Lady Evelyn schoolyard greening

If you have ever visited Lady Evelyn Alternative School, you may have noticed a distinct lack of green space.

Shoehorned into a narrow lot, the school makes do with a small yard that is almost entirely paved with asphalt. For years, the school community has yearned for an outdoor space that better reflects its values and provides students with an inspiring place to play and learn.

The yard’s mature trees—its only natural feature—have fallen victim to the Emerald Ash Borer and must be cut down. This has created a renewed sense of urgency

The time has come to renovate our concrete jungle.

Early on in this school year, a working group was established by the Lady Evelyn School Council to focus on creative and innovative ways to strengthen the level of engagement among students, parents and community members. Renovating the school yard seemed like a natural place to start.

The goal of the working group was to develop a new Schoolyard Landscape

Design Plan, created by students, teachers, parents and community members. Involving Lady Evelyn students in the process provided the added benefit of contributing to the children’s knowledge and appreciation of design methods and creative thinking.  

To start the ball rolling in September and October, we introduced the project to parents and teachers, and worked with the teachers to incorporate ‘greening activities’ into their teaching plans.

During November and December, activities for Design Phase 1 included all students filling in a survey about their schoolyard: their likes, dislikes, needs and wish lists. Teachers and parents were also provided with surveys and encouraged to provide feedback and insights.

Future steps planned for the students include measuring the schoolyard, taking pictures and confirming the accuracy of existing schoolyard surveys and maps. Age-appropriate activities will ensure that all students are included and engaged in the process.

Currently, organizers are looking at funding opportunities and applications for trees and greening requirements as they collect and analyze the survey results. They have established timelines and hope to see the students’ enthusiasm and hard work develop into a new schoolyard design for spring.

Does this sound interesting to you? We will require many more volunteers to see the Lady Evelyn Schoolyard Greening Project through to fruition.

Even if you only have an hour or two to volunteer, we will gladly accept your help. For more information about the plan, or to volunteer, please contact our mailbox.

designeducation@ladyevelyn.ca

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