Green Schoolyards America (GSA) and their partners are organizing a national COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative around the idea of using outdoor school space, parks, and other outdoor areas as assets as schools make plans to re-open in the fall.
The initiative, led by Sharon Danks, MLA-MCP, CEO of Green Schoolyards America, has created several working groups to develop strategies, ideas, and frameworks to assist schools across the country. This initiative was launched with an online public forum titled “Outdoor Spaces as Essential Assets for School Districts’ COVID-19 Response,” held on June 4, 2020, and co-hosted by Green Schoolyards America, The Lawrence Hall of Science, San Mateo County Office of Education, and Ten Strands.
Among the working groups developed through this initiative, a new pro bono landscape design assistance program called COVID-19 Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers is matching schools with landscape architects and design students.
Today, the National Park Service celebrates 100 years since its founding on August 25, 1916. People all across the nation are taking advantage of this birthday year to visit National Park sites to enjoy all that these special places have to offer.
In the photo above are 4 of us landscape architects hamming it up at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone National Park during a visit in 2014. Craig Coronato, FASLA, and fellow landscape architects were recently invited by the Friends of Yellowstone and the Park Director to look at ways to restore the historic trails and overlooks around the canyon. When asked about the value of this park, Craig states, “Yellowstone has a way of making you feel insignificant, yet overwhelmed to be in it.”
This year, my family and I visited several National Park sites, including Fire Island National Seashore, Governors Island National Monument, and many National Memorials and Sites in Washington, DC. These sites not only offer beautiful views and scenery but also demonstrate the rich history and culture of our nation, offering public places for reflection and remembrance.
The National Park Trust Announces an Expanded Kids to Parks Day School Contest
May 21, 2016 is National Kids to Parks Day and to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, now 100 schools will win grants!
This national contest—open to all under-served public, public charter, and private schools across the U.S.—aims to empower students to create and plan their own park experience by inviting them to submit proposals for a Kids to Parks (KTP) event at a park in their community. With help from the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund and other support, the National Park Trust (NPT) is looking to award 100 schools with park scholarships of up to $1,000. Schools should implement their KTP event during May 2016, but exceptions will be made to accommodate school schedules. This contest also supports the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative to get every 4th grader to a park this school year! The deadline for entries is Friday, March 4. Winners will be announced Friday, March 25 on the NPT website.
If you know a teacher or school that wants to get Kids to Parks, please share this information with them today. Volunteer to help them with their event by talking to students about landscape architecture and how we design great parks like the one they are visiting. This is a great way to interact with future landscape architects and expand understanding of our profession! Don’t forget to post on social media using #KidsinParks, #Landarch, and #NPS100 to show your support and broaden our reach.
Help us brainstorm the future of parks and public spaces (we’d really like to know what you know…and what you are thinking about)!
At the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago this November, be sure to attend an engaging gathering of your fellow Parks & Recreation PPN members on Sunday, 11/8 @ 12:45 PM. Given the rare opportunity to tap into the collective knowledge and experience of landscape architects from across the country, we couldn’t resist the idea of facilitating a hands-on session to capture your thoughts about the trends influencing your work, the sites and experiences that are informing your thinking, and the information you need to improve and enrich your practice.
We will be using this networking opportunity to hear the experiences that are influencing your practice; to identify the specific trends, subject matter, and areas of interest that will be most important to in the immediate and far future; and to have your input on a content management plan that we can use to set the specific direction of the PPN in the year ahead.
In addition to facilitating and disseminating the collection of expert ideas on parks and public spaces, we want to offer Parks and Recreation PPN members the opportunity to actively contribute to the PPN community in a meaningful way that will directly influence future PPN activities. The PPN is a resource that is only as strong as we all can make it.
This month, the National Recreation and Park Association is celebrating 30 years of Park and Recreation Month, and we’re inviting you to take part. The mission parks have had since the start—to serve the people, and give them a place to appreciate nature, exercise, socialize, and have fun—is as important as ever. July is a great month to get out and enjoy parks, so the ASLA Parks & Rec Professional Practice Network (PPN) would like to challenge you to show off your favorite park and activities in parks, highlighting what you consider the best feature of that park (or parklet!). Think big or small, tangible or experiential, amenity or observation. Take photos and post to Instagram, Twitter, or your favorite social media platform and include what you value most about the park. Don’t forget to add #JulyPRM30 and #ThisIsLandArch. You can view all posts on the #JulyPRM30 tagboard.
To get you started, here are some guidelines and samples for your posts, courtesy of NRPA:
Official 2015 Park and Recreation Month Hashtags
#JulyTBTChallenge (contest hashtag—you can find more information about this year’s contest at nrpa.org/july and on NRPA’s blog, Open Space)