Greening School Grounds Evaluation Rhea Dawn Mahar Nicole Pettipas Emily Gregus Jorge Soto August 2004
Introduction • School Ground Greening – process of bringing native species habitats and interesting, stimulating learning spaces to schoolyards • Non-profit catalyst • Continuous interest • Mobile populations • More diverse support
Goal and Objectives • Goal: Assess eleven years of projects in the Halifax Regional School Board • Objectives: What has been done, how it came to be, how has it survived, who is using the space and how, what are the positives and negatives of this, and what are the needs to sustain a landscape for learning?
Characteristics of Survey • 49 Questions • Conducted July 27-August 10 • 1 1/2 hours per interview
Person to person • 22 Schools and 27 People • All had greening projects and were in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
How/Why Projects Determined Projects started: • For educational purposes • Beautification • To preserve/utilize an already existing green area. • In memoriam of a person connected to school
Schools chose specific projects by: • Consulting with students, teachers, and their Parent-Teacher Association • Through surveys, garden clubs, newsletters, and work shops • Projects were an average of 4 to 5 years • The oldest 11 years old • The youngest 1 year old.
Planters Gardens Trees Hedges Benches Outdoor classrooms Trails Common Projects
Funding and Assistance • PTA fundraisers and donations • Tree Canada • Canada Trust • Evergreen • Ecology Action Center • Local Councilors • School funds • Local companies
Maintenance and Management • Average survival rate for trees-80% and shrubs-90% • Performed by: Parent volunteers, students (through greening clubs), teachers, Greening committees • Usually one person takes charge
Educational Aspects • Science-Experiential • English/Literacy-Inspiration • Math-Measurement • Phys. Ed.-Reason to be outside • Art-Inspiration • Drama-Setting
Educational Aspects, continued • Have not incorporated into schedule of classes formally. • Up to teachers • Construction of outdoor classrooms does not necessarily mean more classes outside
Frequency of Maintenance • Done on as-needed basis or not at all (summer time) • Often depends on quality of leadership with projects • During school year, usually some sort of schedule. Either greening clubs or through classes.
Community Involvement: • Garden parties/Events to include community • Newsletters and notices • Local politicians-Come to events occasionally and give donations. No big role. • School Board Elected Reps.- Not usually involved • School Board Staff-Not involved, but support (verbal support and permission to install projects) • Municipality – Potential for partnership
To Encourage Use of Outdoors: • Inservicing for staff • Activity sheets – lesson plans • Guest Speakers • Support of administration and staff-Time and interest • Overall incorporation of it into curriculum • Maintenance
Sustainability of Projects • Most still exist • Maintenance is a problem • Usually one person managing project who relies on volunteer help that comes and goes. • Survival of projects depends on maintenance (but most are surviving)
Conclusions Benefits: • Better appearance of school • Pride in school by children and community • Respect for school yard and nature • Learning experience • Awareness of outdoors • Team work • Different way for students to get involved
Problems: • Damage from snow plows, weather and vandalism • Maintenance • Lack of long-term interest/leadership • Administration changes
Recommendations • Hire students to perform maintenance • Give teachers more support so they feel more comfortable going outside • Task force to find workable programs - Summer maintenance - More permanent support; Board, HRM (municipality), Department of Education