'Greener Healthier Schools Program:' MPS leaders break ground on green spaces at schools

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools officials on Tuesday, July 9 announced a big investment in playgrounds and green spaces in Milwaukee.

It's an effort to reduce pavement and increase space at four MPS schools.

Ground was broken for the projects on Tuesday -- including bioswales to manage stormwater, the addition of outdoor classrooms, tree plantings, areas to serve as school gardens, and plans for curriculum that will incorporate ecology, sustainability, and freshwater sciences.

"We know getting outside, being active, having hands-on concepts is what's really going to spur you to higher levels of student engagement, and open up the mind, and open up the senses to be receptive and ready for learning that you need every day," said Wendell Willis, MPS Foundation.

Fundraising was underway to raise $3.4 million, with approximately $1.7 million raised as of Tuesday, and $1.7 million needed within the next six months, to support schoolyard redevelopment projects in 2020.

Major project partners included: Milwaukee Public Schools and the MPS Foundation, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the City of Milwaukee, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation – Sustain Our Great Lakes Program, Fund for Lake Michigan, Reflo, Funders’ Network–Partners for Places Grant, the Burke Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, private donations, in-kind contributions, and school fundraising.