School yards at five Boston Public Schools are getting a dose of green to support a cleaner Charles River.

New rain gardens, bioswales and other green infrastructure will soon capture and filter rainwater runoff while serving as an educational tool for teachers and students of five Boston Public Schools. Construction and planting are now complete at the Irving School in Roslindale, and construction has begun at the Hernandez School in Roxbury. These projects are a collaboration between Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), Boston Public Schools (BPS), the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), Horsley Witten Group, Offshoots, and Kristin Metz.

Rainwater gardens at a local schoolCRWA is working with Kristin Metz to develop a science curriculum focused on stormwater pollution that will allow teachers to use the new green infrastructure in their school yards as a living lab to teach their students about ecology, the water cycle, and pollution. The new green school yards will be educational, interactive, and offer some greenery to the urban landscape. Teachers will be piloting the new curriculum during this upcoming school year, and plan to implement the curriculum across the district in the 2018-2019 school year. These green school yards can also serve as model schools for surrounding districts.

Last month, CRWA attended a Wellness Day at Ellis Elementary School in Roxbury to chat with teachers and students about the rain gardens and other green infrastructure that will soon be built at the school. The other two schools in this program are the Jackson Mann K-8 School in Allston and Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (grades 9-12) in the Mission Hill neighborhood.

Stay tuned for ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Washington Irving and Rafael Hernandez schools this fall. Dates and times will be announced through the Mayor’s office, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Boston Public Schools, and Charles River Watershed Association.

This green infrastructure is one way Boston is able to reduce stormwater flooding and prepare the City’s existing infrastructure for a changing climate. Integrating sustainability and climate change concepts throughout youth programming and curriculum is also an action outlined in Boston’s own 2014 Climate Action Plan. Convening key infrastructure partners is also a key strategy for Boston's Climate Ready Boston initiative.

Learn about the progress to date to prepare our City for a changing climate by viewing our Climate Ready Boston progress tracking tool, and to stay up to date on all things climate, sign up for the Greenovate Boston newsletter.

Image: Rain gardens at a local Boston school - Photo by Kate Kennen


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