PumpkinHouse Studio

Park Day Green Schoolyard

Project management of community-built schoolyard

Jennifer has worked both as a volunteer and a paid project manager for landscape installation, gardening, and greening projects at Park Day School. Working closely with Miller Company Landscape Architects, gardening teachers and staff, Jennifer helped oversee the expansion of the now four acre school campus and coordinated six volunteer family work parties.  Jennifer marshaled the forces of effective parent volunteer labor, while paying attention to the community building aspect of the work and importance of each volunteer finding joy in having made a real contribution to the school.

The project had an extremely tight budget and short schedule, so using volunteers was essential.  The first phase of the project included a yurt, greywater and rainwater harvesting systems, drinking fountains, garden shed, learning gardens, bike racks, and over an acre of new and expanded gardens – all for a project cost less than $54,000.

Jennifer also helped to organize and oversee the second phase of landscape and greening projects, including a chicken coop designed by Jennifer and built by students and parent volunteers.   Chicken hatched from eggs incubated by last year’s 3rd grade class are now happily living on campus.

Jennifer has been instrumental in developing thematic gardens tied to the class and garden curriculum, working with the school’s gardening teacher. Jennifer and Park Day 1st and 5th grade students helped design and develop a rainwater garden, and rainwater cisterns, with the assistance of consultants Tadpole and Watersprout, funded in part by a Community Stewardship Grant from Alameda County Clean Water Program and the school’s Spring Greening campaign.  The signage for the rainwater project was also developed by Jennifer.

Jennifer has also played an active role in helping develop the Learning Gardening program, including teaching gardening and cooking classes.  The program is now a featured part of Park Day School, allowing students to connect with, learn about, and care for the Park Day Campus.  It brings classroom theory to life outdoors, creating a living laboratory that is always changing and dynamic – always providing new lessons to be learned.