Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities Initiative encourages collaborative efforts from all stakeholders involved to transform school green spaces into areas designed for environmental education.
• Do these types of partnerships for school green space exist in your community, and how can you support them?
Though green spaces such as neighborhood parks certainly exist in urban settings, there remains a disconnect between access and experience of the natural environment for many people living in these communities.
The Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities Initiative is one approach that is attempting to democratize access to green spaces. This model transforms schoolyards, which are present in most communities, into green and vibrant areas with natural and built elements that are designed to appeal to students, their families, and their communities. Students use the schoolyards during school hours, but then the schoolyards are also opened up to the broader community at all other times.
Creating these spaces, of course, requires input from various stakeholders including school administrators, educators, staff, and students. Equally important is the inclusion of local governments and environmental professionals as well as the broader community.
Keeping in mind the importance of collaborative action, there are a few avenues through which the mission to transform schoolyards into green spaces can be achieved. For example, an emerging network of professionals that are helping children engage with nature spaces are currently advocating for the Green Schoolyards Action Agenda. Using resources from C&NN, these individuals have started creating structures in their professional work to push this agenda forward in their organizational contexts.
Similarly, professionals in non-profits, government, and for-profit sectors can advocate for the agenda in their organizations and networks. And identify opportunities to work with allied partners who are interested in furthering the green schoolyards vision.
Read the full article about partnership for green spaces in schoolyards by Rupu Gupta and Uduak Grace Thomas at Children & Nature Network.
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