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Stroll for Well-Being

The Stroll for Well-Being Therapeutic Garden Walking program provides a full year of unlimited visits to Morikami, for participants to immerse themselves in the natural beauty, peace and serenity of the gardens. The benefits of therapeutic garden walks for individuals suffering from stress, depression or mental exhaustion are research-supported and significant; participants report reduced feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear and loneliness, and greater feelings of happiness and joy at the end of the program.

Dr. Ruth McCaffrey, Professor of the College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University helped establish this transformative program at Morikami. A hand-selected qualified facilitator will lead participants through themed walks and journal writing to encourage reflection, and ultimately, healing.

The program is generously funded by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. and open to those seeking a better quality of life. Those interested may download an individual application here or contact or call 954-242-2493. If you are a support group leader or counselor and would like a group application please click on the ‘for counselors’ tab.

New sessions of the garden walking program begin October 5th & 8th, 2016. Three meetings with a program facilitator take place during the course of the program, which is otherwise a personal activity.

Garden strolls begin following an initial group meeting with a facilitator from FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing to acquaint participants with how the program works and to distribute the guidebook/journals. Two other group meetings with the facilitator also take place during an eight-week period.

The guidebook/journal presents several themed walks that identify points along the way at which to pause, reflect and experience a sense of ease. Walks are based on such themes as awareness, trust, possibility, joy and fulfillment, and are designed to elicit reflection on one’s life. Space in the guidebook/journal allows participants to record their thoughts on these and other topics.

Participants in the program have unlimited opportunities for up to a year to visit Morikami to leisurely stroll the garden path, and enjoy the peace and serenity that the garden has to offer. Strolling the garden itself is entirely a personal activity. Participants in the program may visit the garden at any time during regular museum and garden hours as often as they wish, but are encouraged to visit at least twice a week during the first eight weeks. Memberships paid for by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. are “dual” memberships so participants may bring a companion with whom to share the experience.

If you are the leader of a counseling, support, or therapy group that serves those who are experiencing stress, symptoms of depression, or mental exhaustion, this program may appeal to you and the participants of your group. Astellas Pharma US, Inc. has agreed to fund the costs of a one-year museum membership and the guidebook/journal that is used during walks in the garden to allow not-for-profit counseling and support groups to take advantage of the Japanese gardens at Morikami, and the therapeutic garden walking program  free of charge. Past participants include: cancer patients and others who are undergoing rehabilitative treatments and therapies, veterans, bereavement support groups, caregivers, and those with substance abuse issues. Participants must be recommended by leaders, counselors, or facilitators of such groups.

New sessions of the garden walking program begin October 5th & 8th, 2016. Three meetings with a program facilitator take place during the course of the program, which is otherwise a personal activity.

How to Apply

Group leaders may apply by downloading a Astellas Stroll Group Application here. An individual group member with his or her leader’s recommendation may download an Astellas Stroll Individual Application here.

Limited space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Vanessa Rosen for availability at or at 954-242-2493.

About Astellas

Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. Astellas’ culture and brand is committed to building community, helping others, encouraging integrity and inspiring people to make a difference, today, tomorrow and every day. Astellas promotes activities that contribute to the good of society and that help create a dialogue with local communities in various fields, including science, healthcare, welfare, education, environment, and culture.

Since 2011, generous support from Astellas has enabled Morikami to develop its therapeutic garden walks and provide this unique program to members of non-profit counseling and support groups throughout the community.

In 2006 Morikami conducted a research study with Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, culminating in the establishment of the Stroll for Well-being program. In 2011, the Astellas USA Foundation awarded a grant to extend the program to the participants of non-profit health, wellness and counseling programs who are likely to benefit from reflective walks, but are financially unable to afford this service.

A Manual for Developing a Public Program

Recognizing both the trend in society toward a greater incidence of depression among elders, and the need for self-directed methods of alleviating the symptoms of depression, the designers of the study sought to compare the effects of two kinds of “interventions” involving regular garden visits against a third intervention utilizing art therapy. (An intervention is a set of activities intended for the purpose of alleviating depression.) Researchers undertook the study to determine whether or not garden visits were as effective as, or more effective than, art therapy in relieving symptoms of depression in older adults. Art therapy has been shown to decrease depression in the elderly by allowing elders to express feelings of sadness and loss.

This manual was developed to inform museums, gardens and public facilities about the study undertaken by Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in collaboration with the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing that examined the effect of healing gardens and art therapy on older adults with mild to moderate depression. This manual is intended for the use of other organizations as a guide in developing a program, or other instrument, based on the results of the Morikami study that can be offered to the public to meet a need in society as a nonstandard way for the institution to serve the public. The kinds of institutions that this manual might benefit include public gardens, museums with horticultural features or gardens attached as part of their facilities, historic or restored homes with attached gardens, zoological parks, botanical gardens, and nature centers.

Download the Manual