Environmental planner Sharon Danks is CEO of Green Schoolyards America.  Over the last fifteen years, her professional work and passion have focused on transforming school grounds into vibrant public spaces that reflect and enhance local ecology, nurture children as they learn and play and engage the community. An accomplished schoolyard researcher and an advocate of ecological design, Sharon has traveled the world to study hundreds of school grounds. She applies this international experience to her work and celebrates it in her book, Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation. A trailblazer in the green schoolyard movement, Sharon has shaped school district approaches to schoolyard greening, and facilitated green schoolyard master planning processes for more than three dozen schools. 

She is a founding principal of schoolyard design firm, Bay Tree Design, inc., and co-founded the International School Grounds Alliance, a global network of organizations and professionals working to enrich children's environments. Sharon is a member of the Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative's Leadership Group and an Advisory Council member of the Green Schools National Network. Sharon is co-author of the Green Schoolyard Resource Directory for the San Francisco Bay Area and has written many published articles. She holds an MLA-MCP from UC Berkeley and a BA from Princeton University.


Green Schoolyards America facilitates public dialogue about innovative research, design, education and policy and fosters partnerships between professionals and organizations across the USA and around the globe. Our programs promote the green schoolyard movement, build relationships that help it succeed and work to embed this paradigm shift in our existing institutions and national policy and regulatory frameworks.

We value the uniqueness of each school and celebrate local sense of place while promoting learning, environmental sustainability, lifelong health, recreation and community engagement. We believe strongly in the value of student and community participation in schoolyard design, construction and stewardship.

We provide resources, training and support for school districts and partner with nonprofits, businesses, public agencies and utilities to effect change across the USA.

We help educational institutions develop comprehensive, district-wide green schoolyard programs with strong connections to local sustainable-city planning efforts, regional ecosystems, educational standards and health.

We work with school districts to develop site-specific support systems, programs and operational strategies to help them adopt and sustain living schoolyards.

We invite like-minded professionals and organizations to join us in this work and collaborate to nurture and grow the international movement to green school grounds.

Green Schoolyards America is fiscally sponsored by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility,

a 501(c)(3) corporation.


Green Schoolyards America is a national organization that expands and strengthens the green schoolyard movement and empowers Americans to become stewards of their school and neighborhood environments. We believe that school grounds are uniquely positioned to enrich the daily lives of children and their communities, occupying both the geographic and social heart of almost every city across the USA and around the world.