as Open-Air Classroom for Philadelphia Youth

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.

Photo Gallery from the March 15, 2007 Teacher's Event

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article about the Physic Garden.


About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   HIPAA and Privacy   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2017, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania