Berkeley, CA, USA
Berkeley School Forests
Outdoor Classrooms for East Bay Students
SUGi partners with schools across the globe to plant ultra-dense, biodiverse forests closer to the classroom. Berkeley, California will be home to the first 3 Miyawaki School Forests in the United States.
Students at Cragmont Elementary, Malcolm X Elementary, and MLK Middle will not only benefit from the direct health effects of urban forests, but learning in nature improves a child’s behaviour, helps them build stronger relationships, reduces stress and anger, and heightens curiosity.
Even seeing nature from a school building fosters creative thinking and expands the imagination.
Today’s kids spend a whopping 44 hours a week in front of a screen and less than 10 minutes a day playing outside. Access to nature is not equal; it’s too often dictated by where you live, your race and income level. These forests will be a big leap forward in resetting the balance.
Forest Maker Ethan Bryson
"I can't say enough about how important this project is for our community and for our children. Most of the time, we just feel powerless as we watch the planet get hotter and experience longer and longer fire seasons in California. This is a very specific and progressive way to sink carbon and change the direction of the planet's temperature rise. I'm excited to include this solution in my curriculum this school year and beyond."
— Ms. Neelam Patil, M.Ed., MFA, Science Teacher at Cragmont and Oxford Elementary Schools
“It’s been a dream to begin creating SUGi Outdoor Classrooms at schools in the United States. Berkeley, California has always been a birthplace of social action, so it feels even more powerful that a movement for urban rewilding and strengthening Nature-Community connections begins here in my own backyard.”
— Tamsin Smith, SUGi Team Member
Planting a forest will:
- Provide an educational platform for students
- Restore biodiversity in urban areas
- Reconnect children with Native species
- Reinforce sense of community and care
- Enhance education and creativity
- Raise awareness for urban forest benefits
- Mitigate climate impacts
- Improve health and wellness, especially for kids with asthma