It’s a cliche, but things sure have changed since when I was in school. As I mentioned previously, my daughter recently started kindergarten. In addition to recess, which one would expect, she actually has physical education (P.E.) every third day (alternated with music and art classes). I’m pleased she’s being kept active, but surprised to be thinking about gym class quite so soon. In the midst of watching her explore the brave new word of P.E., I received an e-mail inquiry regarding the Greening Schools web site. This was a joint project of the Illinois EPA and GLRPPR’s parent organization, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC, formerly WMRC), which is unfortunately no longer funded (please e-mail me any ideas regarding funding sources to maintain and expand this site). The inquirer was interested in greener lesson plans geared toward P.E. I’ve seen resources related to greening athletic facilities, but the idea of actually greening the P.E. curriculum was an interesting twist to me, so I decided to share some of the resources I provided in response here. In this post I’ll discuss both resources for more sustainable P.E. facilities as well as curricula.
Ideas abound for greening athletic facilities and playgrounds, from energy efficiency upgrades to using recycled rubber in athletic track and field surfaces. Check out the following links for ideas.
- GLRPPR Educational Institutions Sector Resource–Athletic Facilities: Provides some links to information on energy efficiency, automatic technologies and flooring surfaces.
- GLRPPR Educational Institutions Sector Resource–Playgrounds: Information applicable for physical education and recess for younger children.
- GLRPPR Educational Institutions Sector Resource–Related Help Desk Questions: Archived Help Desk questions are integrated into relevant Sector Resources. A question on energy efficiency for ice arenas is included. Remember to make use of the Help Desk service if you have specific questions on how to make your athletic facilities more sustainable.
- GLRPPR Outdoor Recreation Sector Resource: Overlap with resources mentioned above, but also includes resources specific to certain types of facilities and activities, such as golfing or skiing.
- Greening Schools–Athletic Facilities: More case studies and articles. Also check the general “Green Your Building” section of the Greening Schools web site for general tips that could be applied to athletic facilities.
- Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)–Green Buildings on Campus, Athletic (Recreation Centers, Stadiums): Though this set of resources is targeted for colleges and universities, practices highlighted could be applied to such facilities at any institution. Be advised that to access these resources, you need to log in to the AASHE site with a user account–anyone can get one, and you don’t need to be an AASHE member. See http://www.aashe.org/accounts/help for more info.
- American School & University Magazine–Athletic Facilities: Search the resources by topic using the menu on the left hand side of the screen.
- National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF)–Athletic Facilities Design: Information on the planning and design of school and university sports and recreation facilities, both indoor and outdoor. Note that NCEF resource lists aren’t geared specifically toward sustainability, so you’ll have to wade through them a bit.
- NCEF–School Athletic Fields: Information on the design, construction, and maintenance of school and university sports fields.
- NCEF–School Playgrounds: Information on the planning and design of playgrounds for varying age levels, including resources on safety, accessibility, equipment, surfaces, and maintenance.
- U.S. EPA Game Day Challenge: Ok, so this program to reduce waste at college football games isn’t exactly geared toward greening gym class, but the principles could be applied at K-12 institutions. Modifying the idea to implement it at local K-12 schools could be a neat way to green both the facilities and teach green lessons if students are involved.
The list could surely go on and on. If you have other suggestions, share them in the comments section for this post.
In response to the e-mail request I received, I did a quick Google search on “greening physical education.” I came across the following:
- GreenHeart Education–Health and Physical Education for the Earth: One section of an extensive site that includes not only tips for greening facilities/grounds and curricula, but also includes related information on school gardens, nature study, homeschooling resources, climate-specific information, etc.
- Greening Our Games–Running Sports Events and Facilities that Won’t Cost the Earth: A book that likely overlaps both the greening of facilities and curricula.
- Green Gym Class: Great video about a physical education class that learns about the environment and creates green energy for their school.
- High School Gardening–For Credit: New York Times blog post by Jared Flesher on an interesting program at Princeton Public High School. (Again, check out the National Gardening Association’s KidsGardening page I referenced in my previous post.)
Do you have other case studies or ideas? Share them in the comments section of this post.
Thanks to Roger Peluso for asking the question!