Bon Secours New York Health System kicked off its organic Community Garden on Riverdale’s Schervier Nursing Care Center grounds in October, 2006, as a collaborative project for nursing home residents, neighborhood seniors, community kitchens, disadvantaged young adults and developmentally disabled teens. Horticultural Therapist Patricia Leo has been the garden coordinator since its inception.
In the past several years, Leo set up and now manages the Schervier Community Garden, a vocation that includes training and assisting gardeners with planting, garden site maintenance, and harvesting through horticultural therapy activities.
Horticultural therapy uses the relationship between people and the natural environment to affect human wellness, enhancing the participants’ mental, physical and spiritual well being. Leo provides horticultural therapy sessions to Schervier’s nursing home residents and neighborhood gardeners; coordinates community outreach and donations to a local food bank; and supervises horticulture interns and volunteers.
Now Leo has achieved national cre
In 2008, Leo also became a master gardener intern and will be giving 100 hours of volunteer service to her community. S
he was one of only 28 individuals selected for the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training Program of Westchester County.
She also developed a new, year-round horticultural therapy program at Schervier Nursing Care Center, providing horticultural therapy activities include planting, propagation, botanical crafts, and food preparation using organic vegetables, herbs, or flowers.