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FAB post. Totally agree but $ and maintenance stop it.

Volunteer projects suggested for school gardens and plantings were put down since "no one here to harvest in the summer or maintain" -- every solutions was met with another out down so progress waits until the educators are educated or retire and another person. I gave up!

Admirable sentiments, but I agree with Jenny that kids need space to run around. I also think there are safety issues that school administrators might not want to admit to. They need to be able to see all the kids, there can't be places for scary people to hide, emergency personnel need to be able to get in quickly.

We had a tree like that at our high school. They used to spread manure under it to keep the kids from smoking out there.

So, if you plant a nice space to sit at a school, will the administration just put a fence around it to make sure it doesn't get used?

Please rant on, but if you need reassurance that many schools are trying to do something, please check out my blog, "I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!" http://creativestarlearning.blogspot.com/

There are some lovely, inspirational school grounds. Let's celebrate the good, and encourage the bad and the ugly to make some changes. (For ideas on how to give your ugly fence a makeover, please have a look at my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=175113&id=78456423208

My kids attended a grade school where a new addition to the school created an interior court yard space. The PTO and teachers got together, planned a beautiful space and the parents and kids did all the work. All the materials were donated by local businesses and groups like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. We created a huge fish pond, a butterfly garden, reading circles with old tree stumps for seating, a patio area with picnic tables, and grasses, trees and flowering shrubs. It could be accessed by any wing of the school and was used by the science, art, reading and classroom teachers. After that we tackled the outside grounds and added more trees and shrubs. The kids and teachers love it.

We are really fortunate, we've just moved to a town with a strong agricultural tradition, where the entire front lawn of the school was ripped up last year and crops (some of which will be used for school lunches) were planted instead. I don't know all the details, but it was in partnership with a local organic farm that needed more space so I'm guessing that the labor and plants all came from them. The kids were involved in some of the planting in the spring. When you drive past the school (which is a new building designed to look like an old barn) it looks amazing. I should get over there to take some pictures and post...

The elementary school my kids attended in Olympia, WA has a vegetable & fruit garden, a created wetland, and a water-wise garden emphasizing native plants. The food garden is well integrated into the curriculum, and the other two gardens are used to varying degrees by the classes. The water-wise garden is a favorite play space. We are extremely lucky. All of these came about because of substantial parent involvement and a supportive and interested staff.

The high school my oldest son attends is about to embark on a farming program with a local non-profit (Garden Raised Bounty) which is aiming to get their program going at this one school first and then share the model with other schools. I also helped organize, design and install a learning landscape focusing on storm water issues and habitat at our Middle School a few years ago, and it still looks great.

It is hard to get things going in this time of tight school and government, and non-profit budgets, but where there is interest, communities can make it happen!

The secondary school both my daughters attended and where I am a Governor has beautiful grounds and vegetable as well as large grassy areas for ball games or whatever during breaks.

I did a guest post about the students gardening projects which is linked from my blog (www.nuttygnome.blogspot.com)under the title 'schools gardening project part 2' - which is also about one of our partner primary school's own gardening projects.

I'm very proud of what our school has achieved in the school grounds, so don't despair that all school grounds have to be grassy wastelands because that's just not the case!

In my town, the local environmental group is working with the biggest primary school to establish a community orchard on a strip of their unused ground. We plan to work with other local schools to do similar things, and they are keen. It's true that not everyone can find the time - but if you can get together with others who are interested, you can share out the work and also encourage others. Plus it's enjoyable!

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