The Learning Grounds Project

The Evergreen Foundation's Learning Grounds Project works to connect school children with nature by encouraging them to take an active role in the care of their local environments. Its focus is to educate children by helping them transform their schools' asphalt and turf grass into healthy, natural environments. This way, children can discover and be inspired by their surroundings, while learning first-hand about the natural world.
The Learning Grounds Project began a few years ago at Queen Mary Elementary School in Vancouver and Ridgeway Elementary in North Vancouver. Today these schools are enjoying the benefits of the program: natural school grounds are healthier for the children and have enhanced educational value. The local community is encouraged to participate in the students' projects. Workshops are held for community members to educate and train them in the principles and practices involved in the work. Learning Grounds projects have the following attributes:
  • trees and plants that attract birds and butterflies are planted on the school grounds
  • art features and playgrounds are designed to reflect the natural environment
  • conventional landscaping with exotic and imported plants is replaced by native vegetation better adapted to local soils and climate (since native plants require less irrigation, pruning, and fertilizer, this helps to decrease the maintenance of the grounds)
  • activities that give students hands-on experience in studying ecological systems and beautifying their surrounding natural environment and that involve applying classroom knowledge in the field (e.g., math is used to measure land plots)
  • students acquire research, communication, consensus-building and leadership skills, which help them in many areas of their lives, including in preparing for their future careers
Category: Urban Naturalization
Project: Learning Grounds Project
Address: 106--163 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H5
Phone: (604) 689-0766
Fax: (604) 689-0768
Contact: Charlotte Gadette