Since 2006, the Schoolyard Greening Initiative has led to the removal of almost 20 acres of asphalt. In its place schools are enjoying learning gardens, reading circles, art spaces, groves of new trees and sports fields. 

Parks & People’s Schoolyard Greening Initiative transforms asphalt school lots into educational green sites through partnerships with the Maryland Port Administration and other developers in need of projects to meet state stormwater mitigation requirements.

Projects are approved by the Baltimore City Public School System and supported by city agencies such as the Department of Public Works and the Department of Recreation & Parks. By replacing asphalt with green space, this program improves the environment, provides health benefits, builds community and creates exciting new educational opportunities for students. 

Parks & People works with the school and surrounding community to design a unique greening plan for the site, which is then implemented over the course of several seasons.

For more information on Schoolyard Greening, email Sam Little or call Sam at (410) 448-5663 ext. 127.

Professional Development

Our professional development program, Schoolyard Habitat and Education (SHEP) provides training for teachers on how to use schoolyard habitat gardens to implement Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). As well as SHEP, Parks & People is a partner in the Students Restoring Urban Streams (SRUS) initiative, to provide meaningful service learning opportunities to Baltimore City middle and high school students.

Click here to learn more about our both of these programs.

Highlighted Projects:

Franklin Square Elementary Middle School
For decades, Franklin Square’s 2-acre playground was asphalt – much of it cracked, covered in broken glass and weeds. It became so dangerous that the children were forbidden to play there. In partnership with Baltimore City, the Parks & People Foundation asked the children of Franklin Square what they wanted on their new playground in addition to grass. After it was explained to them why they couldn’t have waterslides or giraffes, the kids agreed they wanted a garden to attract birds and butterflies. In 2010, the Parks & People Foundation removed the asphalt and, with the help of the children, planted marigolds, serviceberry bushes and spartina grass. In addition, they built a reading and meditation circle where the children now read, think and bond with nature.

Curtis Bay Elementary School – With construction work completed by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks, approximately .7 acres of asphalt were removed from the grounds of this school and replaced with new soil and grass, with work completed in the fall of 2008. While this was occurring, Parks & People facilitated garden education and planning with students, helping them to design new schoolyard habitats. On November 21, 2008, these gardens were installed with participation from 5 teachers, 75 students and 1 volunteer, resulting in the planting of 45 native perennials and 100 bulbs.