Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

July 2017

Botanical Garden Partners With Businesses on Health

By Dave Ramont

In 1991, retired Belmont, N.C., textile executive Daniel Stowe designated nearly 400 acres of prime meadow, woodland and lakefront property to be transformed into a world-class botanical garden. In 1994 a master plan was approved for garden development on the property, which would take place over the next 50 years. To date, the Formal Display Gardens, Perennial Gardens, White Garden, and the Orchid Conservatory have sprung to life, as well as the Visitor Pavilion. There are private, corporate, wedding and holiday rental opportunities. School and scout programs and camps are offered. And now, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (DSBG) has launched the Healthy Employee Membership Program, encouraging area businesses to get their employees outdoors instead of into the gym.

The health benefits of nature are widely recognized, including lowering stress, improving ability to focus, and elevating mood and energy levels. It aids in lowering rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma and depression. And DSBG feels that human resource leaders should consider their program an "alternative to corporate wellness."

Instead of an employee having to purchase a household membership to DSBG for $75, the program offers a discounted bulk membership rate to a business. "The Healthy Employee Membership Program provides regional companies with a corporate perk that can help maintain healthcare costs and keeps employees active outside the workplace," explained D. Harding Stowe, chair of the DSBG board of directors. "The membership is the same as a household membership with all the same benefits."

Some of those advantages include unlimited free daytime admission, discounted DSBG classes and workshops, invitations to exclusive member events, and free or discounted admission to approximately 300 additional public gardens across North America.

"This allows for ample outdoor activity, including free access to our 300-plus acres of garden in Belmont, with pathways for walking or jogging, as well as free or discounted entry into yoga classes, 5K races, art and photography courses and more, providing those well-rounded holistic and healthy benefits," Stowe said.

In fact, health in the workplace is a hot topic these days. For instance, in 2016, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported a return on investment of $1.50 to $3 for every dollar spent between a two- and nine-year timeframe for well-designed health and wellness initiatives.

To test the waters, DSBG had a trial run prior to officially launching their program in the spring of 2016. "The trial run was successful and the program has been very well received since that time. We have seven area companies or municipalities committed to the Healthy Employee Membership Program in our first year with new interest consistently being generated," Stowe said.

When you pair the dollars and cents with the benefits of outdoor activity, DSBG believes they have a winner.

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Survey Examines Parents' View of Play - July 2017

Kids Swim Free in Tucson This Summer - July 2017

Building Communities to Encourage Physical Activity - June 2017

California Campus Converts Courts to Golf Practice Space - June 2017

Where Are the Nation's Top City Park Systems? - June 2017

KaBOOM! Brings Play to Military Kids - May 2017

USA Basketball Open Court Sessions Get Youths Into the Game - May 2017

Educators Push Legislators to Support Health & Physical Education Programs - May 2017

NFHS Revises Rules for Competitive Spirit Squads - May 2017

Pool & Spa Professionals Fight Immigration Restrictions - April 2017

Grants Available to Boost Dog Parks - April 2017

New Aquatic Management Program Aims to Improve Safety, Efficiency - April 2017

16 Cities Nationwide to Receive Park Improvement Funding - April 2017

Study Confirms: People Pee in Pools - March 2017

Volunteers Get Hands-On History Experience in Virginia - March 2017

Park Hop Inspires Park Usage - March 2017

National Health Campaign Reaches 228,000 Youth in Three Years - March 2017

Outdoor REC Act Signed Into Law - February 2017

Happy 125th B-Day B-Ball! - February 2017

Study Shows Majority—Even Athletes—Are 'Overfat' - February 2017

Gym-Goers Like YMCA Best; Planet Fitness Winning Market Share - February 2017

Georgia State Park Celebrates Its Dark Sky Status - January 2017

Texas Tech Focuses on Functional Fitness - January 2017

Preventing Pool Closings - January 2017

Majority of U.S. Households Visit Attractions - January 2017

City of Henderson Awarded for Water Safety Programs - December 2016

Grant Brings Outdoor Fitness Area to Park - December 2016

Alliance Recommends Actions to Improve Kids' Activity Stats - December 2016

Retractable Enclosures Help YMCAs Cut Costs, Boost Membership - November 2016

Huge Project Seeks to Rebuild Monarch Habitats - November 2016

Report: Camping More Popular Than Ever - November 2016

ACSM Predicts 2017 Fitness Trends - November 2016

CDC: More Than One-Quarter of 50-Plus U.S. Adults Don't Exercise - October 2016

Park District Recognized for Collaboration Efforts - October 2016

Americans Support Increased Local Funding for Parks & Rec - October 2016

High School Sports Participation Up for 27th Consecutive Year - October 2016

National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years of Successful Partnerships - October 2016

Study Shows High Obesity Rates Among Student Athletes - September 2016

Forest Service Celebrates 100-Year-Old Campground - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - September 2016

Study Shows Artificial Turf Composition Influences Injury Prevention - August 2016

Council Announces Release of Second Edition of Model Aquatic Health Code - August 2016

Study Finds Seniors, Women Less Likely to Use Parks - August 2016

Level Up Your Park With Pokémon Go - August 2016

Research Shows Light Pollution's Impact on Night Sky - July 2016

Trail-Oriented Development Eases Congestion, Encourages Activity - July 2016

Nonprofits Aim to Boost Inclusive Fitness Opportunities - July 2016