For grades K-12

Asphalt to Ecosystems is an illuminating guidebook for designing and building creative, ecologically diverse schoolyards and integrating nature into learning and play activities across K-12 curricula. With a wealth of practical advice and over 500 color photographs, Sharon Gamson Danks offers a fully illustrated, easy-to-understand guide for transforming the traditional school ground’s slab of asphalt into edible gardens, wildlife habitats, and other sustainable uses.
Danks includes K-12 curriculum ideas offering creative connections to a wide range of disciplines from the sciences to the humanities, evincing the many benefits and applications of designing and building green schoolyards: experiential learning opportunities that deepen students’ understanding of abstract concepts; play-based solutions to the problem of childhood obesity; and opportunities for social and emotional development through  cooperative, problem-solving activities. The book’s abundant illustrations and stories show readers how ecological schoolyards can improve students’ classroom performance, increase self-esteem, better lifestyle practices, and instill in young students a much-needed sense of environmental stewardship.
With this handbook to guide the planning, design, and implementation process, educators, parents, students, designers, and environmental activists will see the potential for redesigning under-utilized schoolyard spaces to cultivate richer learning and play experiences.
ISBN 978-0-9766054-8-5 from New Village Press (newvillagepress.net). Paperback, 288 pages. $39.95. Available in November of 2010.