WPC's School Grounds Greening Initiative Celebrates Another Successful Year
Tue, Jun 22nd 2010, 13:25. Filed under News Releases.
Pittsburgh, Pa. – June 22, 2010 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s (WPC) School Grounds Greening Initiative recently wrapped up its second year of on-the-ground work with the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The School Grounds Greening Initiative’s goal is to add sustainable, low-maintenance plants, trees and greenspaces to all 66 Pittsburgh Public Schools by the end of 2011. Made possible through a $1.5 million grant from the Grable Foundation, the program has already completed 28 projects at schools that serve some 11,000 students. By the completion of the project, WPC will have reached approximately 29,000 students and close to 5,000 staff, as well as parents and community members of the surrounding neighborhoods.
WPC utilizes sustainable landscape improvements (i.e. trees, shrubs, perennials) and constructs green spaces such as outdoor classrooms, sitting areas and natural play spaces. Studies show that bringing nature into the learning process encourages physical exercise, improves concentration, spurs creativity, instills a sense of peace and can reduce bullying, stimulate positive social interactions and enhance self-control. Community-wide effects can include increased school involvement and support from nearby community members, and a greener, healthier local environment.
Among the program’s 2010 highlights is the groundbreaking for a sensory garden that focuses on bringing the advantages of school greening to disabled students. The first of its kind in the Pittsburgh Public School district, WPC partnered with Pittsburgh Public Schools, the Grable Foundation and the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust to make it possible. The garden is located at the Pittsburgh Pioneer Education Center, a special education facility in the Brookline neighborhood that provides a range of services to students who have physical, mental and multiple disabilities. The primary focus of this garden is to utilize plants that stimulate children through touch, scent, sound, color and texture as they enjoy the outdoor spaces created in the garden.
“There has been an increasing body of research that has shown the profound developmental, psychological and behavioral benefits of healthy and regular interaction with nature,” says David Wilson, WPC’s School Grounds Greening Project Coordinator.
For more information, call 412-586-2416 or email SchoolGreening@paconserve.org.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC helped to establish ten state parks and has conserved more than 228,000 acres of natural lands and waterways. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa. that symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 10,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.
Vice President, Institutional Advancement