July 31, 202412:00 pm ET

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Observing bees hovering over pollinator-friendly native flowers, using tree stumps shaded by native trees to detect birds and insects, or stepping on large colorful stones to explore growing perennial plants and veggies in gardens, are just some examples of how many students in our region’s early childhood centers and elementary schools spend part of their school day.  

That’s thanks to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s school grounds greening program that has transformed concrete and/or grass-only areas into engaging, nature-focused outdoor play and greenspaces at nearly 80 schools in Pittsburgh and across the region since 2007.   

Native greenery, flower-shaped chalkboards, climbing rocks and boulders, birdhouses, picnic tables, farmers market stands, mazes, and much more are some of the skill-developing physical features of these outdoor play spaces. These spaces not only provide ecological services to support nature, but also encourage early childhood development in several ways, including enhancing physical skills and inspiring opportunities for creativity, imagination, problem-solving, discovery, observation, experimentation, and social interaction. 

Join us for a free webinar and an engaging discussion that shares more benefits of these greenspaces, explains how our funding partners; including the Grable Foundation, PNC Grow Up Great, and Richard King Mellon Foundation have supported this work, and explores ways teachers are using these spaces to include hands-on, nature-based learning in their curriculum-focused lessons. 

Whether you are a teacher looking for an engaging way to teach a science lesson, an administrator exploring opportunities to connect students to native plants and trees in your schoolyard, or a parent seeking guidance on how to use your backyard landscape for your young learning, this webinar is for you! 

About the Presenters

Art DeMeo, Senior Director of Community Greening Projects

As the Conservancy’s senior director of community greening projects, Art has a passion for greening neighborhoods and working with community members to plant and install gardens, flowers, trees, raingardens and bioswales across Western Pennsylvania. He leads the Conservancy’s on-the-ground implementation of its community greening work that is not only helping to beautify the region, but also solving problems related to pollinator habitat decline and stormwater runoff. He has established innovative solutions in urban greenspaces in his hometown of New York City and across the Pittsburgh region. Art has a degree in urban and community forestry from Unity Environmental University.

Kelly Flynn, Community Greening Education and Special Projects Coordinator

Kelly is the Conservancy’s education and special projects coordinator. With more than 20 years of experience in education as a teacher and education coordinator, Kelly manages the school grounds greening program and other greenspace projects for the Conservancy’s community greening program. She has overseen the installation of seven early childhood outdoor play spaces and particularly enjoys doing school grounds greening projects, because it blends all of the skills she has developed in her career. Kelly has worked at the Conservancy since 2013 where she shares her love of gardening, nature and education with the community.

July 31, 202412:00 pm

Register Now