Portland Public schools supports the greening of our schoolyards, values green spaces as vital learning tools for students, and is working to advance the movement to create nature rich school-based experiences.
Green schoolyards provide an outdoor classroom for experiential learning, standards-based teaching, and interaction with the natural environment. Outside, students have opportunities to discover the value of observation & play, build a stronger connection to the food they eat, and grow an appreciation for the diversity of life - both human and nonhuman.
The District is motivated by significant research that showcases remarkable improvement in cognitive abilities, whole-student health, and social connection with repeated exposure to the natural world. We are committed to making sure the benefits of spaces such as this are accessible and utilized by all children in all neighborhoods throughout our school system.
There are over 65 school gardens and 11 community gardens located on PPS property, not including many native plants gardens and the Schoolyard Habitat Certified schools.
Are you interested in starting a garden at your school? Find our Project Checklist here.
In the last five years, over 2,000 trees were planted on PPS property. If you are interested in planting trees on PPS property, please review the Tree Planting Guidelines
As part of our efforts to green our schoolyards, we are working on removing asphalt and concrete from for planting trees, stormwater management, and for school gardens.
Portland Public Schools works with many partners in to develop, construct, and maintain bioswales, cisterns, courtyard projects, downspout disconnects, eco roofs, and flow through planters. Managing stormwater is important to ensure healthy waterways for people, aquatic life, and terrestrial wildlife.
- Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership “The Partnership”
- East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
- West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
- City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services – Sustainable Stormwater Division & Green Streets Program
- Community Watershed Stewardship Program Grant
- CFS Landscape
The idea behind nature play space is instead of the standard, cookie cutter metal and plastic structures that most playgrounds are made of, natural materials, landscapes, and vegetation are used to create play areas, bringing nature back into play. If you are interested in creating a nature play area on your schoolyard, please contact the Resource Conservation Coordinator. The District is in the process of developing Nature Play Guidelines.
If you are interested in projects to green your schoolyard, please contact the Sustainability Program Manager.