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Green Infrastructure

Teach, Learn, Grow: The Value of Green Infrastructure in Schoolyards

Schools across the United States are among the most fertile grounds for green infrastructure implementation. Demonstration projects in schoolyards are living laboratories that can provide water quality benefits, create wildlife habitat, and acquaint future generations with the importance of responsible stormwater management. In this webcast, speakers from Green Schoolyards America Exit, the Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center Exit, and The Children & Nature Network Exit discuss the multiple benefits of integrating green infrastructure practices into America's schoolyards, and provide attendees with on-the-ground case studies and tools that can be used to create or enhance green schoolyard initiatives in their own communities.


October 11, 2017 
2:00 - 3:30 pm EDT


Sharon Danks is the founder and director of Green Schoolyards America. Since 1999, Sharon’s professional work and passion have focused on transforming school grounds into vibrant public spaces that reflect and enhance local ecology, nurture children, and engage the community. Her work is now focused on scaling up the green schoolyard movement and integrating school ground design and management with green urban infrastructure planning. An accomplished schoolyard researcher and speaker, Sharon has traveled the world to study hundreds of school grounds and share best practices.

Tonya Bronleewe brings a wealth of water and air quality experience to the Wichita State Enviromental Finance Center. For the past two years, she worked on the South Central Kansas Ozone Advance program for the City of Wichita where she facilitated the Air Quality Improvement Task Force that provides leadership to reduce ozone pollution in the region. Tonya also served as a Natural Resources Extension Agent for Sedgwick County Extension where she worked on a neighborhood stormwater pond maintenance education program. She graduated from Tabor College with a BA in Environmental Biology and International Studies and also completed a Master's of Science in Environmental Science at Friends University.

Jaime Zaplatosch is the director of Green School Schoolyards for Healthy Communities. Through this program, Jaime is leading the Children & Nature Network's goal to support city-wide, equity-based green schoolyard development across the U.S.  Jaime has extensive knowledge in the field of green schoolyards with experience in  strategy, partnership building, program development, fundraising, and conservation. She is the former Vice President of Community Engagement and Education at Openlands in Chicago, where she grew the organization’s school-based programs to include a substantial school garden and teacher training program for elementary and high school students, and launched its green schoolyard program, Space to Grow.


Green Schoolyards America offers a variety of resources that focus on green infrastructure in schoolyards and illustrate how you can start or expand green schoolyard programs where you live. Learn more at

The Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center helped create tools and resources for Omaha Public School's Green Infrastructure Toolkit and Education Project. Learn more about these resources at

The Children & Nature Network operates a resource hub that contains tools for municipal leaders, administrators, school staff, parents and community members to advocate for and implement green schoolyard programs. Learn more at