Coast to Coast Ep. 17: Leveraging parks and public spaces for schools during COVID-19

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How can schools leverage greenspaces during COVID-19? How can parks and public spaces provide a safer space for outdoor learning? On Episode 17 of Coast to Coast, we’ll hear from Sharon Danks, CEO and Founder of Green Schoolyards America, a nonprofit  that supports schools in using their outdoor areas more strategically to improve the well-being of children, their communities, and the urban environment. Green Schoolyards America is a co-founder of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, which is helping school districts across the country use outdoor spaces as they reopen with physical distancing measures in place.

Episode Resources
Provided by Guests

Green Schoolyards America’s pre-COVID work:

  • Two introductory articles wrote by Sharon Danks
  • Information about Sharon Danks’ book, Asphalt to Ecosystems: 
  • Free downloadable books. This set of books includes more than 250 ideas to help teachers take kids of all ages outside at school for hands-on learning and other activities: 
  • Video/audio library of recorded live presentations given by Sharon Danks about green schoolyards

Work related to the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative:  

News articles


  • “Schools Mull Outdoor Classes Amid Virus, Ventilation Worries” – AP News
  • “Schools Seeking Alternative to Remote Learning Try an Experiment: Outdoor Classrooms” –NBC News
  • “A California Collective Makes the Case for Outdoor Learning” – PBS Newshour Weekend
  • “Why Can’t We Have Class Outside? It might be the answer to America’s school-reopening problem.” –The Atlantic
  • “Why Outdoor Education May be the Key to Reopening Schools Safely” – Bioneers


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Coast to Coast

“Coast to Coast” is a weekly Knight Foundation show. Hosted Lilly Weinberg, Knight director in the Community and National Initiatives program, the program will take a weekly deep dive into cities and the important ideas and insights that move them forward.
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