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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

August 21, 2012
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

MDC incorporates gardening into treatment program

The Montana Developmental Center (MDC) in Boulder will break ground on a new garden during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday August 24.

The garden is the center piece of MDC's new therapeutic horticulture program and will be adjacent to the historical 1893 Administration Building, the first building built on the MDC campus. The garden stretches to 120 feet by 40 feet.  MDC clients will cultivate vegetables and fruits in 36 raised garden beds.

DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell said this project is meaningful in numerous ways. "The garden represents the best of MDC with our staff working side-by-side with clients as an important part of our treatment program," she said. "We’re focusing on bringing about real improvements in people’s lives, and there’s nothing more real than working in the dirt and growing food."

MDC superintendent Gene Haire said the garden idea is part of new changes happening at MDC. "The MDC garden is the newest component of our redesigned Vocational Services Department, which focuses on preparing clients for success in the world of work when they’re discharged from MDC," he said. 

According to Haire, from the MDC client’s perspective the therapeutic horticulture program will look like a job. Based on problems identified in the client’s treatment plan, goals and objectives will be developed. Individuals whose goals and objectives may be met through the program will be encouraged to apply for a job in the therapeutic horticulture program.

Techniques and procedures to help clients reach their goals will be tailored to the needs of each individual, Haire said. Progress toward goals and objectives will be observed and documented. Clients will be paid for their participation in the program.     

Through gardening and nature-related activities, MDC clients will experience a greater sense of competence, enhanced sensory stimulation, improved motor skills, and find occasions for socialization, self-expression and creativity, Haire added.

The project is being funded through money raised via MDC recycling efforts. MDC recycles cardboard, plastics and aluminum throughout the year.


MDC to break ground on new garden


DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell, MDC superintendent Gene Haire


Montana Developmental Center
310 4th Ave.
Boulder, MT


Friday, August 24, 2012, 11 a.m.

Page last updated: 08/21/2012