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Sherman Shoppers

SF Green Schoolyard Alliance
Keynote Speaker Author
Richard Louv

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Sherman's Green Schoolyard

Picture: workshops at the Green Schoolyard Alliance Conference at Sherman - fall 2008

Welcome back Sharks!

I'm sure you've all grown like weeds (attempt at garden humor)! First a hearty thanks to everyone who helped water the garden over the summer. Everything looks great and has remained healthy despite our third year of drought.

Over the summer we made some progress on several long term projects:

Irrigation system - We installed some area's of the yard and will organize another work day or two to complete this project this Fall. Thanks to SF Beautiful for their grant which made this possible.

Solar Education Center - We finalized drawings thanks to Karyn Shore. We are awaiting approval at the state level before we proceed with any building. Keep your fingers crossed. Thanks to PG&E for grant money that has helped get us off the ground on this project.

California Fertilizer Foundation - A huge thanks to the CFF who have granted us $1500 to start our composting program. You may remember that last summer we installed worm bins (via grant money from the Mayors Office of Community Development) and have been seeking additional funding to actually start the composting program. We expect to break ground on this during the Fall. Thanks to Susan Stroman for successfully pushing this grant application forward!

Please feel free to join us at our Green Schoolyard Committee meetings the first Thursday of each month at 8am in the volunteer room. We will discuss this year's goals and events. Hope to see you there!

Regan Mahoney Chair, Green Schoolyard Committee

Join the Green Schoolyard Project Yahoo Group

We have a Yahoo Group for Sherman Green Schoolyard business.  This group is the main communications tool for GSP business -- it allows committee members to join or leave the committee at their discretion, and have the option of reading the discussions without cluttering their email boxes.  To join the group, click here:  Sherman_Green_Schoolyard.  Documents / images / ... other items and links of interest will also be posted on the yahoo_groups website. 

History of the Sherman Green Schoolyard

As a part of a school bond, which passed in November 2003, $2 million in funding was included for a new program, “Green Schoolyards,” which provided significant funding to replace asphalt in San Francisco schools with more natural outdoor environments. 

Since then Sherman's Franklin Street Yard has surpassed the original vision of the bond.  We have a living and growing green schoolyard that provides our students with both learning and playing opportunities.  Our fantastic Garden Coordinator teaches our classes once a week about gardening, composting and caring for our yard.

Students have harvested broccoli, lettuce, swiss chard and lots of herbs and cooked them up in some terrific and tasty nutrition projects with our Nutrition Coordinator. 

Special thanks to Phyllis Matsuno, Clare Watsky, Kent David and other past and present Green Schoolyard Committee members (parents, staff, teachers) for all of their leadership, planning and work that you've done and led to make our dream a reality!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a “green schoolyard” the same thing as a school garden?
A green schoolyard is a special kind of school garden, one that is designed to be both a fun, inviting place for children to spend time outdoors and an outdoor teaching space.  There are green schoolyards in the cities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

What can children learn in a green schoolyard?
A green schoolyard can offer children hands-on opportunities to learn about plants and animals (biology), the relationship between the seasons and weather, the sun and the earth (geology/environment), about the interrelationships between living things in the garden (ecology), about how to grow food and flowers and care for a garden (gardening/horticulture) and about how to turn things grown in the garden into food (cooking/nutrition).  In addition, the green schoolyard can be an outdoor learning space for the teaching of academic subjects, and where children can work on writing and art projects.

What would I find in a green schoolyard?
Green schoolyards come in many sizes and forms, but certain features are common: a variety of accessible paths giving children access to separate, varied spaces within the schoolyard; a gathering place where an entire class can work together; seating areas for individuals and small groups: flower and vegetable gardens; composting bins; and decorative features such as murals, mosaics and paving stones that are created by children.  You might also find a sundial, a weather vane and weather station, a greenhouse, a labyrinth, birdhouses and bird feeders, and/or a chicken coop or rabbit hutch.

How do green schoolyards help the environment?
Green schoolyards are also “green” in the sense of being created and maintain in a manner that is kind to the environment: harmful chemicals are not used, compostable waste from the schoolyard and the school is converted into safe, natural fertilizer and native plants that require little additional water are featured.  Garden projects often involve reusing discarded materials.  The removal of asphalt allows natural rainfall to soak into the soil and nurture plants and animals instead of becoming stormwater run-off.  And most importantly, the city-dwelling children who spend time in a green schoolyard learn about nature and taking care of the environment.

Who maintains the green schoolyard?
The children, teachers, parent and community volunteers all have roles in maintaining the green schoolyard.  In addition, most schools with green schoolyards employ a part-time garden teacher or coordinator to help the teachers design science projects and to work directly with the children in the garden.

How are green schoolyard projects in the public schools in San Francisco funded?
Existing projects were funded entirely throughout PTA funds and private donations.  A2003 bond issue provided some public funding for green schoolyards at 17 public schools that are slated to receive accessibility upgrades, including Sherman.  The balance of initial construction funds and funds for ongoing support of green schoolyard programs, must be secured through individual donations, foundation grants and other private sources.

Do other public schools in San Francisco have some kind of green schoolyard space?
Yes, an increasing number of schools, from the pre-K/child development center level up to high school, have some kind of green schoolyard.

How would a green schoolyard benefit Sherman and its surrounding neighborhood?
When founded, Sherman was a country school set on rolling pasture land. Today, it still enjoys a lot of open space compared to other city schools, but all of the schoolyard areas are graded and paved.  Turning some of this austere expanse of asphalt into a green schoolyard will make Sherman a more exciting, fun and interesting place for children to learn and will add beauty to the neighborhood for the benefit of the whole community.

For more information and/or to get involved, please contact Green Schoolyard Committee Chair, Regan Mahoney.

Pictures - Decomposed Granite (DG) installation...and DG after in our new amphitheatre!

Additional Links of Interest...

San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance

All Hands in the Dirt