National Green Schoolyard Leaders to Convene in Chicago this Spring

March 27, 2015

HSC is thrilled to host the National Green Schoolyards Summit in Chicago.

This spring, May 12-13, Chicago will be the hub of the green schoolyard movement as leaders from across the country convene in Chicago for the National Green Schoolyard Summit, co-hosted by Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands.

The summit aims to strengthen the green schoolyard movement by bringing together advocates and experts to focus in on effective partnerships and funding strategies for the large scale redevelopment of schoolyards in our nation’s cities. Research has shown that safe outdoor spaces to play and to engage with nature are critical for the health and wellness of children, families and communities.

For us, this is an incredible opportunity to learn from programs and organizations that are transforming schoolyards in Texas; Missouri; Washington, D.C.; New York City; and elsewhere across the country.

It’s also an incredible opportunity to showcase Space to Grow, the green schoolyard initiative we launched last year in partnership with Openlands. In October, we debuted our first Space to Grow schoolyards at four Chicago elementary schools, and work is currently underway on six more to open this fall. By navigating the intricacies of a large urban city like Chicago and tapping creative sources of funding, Space to Grow has captured the attention of other cities and organizations from across the country.

Thanks to the early success of Space to Grow and its unique program model — which brings together leadership and funding from three public agencies: Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Department of Water Management and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago — Chicago has joined this important movement. With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Grantmakers In Health, we’re thrilled to host the National Green Schoolyards Summit in Chicago, as well as to publish a report that will capture many of the summit’s key findings and strategies.

“The National Green Schoolyard Summit is an opportunity for leaders to not only improve their own programs, but, more importantly, to grow the impact of green schoolyards by sharing strategies and best practices with others,” said Healthy Schools Campaign president and CEO Rochelle Davis. “This is a critical time of need for improvement to many of our schools and the health of our children and communities. By investing in schoolyards, we’re investing in student health and learning, and creating a source of pride for a community.”