The Benefits of Schoolyard Greening

This year, Earth Economics partnered with Amigos de Los Rios to assess the social, environmental, and economic benefits of the Watershed Discovery Campus of Mary W. Jackson Elementary with generous support from the Ingrid Rasch Legacy Fund. Greening the school’s playground—adding trees, pervious surfaces, and a garden—provides nearly $400,000 in annual benefits and supports the equivalent of roughly three part-time, year-round jobs. Every dollar invested in greening the Jackson Elementary playground produces at least $3.60 in measured social, environmental, and economic benefits for the students, the school, and surrounding neighborhoods.

Students and teachers share benefits of $128,404 each year, mostly from the ability of newly planted trees to mitigate temperature extremes (reducing health impacts), but also by improved compliance with ADA regulations and fresh foods provided by the school’s new garden.

 

Other benefits are shared more broadly—students and teachers, the school administration, and the broader community receive $271,364 in annual benefits, most of which come from the Community Investment Benefits associated with project spending. Stormwater management is also important, as are the aesthetic beauty of the newly green playground and improvements to improve drainage and water quality. Other public benefits include water capture, improved air quality, and energy savings from lower temperatures during heat waves.

 

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