Expanding Schoolyard Greening in California

To protect kids from extreme heat, California just distributed another $73 million to local school districts to transform schoolyards by converting blacktops to green spaces, planting trees, and other related efforts.

1 minute read

August 25, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By Clement Lau


View of empty paved schoolyard with green picnic benches and basketball hoops in Malibu, California

Malibu Elementary School in Malibu, California. | David / Adobe Stock

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced another $73 million from CAL FIRE for school districts to replace asphalt with green spaces, trees and vegetation to provide more protection against extreme heat for students. Adding to the $47 million that was announced in July, the State of California has distributed $120 million for these projects.

Specifically, funds are offered through the Green Schoolyard Grant program which helps schools convert pavement to green spaces, create drought-tolerant natural areas on school grounds, and other activities to help children connect to nature. The program is part of Governor Newsom’s Extreme Heat Action Plan, which is backed by the $52.3 billion California Climate Commitment budget.

One of the grant recipients is the Porterville Unified School District which will complete high-impact green schoolyard projects at five Central Valley elementary schools. This includes funding to create tree-shaded pathways, drought-tolerant landscaping, nature-based exercise and play areas for children, add filtered water hydration stations, and launch a career pathways and internship program designed to increase climate resilience while helping students learn hands-on design skills for future career tracks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 in Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

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