Canadian school grounds can be redesigned to better serve our children and our communities while also adapting to a changing climate.
Schools are a significant component of public space in our cities and communities. They are hubs of learning and play where children develop and build relationships with each other and the natural world. Schools also provide a vital space for habitat restoration, community use and climate adaptation.
How school grounds are designed plays a major role in how a community or city will, or will not, adapt to climate change.
Evergreen’s Climate Ready Schools builds on our 30-year legacy of transforming school grounds across Canada into nature-rich play and learning environments for both children and their communities. This program is the next stage of our intensive work to green Canadian school grounds.
Every Climate Ready School has three goals that define how we transform the space:
Create a place that can adapt to the changing climate by managing stormwater on site while respecting the ecological landscape.
Nurture the development of healthy bodies and minds through dynamic environments that encourage children to try new things.
For children to enjoy a significant increase in outdoor play and learning during school hours while finding new ways for the place to serve the wider community.
With Climate Ready Schools, we bring best practices from around the world and combine them with the lessons and relationships Evergreen has built through transforming over 6,000 Canadian schools, impacting over one million students thus far.
Canadian school grounds cover hundreds of thousands of acres of land and are found in nearly every municipality. Yet, they are an underappreciated asset hiding in plain sight.
Currently, Canadian school grounds are mostly covered with asphalt and concrete, significantly contributing to the Urban Heat Island Effect. Within the larger global context of climate change, Canadian school grounds are also becoming major hotspots for flooding during storms. Therefore, it is essential to build climate resilience within our communities and cities to ensure that these landscapes serve a deeper ecological purpose.
Through our participatory design process, the Climate Ready Schools program engages with the entire school community in creating and championing a tailor-made solution for their school grounds.
“When you look at a school ground, you can reimagine it as a park where the whole community can flourish in this green space. It’s essential to build resilience within our local communities to ensure that these landscapes serve a deeper ecological purpose.”
After the success of our pilot at Irma Coulson Public School, we’re looking to accelerate our impact. Over the next decade, we want to bring our expertise to projects across the country and work with communities to transform their school grounds. That means working with construction, design and landscape professionals, among other industry experts.
Expanding Climate Ready Schools will:
Are you interested in supporting the Climate Ready Schools program? Are you representing a school board interested in your own Climate Ready Schools journey?
Please send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
To learn more about the Irma Coulson Public School Pilot, and how the school grounds were designed, watch the video case study.
Transforming public spaces is a vital step in stewarding the land so that the generations to come can live healthy, vibrant lives.