Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Push for Greener Urban Playgrounds

I received an email today from a group called CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) which runs Junior Kindergarten schools all across Vancouver and the province of British Columbia. The group is looking to 'green' school playgrounds - in the most literal sense - and needs your gardening expertise or unwanted gardening tools to help realize this dream.

Because of a lack of outdoor space and funding, playgrounds attached to schools and early-learning centers are often surrounded by pavement and have little connection to nature.

Studies have shown that young children who grow up in urban environments without regular exposure to green spaces and access to nature lose interest in physical activity, show signs of increased stress and are at higher risk of developing attention deficit disorders.

Every few months CEFA leads a school-wide project called I Contribute which involves doing something as a collective to contribute to the world. Just last month CEFA students raised money - by asking for donations, earning donations through chores, bake sales and other creative ideas - towards the earthquakes that devastated both Chile and Haiti.

For this project CEFA decided to take a look a little closer to home, in fact right outside the classroom windows to the playgrounds beyond.

To help bring some colour and life to her schools' playgrounds CEFA and a number of the students will be hosting a drive of sorts, between now and July 30th, to help raise awareness and get volunteers on board to bring plants and gardens to playgrounds at city schools. If you would like to volunteer your skills, knowledge, time or gardening materials to this cause, please write to To learn more, please visit their website at

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