Green Spaces at UW-Madison and Mental Health

August 6, 2019


On an urban campus like that of UW-Madison, it can be hard not to feel like you are stuck in a concrete jungle of sorts. It seems that no matter where you look, all you see is building after (ugly) building—this can be overwhelming and mentally exhausting. Sometimes you can even feel like there is no escape, no safe space around to relax and mentally recharge. I know I felt like that, but I was gladly proven wrong.

Students and adults meditating in Garden

There are many famous green spaces at UW, including the Arboretum, Bascom Hill and the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. However, there are also many lesser-known “hidden gems” scattered across the campus, including the Institutes for Discovery’s Mesozoic Garden, the Botanical Garden, and my personal favorite, Allen Centennial Garden.

A Serene view of the Pond

The prevalence of these green spaces is no accident of history. UW-Madison is renowned for environmental and city planning pioneers such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson. The public urban green spaces these visionaries inspired have become hallmarks of both the university and Madison, helping the community to function more efficiently, sustainably and have its residents to be more mentally healthy.

This commitment can be found across the university. In fact, there is a campus-wide initiative called UWell aimed at improving the long-term wellness of the university and its surrounding community. The best part? It promotes the benefits of green spaces, noting that people are the most content and relaxed when they are outdoors.

Rock Garden Waterfall

While I could go on and on about the importance of green spaces for mental health—especially the positive impact spending time in Allen Centennial Garden had on mine—I invite you to visit to learn more about the benefits and find a hidden gem close to you!


by Jaya Larsen | Former Marketing Intern