New Village Press has just published a new book by Sharon Danks entitled, "Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation". (www.asphalt2ecosystems.org
) It will be available in stores in mid-October 2010.
"Asphalt to Ecosystems" broadens our notion of what a well-designed schoolyard should be, taking readers on a journey from traditional, ordinary grassy fields and asphalt to explore what's being created in the growing movement toward "green" school grounds in the U.S. and around the world. This book documents exciting examples from more than 150 schools in 11 countries, illustrating a vast range of possibilities in outdoor environments for learning and play.
More than 500 vivid color photographs showcase some of the world's most innovative green schoolyards including: edible gardens with fruit trees, vegetables, chicken, honeybees, and outdoor cooking facilities; wildlife habitats with prairie grasses and ponds, or forest and desert ecosystems; schoolyard watershed models, rainwater catchment systems and waste-water treatment wetlands; renewable energy systems that power landscape features, or the whole school; waste-as-a-resource projects that give new life to old materials in beautiful ways; K-12 curriculum connections for a wide range of disciplines from science and math to art and social studies; creative play opportunities that diversify school ground recreational options and encourage children to run, hop, skip, jump, balance, slide, and twirl, as well as explore the natural world first hand.
The book grounds these examples in a practical framework that illustrates simple landscape design choices that all schools can use to make their schoolyards more comfortable, enjoyable and beautiful, and describes a participatory design process that schools can use to engage their school communities in transforming their own asphalt into ecosystems.