School’s green yard earns MMSD honor

It’s no secret I’m a fan of the greening of school playgrounds. I wrote about the project at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Maryland Avenue Montessori, 2418 N. Maryland Ave., where I am a dedicated volunteer, before it happened and when the first phase was complete.

It was also mentioned in this argument for more green schoolyards and this one, too. In these, I talk about greening projects at Parkside and Fernwood Montessori in Bay View, Brown Street Academy on the North Side and Whittier on the far South Side.

Today, I received word from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District that Maryland Avenue Montessori (where, in full disclosure, I am chair of the School Governance Council and a member of the building expansion planning team) has won the district’s monthly Green Luminaries award for the rain garden that has greened a large chunk of the school’s more than three-acre site.

“It takes vision and foresight to sustainably manage water where it falls,” reads the Green Luminaries web page.

“Green Luminaries ultimately help protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adapting practices that harvest rainfall for other uses or mimic nature by draining it into the ground to reduce water pollution.  Green luminaries like the projects highlighted below are led by true champions who recognize not only the need to manage stormwater, but also the need to innovate and grow, to create lasting good works that connect people and prosperity to the environment.”

The award will be presented at Monday’s MMSD commission meeting. Previous winners have included Shorewood Natural Lawncare. the Clock Shadow Building and Mitchell Park Domes.

Kudos to principal Joe DiCarlo, Angeline Malkowski Koch, everyone who has served on the Maryland Avenue Montessori Fund and everyone – countless students included – who has donated to or worked in any capacity on the garden, which is a real testament to the tireless dedication of these folks and to teamwork.

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