Current Green Schoolyards Movement

At TreePeople, our goal is to build the largest school greening movement that centers academic achievement, health and equity for students across California. Our movement is grounded in listening to, organizing and working closely with parents, students, engaged teachers, administrators and key school district leadership.

TreePeople currently has formalized partnerships with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the nation, as well as other school districts across Southern California to help catalyze greening schools as a priority. TreePeople believes systemic change will be achieved through policy change, community organizing, rethinking funding priorities, providing partners with resources, and creating long-term partnerships.

Below are TreePeople’s current ground-breaking, community led pilot green school projects.

The Pacoima Living Schoolyards Project will transform an asphalt-covered schoolyard into a living outdoor classroom and native garden. The design features native shade trees, pollinator gardens, education and play areas.

Crowded in with three freeways, dense industrial areas, and a commercial airport notorious for lead emissions, the Pacoima community deserves this investment. With 41% of individuals not having immediate access to a park, residents face tremendous barriers to accessing natural spaces in their neighborhood. Pacoima’s lack of green space and canopy contributes to the urban heat island effect (6 degrees hotter) and poor air quality making it a high climate vulnerable community.

For more than 20 years, TreePeople has led community-based, nature-based, green infrastructure projects with the Pacoima community, including developing a school greening model with one of the first school stormwater infiltration basins at Broadus Elementary in Pacoima in 1998. Born from a vision of the school community and a dedicated principal, the Pacoima Middle School Living Schoolyard project will be a catalyst for a larger school-greening effort in the state’s largest school district and is funded by the California Natural Resources Agency and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

In partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Communities for a Better Environment, TreePeople is implementing a nature-based, multi-beneficial, green infrastructure stormwater management project on Wilmington Middle School’s campus.

This school greening project addresses the critical need to implement watershed adaptation projects in order to reduce the impacts of climate change on California’s coastal communities and ecosystems to provide a healthier, greener and more climate-resilient learning environment. This project will transform two areas of the campus, removing about 15,000 square feet of asphalt and replacing it with permeable surfaces, planting at least 25 trees and native plants throughout the campus, supporting stormwater mitigation and infiltration, and providing space for nature-based outdoor education and recreation opportunities.

TreePeople is also implementing greening projects in Watts, the San Fernando Valley, Boyle Heights, Rialto, and other communities across Southern California.