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This conference is made possible by the generous contributions of our conference co-sponsors:

Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

San Francisco Beautiful

San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA)

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)

San Francisco Unified School District











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San Francisco

Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA)

2004 Green School Grounds Conference

October 8 & 9, 2004


Workshop List


Welcome to the workshop information page for SFGSA's 2004 Green School Grounds Conference!

On Saturday, October 9th, conference participants will have the opportunity to select two half-day, hands-on workshops from a wide variety of schoolyard greening and green building topics. The workshop topics are listed below.

Each conference participant will be able to enroll in two workshops: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We recommend that you select two workshops held at the same school site in order to minimize your travel. (There will be a 45 minute brown bag lunch break between the AM and PM sessions.) Please note that some workshops will be offered all day, with morning and afternoon sessions available independently. In most of these all day workshops, the morning group will begin a project and the afternoon session will complete it.

When signing up for the conference, please give us your first and second choice selections for the AM and PM workshop slots. In most cases, class size will be limited to 15 participants.

Here is the link to the conference brochure and enrollment form, in Adobe PDF format: conference brochure (The file size is 455 KB, and it is helpful to have the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to read it properly.)

SFGSA Conference Workshop List

Location #1

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy - 4235 19th Street, San Francisco

Time offered

Bamboo Shade Structure

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructor: Darrel DeBoer, DeBoer Architects

Learn about bamboo construction techniques while helping to build a small shade structure out of this renewable resource.





Cob Oven Sculpture

Instructor: Jackson Porretta, Oakland Leaf Foundation

Come get your hands (and feet!) dirty helping to build an earth-based oven sculpture out of cob, a mixture of sand, clay, and straw. This workshop will cover project design, construction techniques, and cooking tips.





School Gardening 101

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructors: Sebastien Bacharach, Garden for the Environment, A Project of HANC; and Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Director of Educational Gardens, SFUSD

Is your school a blank slate? Come learn the basics of organic gardening, design, maintenance, and composting. Discuss methods of working with children outdoors, and how to get school buy-in.


Solar Schoolhouse: Hands-on Education Energized by the Sun

Instructor: Konika Ray, Headlands Institute and Rahus Institute

Put the sun to use in your schoolyard! Learn about hands-on solar curricula you can use to create human sundials, solar box cookers, mini-solar cells, and many other sun-powered lessons.


Groceries from the Garden

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructors: Claire Beyer and Kari Rodenkirchen, The Watershed Project

This workshop encourages educators to show their students the pleasures of growing, harvesting, preparing, and tasting garden-grown plants. Groceries from the Garden presents easy recipes to complete in the classroom, as well as tips and resources for cooking with students. Workshop emphasizes the benefits of local organic food production, with recipes incorporating pollution prevention, nutrition, and waste reduction themes. Participants will receive seeds, recipes, and lesson plans. Topics covered may include tea plants, no-cook recipes, and taste testing. Curriculum correlations will be made in other subjects, including nutrition, math, and social studies.


"Forum" on Children's Health on School Grounds

Moderator: Irene Yen

Participate in a discussion with a panel of experts on children's health and nutrition issues as they relate to school grounds. Topics covered will range from nutrition-based school gardens to how to avoid schoolyard health hazards (such as lead).

Mark Elkin is Project Coordinator for the Nutrition Education Project (NEP) of San Francisco Unified School District. Mark will provide an overview of NEP's efforts to encourage students and families to eat more fruits and vegetables and increase physical activity levels. He will focus on nutrition policy at the city level and provide ideas and resources to create positive change at the school level based on successful strategies implemented by NEP.

Vannie Phan is a Community Health Worker with HERC's Breathing Counts Project. She will describe their education, assessment, and treatment projects. Asthma is the primary reason students are absent from school. Vannie will provide participants with tools to recognize asthma, prevent it, and support students with asthma.

Matt Tsang will present a case study from the Willard Middle School garden program in Berkeley. He will speak about their successes: working with students to create and maintain production gardens that support the school lunch program; incorporating animals into the school garden; and partnering with local businesses.

Susan Zieleniewicz, the Bay Area Region 5 a Day-Power Play! Coordinator, of the University of California Cooperative Extension, will highlight Power Play! and UCCE nutrition education curriculum, materials and resources available for schools and community youth organizations. In her presentation, she will discuss different topics such as childhood obesity and food industry marketing to children.


