Brent Elementary School's "Outdoor Classroom" in Washington, D.C., is the final home of the U.S. Botanic Garden's Sustainable Schoolyard exhibit.
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Read the Hill Rag's coverage of the installation of the Sustainable Schoolyard at Brent Elemetary here.
Credits PDF Print E-mail

Friends of Smart Growth & Sustainable Communities wish to thank the many businesses, organizations, and volunteers that have contributed to the Sustainable Schoolyards demonstration display and website.


Project Coordinator

Exhibit Design and Eco-Schoolyard Conceptual Framework
Sharon Danks, Lisa Howard, and Arden Bucklin-Sporer
Principals, Bay Tree Design, inc., Berkeley, CA (

Bay Tree Design, inc. is a women-owned landscape architecture and planning firm in Berkeley, CA. Our work seeks to create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect ecological design principles, green building practices, and edible and native planting palettes. Our Principals include environmental planner Sharon Danks, landscape architect Lisa Howard, and horticulturalist Arden Bucklin-Sporer. We are currently working with schools in the San Francisco Bay Area to help transform their asphalt-covered school grounds into vibrant, multi-faceted environments for ecological learning and play.

Bay Tree Design, inc. designed the Sustainable Schoolyard exhibit and developed its conceptual framework and site program, including the layout, integrated ecological systems, curriculum connections, preliminary architectural concepts, and preliminary plant palette. Bay Tree Design, inc. worked with students at two schools in the San Francisco Bay Area to produce the sunflower cutouts and birdhouses that are included in the exhibit, and participated in the exhibit’s installation.

Sponsoring Organizations / Exhibit Partners
American Farmland Trust
American Planning Association
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education
The Conservation Fund
National Association of Counties
National Association of Realtors®
Smart Growth Network

Supporting Design, Construction, & Planting Team

School Building, Toolshed, and Playhouse Design and Construction
Fritz McDougall, Architect, Rounds Vanduzer Architects, Falls Church, VA

Primary Exhibit Builders
Rich Lukas and Ryan Scherzinger, American Planning Association; Hugh Morris, National Association of Realtors®

Outdoor Classroom Shade Structure and Dragon Drum’s “Throne”
Darrel DeBoer, Architect, DeBoer Architects
Eric Hempstead, Natural Builder, Builders Without Borders
Ed Raduazo, Natural Builder

Local Plant Selection and Installation
Kimberly Scott, Landscape Designer, KESdesign, Vienna, VA
Kim Scott specializes in contextual designs with sound environmental underpinnings. Her projects range from small residential gardens to schoolyard habitat landscapes to large historic conservation properties. She has an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design from George Washington University. Kim has lived and gardened on both coasts of the US as well as in Sweden, where she and her husband lived for two years. Her extensive knowledge of plant material helps her to create environmentally sensitive designs that provide four seasons of beauty in the garden.

Susan Boyd, CONCERN, Inc.

Additional Construction & Planting Volunteers
Tom Barnum
Steve Boyd
Kendra Briechle
Bill Cramer
Casey Dillon
Abate Fantaye
Patricia Hipple
Gretchen Hoffman
Carrie Hunter
Al Jones
Burks Lapham
Jeanne Markell
Fritz McDougal, Sr.
Patrick McNulty
Elizabeth O’Malley
Brook Taylor


Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, CA
Teacher: Ms. Thomas

The birdhouses used in this exhibit were designed and constructed by a kindergarten/1st grade class at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, CA. The process to create these boxes included two workshops. At the first workshop the kids were told about Barn Owls and Chickadees, including their habits, sizes, and how they sound. Next they watched images from a chickadee nest box and barn owl box on web cams. Finally, they each decided what bird they wanted to make a nest box for, and designed the façade of the house in teams of four. A parent volunteer took their drawings and built the houses. At the second workshop the kids painted the boxes. One chickadee house is painted with a rainbow to “be pretty,” while one of the barn owl boxes is painted brown to “look natural to attract the owls.” The children are excited that the birdhouses are going all the way to Washington, DC, and are also excited to get them back in their own schoolyard later. See the Photo Gallery for images from this project.

Sunflower Cutouts on the Fences
Rosa Parks School, Berkeley, CA
Teacher: Michelle Contreras

The sunflowers in this exhibit were designed by a kindergarten class at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley, CA. The class was studying sunflowers this spring, and made these cutouts as part of their lesson about plant growth. The children first drew sunflowers on paper, and then several parents from the school used these paper patterns to make wooden cut outs. The paper sunflower cutouts are now hanging up in their classroom windows. The class is very excited that their project is going to Washington, DC for the One Planet—Ours! Exhibit. They are also looking forward to installing the sunflowers in their own schoolyard when they return in the fall, after the exhibit is over. See the Photo Gallery for images from this project.


Bike Rack
Donated by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Rosslyn, VA

Child Cutouts
Kris Swanson, sculptor, Founder of The Corner Store Art Center
Claudia McElhaney, artist

Dragon Drum with Black-Eyed Susan Flowers
Bond Anderson at Soundplay, Parrott, GA

Green Roof
Donated by Hydrotech USA, Chicago, IL
Installed by Prospect Waterproofing, Sterling, VA

Mosaics for Wooden Bench
Byron Peck, Founder/Director, City Arts, and students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC. City Arts creates and promotes high-quality community art that enriches and enlivens neighborhoods. City Arts accomplishes this by engaging residents in conceiving artworks that reflect neighborhood history and culture; teaching and mentoring talented student artists through paid apprenticeships; and offering community art appreciation and education programs for all ages.

Plant Materials
American Plant, Bethesda, MD
Emily Cook, The Farm at Sunnyside, Washington, VA (vegetable seedlings)
Trista Scheuerlein, Farm-to-Table Program Director, A Headwaters/Rappahannock County Public Schools Partnership, and the horticulture students in the Rappahannock schools (vegetable seedlings)

Lilypons, Adamstown, MD

Rain Barrel
Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Arlington, VA

Rain Chain
Carl Essl, Glen Echo Hardware, Bethesda, MD

Salvaged Wood
Maryland Black Locust, Mulberry, and Osage Orange provided by Marcus Sims, founder of Treincarnation, Silver Spring, MD

Solar Pond Pump System
The Rahus Institute/Solar Schoolhouse, Martinez, CA. Thanks to Tor Allen and Hal Aronson for contributing their time, expertise, and the solar pond pump system for this exhibit.

Wooden Bench
Rodger Smith and Guy Cohen


Gerry Cervenka, Editype, Inc., Archer, FL, for designing the exhibit signs and creating the exhibit website,

Susan Boyd
Sharon Danks
Lisa Howard


All the volunteers who so generously gave time, ideas and support throughout the project.

All the existing sustainable schoolyard projects that inspired this exhibit, including the beautiful schoolyard at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, CA, whose sunflower fence, designed by artist Lauren Elder, appears on the home page for this website and inspired the wooden sunflowers in our exhibit.



© Sustainable Schoolyards 2012. Designed by Editype.