Asphalt Jungle – Living Schoolyards
Podship Earth: Episode 13

This episode of the podcast series, Podship Earth with host Jared Blumenfeld, focuses on the power and potential of green schoolyards to transform a sea of asphalt into living environments that improve the well-being of children and their communities at the same time. Green Schoolyards America's CEO, Sharon Danks, was interviewed for this podcast along with author Richard Louv, teachers Wanda Stewart, Maria Wyss, and Cynthia Vaughn, and students at their schools. This episode was published in May 2018.

Teach, Learn, Grow: The Value of Green Infrastructure in Schoolyards

In October 2017, Green Schoolyards America collaborated with the U.S. EPA's Office of Wastewater Management and other colleagues on a national webinar focused on the value of developing green infrastructure on school grounds, for the benefit of children and the environment. 

"Schools across the United States are among the most fertile grounds for green infrastructure implementation. Demonstration projects in schoolyards are living laboratories that can provide water quality benefits, create wildlife habitat, and acquaint future generations with the importance of responsible stormwater management. In this webcast, speakers from Green Schoolyards America, the Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center, and The Children & Nature Network discuss the multiple benefits of integrating green infrastructure practices into America's schoolyards, and provide attendees with on-the-ground case studies and tools that can be used to create or enhance green schoolyard initiatives in their own communities."

Part 1: Living Schoolyards as stormwater infrastructure

Part 1: Living Schoolyards as stormwater infrastructure

Living Schoolyards as Stormwater Infrastructure

In January 2017, Green Schoolyards America collaborated with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Unified School District to co-host a public presentation and a technical workshop about stormwater schoolyard design. Our guest speaker is renowned landscape architect Birgit Teichmann from Berlin, Germany. School grounds in Berlin are designed to infiltrate 100% of the stormwater that falls onsite, and the city has converted hundreds of paved schoolyards into fantastic, park-like stormwater school grounds over the last twenty five years. Their work is very inspiring.

Part 2: Stormwater schoolyard design and engineering

Part 2: Stormwater schoolyard design and engineering

Part 1: Living Schoolyards as Stormwater Infrastructure

In the first presentation, Birgit Teichmann introduces stormwater schoolyard design methods and philosophy, reviews successful examples from Berlin, Germany, and describes the ways that Berlin's regulatory context helps stormwater schoolyards to thrive. The first presentation also includes opening remarks by Rosey Jencks (SFPUC) and Nik Kaestner (SFUSD) who describe their organizations' work in San Francisco to manage stormwater and create green schoolyards. Sharon Danks (Green Schoolyards America) also provides an introduction that places this work in its international context, using examples from other countries in Europe and Asia. 

Part 2: Stormwater Schoolyard Design and Engineering

In the second presentation, Birgit Teichmann describes some of the technical aspects of designing school grounds for children's needs, while focusing on the performance of the stormwater management systems on site. 

Living Schoolyards for Stormwater Management

Presentations by Sharon Danks, CEO, Green Schoolyards America and Jeff Vincent, Deputy Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Cities + Schools. The event was hosted in conjunction with the STORMS Seminar Series of the California State Water Resources Control Board, in Sacramento, California, May 18, 2016. 

This seminar was held in celebration of California's second Living Schoolyard Month. It discusses the ways innovative schools are creating outdoor educational spaces while improving the environment, with a focus on stormwater management precedents and possibilities for expansion. The discussion explores the current state of our school infrastructure and the policies and funding opportunities for improved stormwater management on school grounds in the State of California.

Opening remarks by: Jeffrey Albrecht, Engineer, State Water Board (3:53); Steven Moore, Board Member, State Water Board (7:15); and California Assembly Member Phil Ting (13:09).  Presentations by: Sharon Danks (20:10); Jeff Vincent (1:06:12); and questions for Sharon and Jeff (1:42:40)  

From green schoolyards
to green communities

Podcast interview with Sharon Danks, Green Schoolyards America, on Nature Kids Radio hosted by Kenny Ballentine. Original air date:  April 7, 2016. The conversation focuses on the value of green schoolyards to children's well-being, and explores the ways in which "beneficial risks" can improve children's lifelong health.

This interview is available on YouTube (audio only).

Living Schoolyards for California

Presentation by Sharon Danks, CEO, Green Schoolyards America, at Occidental College in Los Angeles, May 28, 2015.

This presentation was held in celebration of California's first Living Schoolyard Month. The slideshow includes vibrant images from the green schoolyard movement around the world and explores the possibilities and need for scaling up green schoolyard work in the Los Angeles, California region. The event was co-hosted by Bevin Ashenmiller, PhD, of Occidental College.