Location #2

John Muir Elementary School - 350 Webster Street, San Francisco

Time offered

Outdoor Classroom Seating

Instructor: Greg Van Mechelen, Van Mechelen Architects

Learn about designing outdoor classroom spaces and then participate in the construction of a bench that incorporates children's ideas and "earth bag" construction techniques. Participants will build an outdoor bench out of gravel bags, chicken wire, stucco, and recycled materials. The design will be developed on site with preliminary input from the children, and will use low technology and creative energy to complete a durable bench in less than 8 hours.





Visualizing Your Green Dreams: How to Design & Create Schoolyard Murals

Instructor: Precita Eyes mural company

Explore ways to build community through art and learn techniques for creating a schoolyard mural, from design to installation.



School Gardening 201

Instructor: Rivka Mason, School Garden Coordinator, Malcolm X Elementary School, Berkeley

Do you want to expand your school's small garden? Learn to galvanize your school community, find local resources, improve soil health, practice seed saving, and a variety of other gardening techniques.


Teaching Science and Math in the Schoolyard

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructor: Karen Mendolow Nelson, Science Educator

Join us for a potpourri of hands-on science and math curricula that can be easily explored in the schoolyard. Explore life sciences, earth science, as well as arts and ecoliteracy while supporting inquiry and addressing State standards.


Cultivate a Peace Garden

Instructor: Adele Maze, Marin Waldorf School

Learn to transform a place on your school grounds into a peace garden. Extend your curriculum through activities and celebrations to cultivate a peaceful temperament and environment. Part of the workshop will be spent on a hands-on project creating colorful, block-printed peace flags that you can take back to your own school.


"Forum" on Finding Resources for Your Green Schoolyard Project

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Moderator: Nan McGuire, SFGSA Chair

A panel of local experts will give short presentations and answer your questions about how to find resources and funding for your green schoolyard project.

Fran Martin, the Co-Chair of Visitacion Valley Greenway Project in San FranciscoFran will present slides of this project which has spanned ten years in developing a series of connected land parcels to be used by the surrounding community including the local schools.

Nan McGuire, Chair of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance, and the moderator for this forum, will speak here as a member of the San Francisco Beautiful grants committee. She will discuss tips for grant proposal writing and what people can expect if they decide to apply to San Francisco Beautiful for a grant.

Tina Poles, School Garden Project Director for the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Occidental, CA will conduct an exercise with participants that will help them to organize a
greening project at their school.

Diana Samuelson, Coordinator of Project Ole at San Francisco Community Alternative Elementary School, will describe her success finding and working with volunteer groups who can come to school garden work days.


Location #3

Commodore Sloat Elementary School - 50 Darien Way, San Francisco (at Ocean Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard)

Time offered

Bird and Butterfly Gardens

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructors: Gregory Kellett and Jen Marks, Coevolution Institute

Help plant a bird and butterfly garden while learning the habitat needs of these beautiful winged creatures. The AM session of this workshop will include K-5 curriculum connections, and the PM session will address middle school curricula.





Brighten the Schoolyard with Tile Mosaics

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructor: Robert Buechting, Mosaic Tile Artist

Learn mosaic tile techniques while getting hands-on experience with recycled materials as you install a tile art masterpiece designed by students!





Living Willow Play Elements

Instructor: Ellen Miramontes, Landscape Architect

Learn how to use living willow branches to create innovative play spaces at your school or park. Get your hands dirty helping to create a willow play dome in front of the host school.

Living willow play elements are fairly new to the US, but common in England and other places in Europe. Click on the links below for examples of living willow projects from abroad:

Living Willow Company in the UK

Living Willow Sculpture Company in the UK





Terracing and Urbanite Construction

Instructor: Josho Somine, Sustainability Educator

Learn about a range of materials and techniques you can use to build raised garden beds and small terraces on sloping ground. Help contour and terrace a small slope with reclaimed concrete (often referred to as "urbanite" in the green building field).





School Gardening 301

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructor: Tina Poles, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Calling all accomplished gardeners! This workshop will focus on advanced gardening methods including pruning, hard and soft wood propagation, schoolyard animal husbandry, and more.


Schoolyard Master Planning Techniques

*** Sorry, this workshop is now FULL. ***

Instructor: Jane Hayes, Evergreen (Toronto, Canada)

Reach out to your school community to include them in the green school ground transformation process. Learn hands-on approaches to analyzing and creating a concept plan for your school site.