Spartan helmet
  • $1,050 RAISED OF $5,000 GOAL
  • 11 DONORS


  • Mary Schueller $150.00
  • Kathleen Hodges $25.00
  • Laura Farwell $50.00
  • Sue Polhamus $50.00
  • Valerie Kushman $100.00
  • Karen Leinaar $100.00
  • Kathleen Meltzer $50.00
  • Maria Zaplitny $100.00
  • David Petro $300.00
  • Jennifer Teller $100.00
  • Jessica Klinger $25.00

Support the MSU Extension Veterans Therapy Garden Project

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2020 that demand for mental healthcare had drastically increased both over the last 10 years and especially within the last three years. Availability of these services has not increased proportionally and has not been projected to meet or exceed demand past 2025. 

For many military veterans, this disparity in mental health services is often even more pronounced. Finding quality mental health resources can be a critical problem for veterans returning to civilian life. Whether it’s dealing with gaps in the VA healthcare system or financial barriers, too many veterans are unable to access the care they need. The MSU Extension Veterans Therapy Garden Project (VTGP) addresses the unique mental, emotional, and physical healthcare challenges of former military service members by establishing spaces and services which support evidence-based horticulture therapy.  

Give to VTGP and help build Michigan’s first therapy garden for disabled and recovering veterans.

Located in Paw Paw, Michigan, the VTGP allows participants to engage in gardening activities and evidence-informed programming to reduce stress, promote sensory engagement, and provide an environment that facilitates resilience. The garden offers participants an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive community gathering place.

For 2023, the Veterans Therapy Garden aims to build a 12x20’ barn in support of a unique aspect of the program. Over 90% of the 12,000 lbs. of building materials used in the first year of garden construction were recycled from a generous cast of local small businesses, contractors, and homeowners. A barn to receive, process, and store these materials will greatly reduce the costs and other challenges associated with sustainable, community-powered, and accessible landscaping.

Gifts to this project will allow us to create an entirely accessible space to help address the needs of military veterans, free of charge. Donations will also be used to provide the funding needed to facilitate the construction and expansion of the garden, including:

  • Purchasing building materials 
  • Ensuring the garden meets full ADA compliance standards 
  • Providing plants and necessary garden supplies 
  • Implementing evidence-based educational and therapy programming 
  • Resources for community outreach initiatives, guest speakers, and future expansion efforts  

Currently, there are no evidence-based horticulture therapy programs in Michigan accommodated in a permanent, outdoor location. The Paw Paw VTGP will serve as a pilot, with the hope of constructing additional therapy gardens to serve veterans in regions across the state of Michigan. 

Who We Are: MSU Extension Veteran Outreach Team 

The Paw Paw Veterans Garden project is led by MSU Extension District 13 Consumer and Veterans Horticulture Educator Christopher Imler, in coordination with MSU Extension's statewide Veteran Outreach team. In addition, a team of volunteers from MSU Extension Master Gardeners of Southwest Michigan will provide support to ensure the garden is expertly maintained and continues to meet rigorous quality standards upon its completion.

For more information:Contact Christopher Imler,, 754-281-5150, or visit MSU Extension's Veterans’ programming website.

The garden is located at 801 Hazen St., Paw Paw, MI 49079

Join us at the Veterans Day Garden Gathering and learn more here.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 24OOPCF1TGVD” in the note section.

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