Healing Landscape

The Betty Ann Sands Memorial Healing & Artful Landscape

Welcome to the Betty Ann Sands Memorial Healing & Artful Landscape!

The Betty Ann Sands Memorial Healing & Artful Landscape offers visitors of all abilities opportunities for exercise, creative expression, skill building, socialization and most importantly, the chance to forge a vital connection and partnership with nature. Located in Washington, NC’s historic district, three blocks from the Pamlico River, the BAS Memorial Landscape is an integral part of the Rose Haven Center of Healing, dedicated to women Veterans by advancing wellness and resilience-building Total Life Fitness (TLF) programs. 


Total Life Fitness Gymnasium

Many women Veterans suffer from trauma, or other negative experiences, while in the military. These experiences, along with gender-based social, economic, behavioral and institutional obstacles encountered after leaving the military can greatly increase stress and anxiety during reintegration into family and community life. The BAS Memorial Landscape is a welcoming and safe space that can help minimize stress and anxiety while growing life fitness across mind, body, soul and through community. The landscape acts as a life fitness gymnasium, offering elements of horticultural and creative expressive therapy design to populations experiencing emotional, cognitive, social and even physical challenges. Horticultural therapy emphasizes plant/people interactions in various treatment, rehabilitation, or vocational programs while expressive arts therapy utilizes, “the innate human desire to create and channel though music, visual arts, poetry, dance, and other artistic forms in a variety of settings to channel self-expression and help people examine their body, feelings, emotions, and thought process.” This hybrid design enables Total Life Fitness skills through wellness and resilience-building activities.

At the Rose Haven Center of Healing, there is a purposeful and intended interface of the healing elements of nature, represented by a plant dominated landscape, mindfulness, and transcendence properties of certain kinds of human activity.  This interface is represented by features such as:

  • A sensuous interaction, or lived experience with plants (planting, weeding or harvesting) and activities of creative self-expression filtered through all the human senses to also include memory and proprioception (how your brain understands where your body is in space). The “vividness” of time spent in, at and interacting with nature and self in a healing landscape. 
  • Kinetic movement through nature via accessible walkways, pathways and a garden labyrinth – promoting playfulness, mindfulness, and physical exercise while defining boundaries of spaces, activity zones and displays. These elements focus attention and energies to components and displays within the plant environment, historical context and to infrastructure and sites of creative expression.
  • Creative expression activities such as crafts and woodworking, in designated spaces out in the gardens or in the open-air barn. 
  • An abundance of interactions between plants and people that provide volunteer and more formal gardening opportunities offered in the organic raised bed produce garden as well as shrub and perennial beds throughout the healing landscape.
  • Resting and sitting areas designed for individual reflection.
  • A council ring and fire pit designed to promote community building for women Veterans involved in our Total Life Fitness programs, and other local Veteran or community groups interested in using it.
  • Healing touchstone – provides a physical, emotional, and transcendent sense of place important in healing. 
  • Subtle and occasionally overt use of metaphor Implicit in the healing blueprint to give those who visit a natural language to envision a journey of healing to themselves and others.

In addition, special events such as presentations, group tours, landscape workdays, and occasional and regularly scheduled classes encouraging all aspects and benefits of the nature/human interface – including gardening, self and group expression, movement, and more to promote the many benefits the healing landscape offers to community members

For more detailed information on specific garden features, view our garden map below.

Garden Map Forthcoming

Woodworking in the Garden

 GRIT Restoration

“The function of art is to satisfy the artist… The function of craft is to give meaning to the viewer and enhance the richness of their life.” – David Moser

Woodworking, like other nature/creative expression therapeutic activities featured at Rose Haven, can play a role in managing the effects of trauma such as anxiety and stress, provide new skills to be mastered, and the opportunity to create pieces of self-expression that are/can be simultaneously aesthetic and functional. Woodworking is not for everyone. Trauma survivors and those experiencing anxiety and stress from their military experiences or challenges in transition from military to civilian and/or reintegration into their families and communities can find solace and peace of mind in the visceral qualities of shaping nature’s bounty.

The GRIT Restoration (GR) program involves restoring something old and discarded and breathing new life into it. Our Haven House restoration is a good example of this. Pamlico Rose staff and volunteers are sharing the rehabilitation work with the General Contractor, having painted the exterior of the house and rebuilt windows and interior frames. Laying new floors and putting down trim and painting the interior will also be done by Pamlico Rose. GR also involves utilizing recycled/reclaimed wood taken from the Haven House’s restoration/renovation or donated to create furniture and other wood products. Much of the Haven House furniture will be designed and made by our carpenter and Army Veteran Jeremiah. We hope to attract women Veterans and other Veterans in the community to assist Jeremiah. After the furniture is built for the Haven House, the goal is to continue to upcycle old wood into a series of furniture pieces, from coffee tables to wall hangings to be sold with the profits going to Rose Haven. The message of rebirth is implicit in GRIT Restoration, describing both the piece of furniture and the craftsperson.

Garden Gallery


Six raised beds, built by Lucas Wood for his Eagle Scout project, form the outside boundary of the walkway that encompasses the Betty Wheeler Raised Bed Garden.  Labeled the “Seed” for its distinctive shape, the garden features a brick walkway and raised beds that allow opportunity for folks with all abilities to access, enjoy and get involved in informal or formal programs on gardening if so desired. The effort Green Agriculture Initiative for All (or GAIA, the ancient Greek mythological deity who was the mother of all life on earth) is the program dedicated to planting, growing and harvesting produce that is provided to Eagles Wings food pantry. The 2020 summer is the first season weekly donations of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and herbs were provided to Eagles Wings (see summary of the first season of harvest). 


To become involved in either effort as a volunteer or participant in a learning program contact Kaitlyn O’Donnell, kaitlyn@pamlicorose.org.

Volunteer Information

How to Volunteer

  • Contact kaitlyn@pamlicorose.org or Robert@pamlicorose.org
  • Visit the Rose Haven House at 219 E 3rd Street Washington North Carolina. 

Potential Responsibilities

  • Social Media – posting and updating
  • Working in the garden – weeding, painting, gardening, bricklaying, and more!
  • Volunteer and more formal gardening opportunities offered in the Seed Garden as well as in the shrub and perennial beds throughout the healing landscape

Why Volunteer?

  • Volunteering with Pamlico Rose at the Rose Haven Center of Healing provides you with opportunities to help women Veterans, engage with the healing gardens, and learn hands on practical skills like woodworking, and gardening
  • By volunteering, you will also be helping an under-served and at risk population, as well as supporting the community in Washington, NC
  • Increase wellness and helps you build resilience
    • Personal benefit
    • When you’re helping others, you’re helping yourself
  • Community service hours for volunteer credit for a school or organization may also be available
  • Earn a free T-Shirt