Public school districts are one of the largest landowners and serve more than 50 million pre-kindergarten to 12th grade students each year In the US. Greening school grounds is clearly a leverage point In connecting children with nature as part of their everyday lives. Below are two recent Children & Nature Network guest columns and a call to action by environmental planner Sharon Gamson Danks, author of Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation. Sharon is also co-founder of the International School Grounds Alliance and CEO of Green Schoolyards America based in Berkeley, California.
The Green Schoolyard Movement: Gaining Momentum Around the World
Well-designed green schoolyards model the ecologically-rich cities we would like to inhabit. They do this at a smaller scale, and teach the next generation how to live more lightly on the Earth—shaping places where urbanization and nature coexist and natural systems are prominent and visible, for all to enjoy. They inspire students and their communities with organic food production, wildlife habitat, energy conservation and production, rainwater collection and management, sustainable design practices and creative artwork.
We are all important participants of the green schoolyard movement … get a conversation going with your neighbors, the principal at your local school, and your school district administrators.
TRENDS THAT GIVE US HOPE: The Power and Potential of Green Schoolyards
The time is right to invest much more significantly in our school grounds across the country. The green schoolyard movement has the power to bring nature to every child, every day while improving our local ecosystems, learning environments, and health.
Small scale green schoolyard projects now exist around the U.S., showing incredible promise but generally lacking the larger scale investments that can help them to reach their full potential.
This is a call to scale up our green schoolyard work from coast to coast, and empower school districts to lead this paradigm shift with increased support from their communities, public institutions, local utilities, healthcare institutions and other like-minded organizations and partners.
Combining our resources in one place—school grounds—will multiply benefits for our cities and our children in the years to come. Is it hard? Yes, but we know where to start and together we can change our course. Learn more