Green Playces is Developing Creative Partnerships
By: Ian Brown
With our Green Playces Initiative, one of the key indicators of success is the quality of partnerships that we make around the project. Since these sites belong to community organizations and the people that live, work and play in the area, it’s critical that these projects reflect what the residents want and need, and that there is a strong base of support to use the projects and keep them vibrant.
We’re rethinking the way we approach partnerships, and expanding our networks to include as many people as creatively as we can. We’re also trying to be open minded in finding partners and exploring various ways in which people or groups can contribute to the work we do. Here are a few examples of some great partnerships we’ve discovered (or that have discovered us) over the past few months.
Remake Learning Network
The Remake Learning Network is a resource for the people, organizations and ideas shaping the future of teaching and learning in the greater Pittsburgh region. This also ties into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) or STEAM (STEM +Arts) movement happening throughout the region. We met the Remake Learning Network at this year’s GPNP and it seemed like a great fit for Green Playces.
Now, GTECH is proud to be a part of the Remake Learning Network and hopes to have our Green Playces sites function as outdoor maker classrooms and spaces.
Holy Family Academy
When the integrated design class at Holy Family Academy won a Sprout Fund Grant to build an outdoor classroom, they were thrilled. When their teacher, Kristin Alvarez, reached out to us to see if we could partner, we were thrilled! We’re currently working with a 7-student team to design and build a portion of one of this year’s Green Playces.
Stay tuned for what they come up with!
Allegheny Valley School District
Believe it or not, we met Brett Slezak, a teacher and one of the faces of the Rachel’s Neighborhood Garden, when he tweeted at us in December.
That initial tweet led to more social media interactions, some emails, a visit and the beginnings of a great partnership! (If there’s a lesson here, it’s that you should probably tweet something at us.) The students are going to be using their expertise to grow seedlings for us through the winter – plants that will eventually end up reclaiming vacant spaces all around Allegheny County. Brett also works with a great after school group called The Future is Mine, and we’re hopeful that they will join us on some workdays, too.
Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST), in addition to helping us round up youth partners, is working with us to develop some easy-to-share curricula for the sites. Both of our completed Green Playces Outdoor Classrooms are open to the public, and with the help of APOST, we’re making sure no one has an excuse not to utilize them.
No curriculum? No problem!
If you are interested in hosting a class at one of our outdoor classrooms or learning more information, please contact us.
As we move forward and build out four more Green Playces in 2016, we hope to foster creative partnerships and relationships to create spaces that the community wants and needs, as well as using the spaces for environmental education.
Follow us on our website and check back for volunteer opportunities and dates for design charrettes. We’d love to have you! You could also tweet at us…who knows, it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!