130 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, California

Schools around the world are using their grounds to enhance hands-on teaching and learning, enrich outdoor play, and improve the ecology of their neighborhoods.  Sharon Danks will present a vibrant slideshow that takes us on a journey from traditional, grassy fields and pavement, to explore the growing movement toward "green" school grounds.  Along the way, we will “visit” some of the world's most innovative green schoolyards including schools with: edible gardens; wildlife habitats; schoolyard watershed models, rainwater catchment systems, and waste-water treatment wetlands; renewable energy systems; waste-as-a-resource projects that give new life to old materials in beautiful ways; curriculum connections for a wide range of disciplines; and creative play opportunities that diversify school ground recreational options and encourage children to explore the natural world. The talk will also ground these examples in a practical framework that schools can use to make their schoolyards more comfortable, enjoyable, and sustainable, and describe a participatory design process to engage school communities as stewards of their own public spaces.

Sharon Gamson Danks is the author of the newly published book, Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation (New Village Press, Nov. 2010), and an environmental planner and founding partner of Bay Tree Design, inc. in Berkeley, California. As a researcher, writer, and hands-on designer and planner, she has visited and documented over 200 green schoolyard and park projects in North America, Europe, and Japan.  Since 2001, Sharon and her firm have assisted over three dozen schools, using a participatory master planning process to help them transform their grounds from ordinary asphalt into vibrant ecosystems for learning and play. In addition to a MLA-MCP from University of California, Berkeley, Sharon holds a Professional Certificate in Natural Resource Management from U.C. San Diego Extension and a BA from Princeton University.

Added by ecoarchitect on November 29, 2010

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