For the last year, GreenFutures, the District’s sustainability program, has been working closely with teams from Capital, Curriculum and Instruction, Fairmount Water Works (FWW), and Interpret Green to develop a schoolyard sensor project called the Sense.Able Schoolyards Initiative. GreenFutures recently received funding through an FWW Grant from Spark Therapeutics to develop an integrated teaching and learning unit (grades 6-8) related to climate science, neighborhood habitat, stormwater pollution, and watershed protection using site-specific environmental sensing equipment. Using data collected from newly installed outdoor sensors in their schoolyard, students will study and demonstrate the value of green infrastructure to their school ecosystem and advocate for environmental justice in Philadelphia. The sensors measure heat index, weather, and outdoor air quality – mimicking current data being collected across Philadelphia by climate scientists and city agencies.
The initiative is currently being piloted at Anderson and Penn Alexander. Participation would begin in fall 2023, the first year of a multi-year project. In 2023, the project will be modeled in 4-5 West Philadelphia middle schools and then expanded District-wide.