Adelaide western suburbs mum greens her children’s school with the help of a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant. Find out how it went and how you can apply for a grant.

Paringa Park school community members take part in a planting day to green the school with more shady trees.

There’s nothing more important than staying cool and hydrated on a hot day, particularly for primary school students who never seem to sit still!

Schools can be notoriously hot places, with trees cleared for buildings and child safely, lots of asphalt and large ovals with little shade.

Jen is a parent of Lucy (9) and Edie (7) that attend Paringa Park Primary School in Adelaide’s western suburbs and she understands the impact of climate change all too well, through her work in sustainability.

She said it was after researching the extreme heat projections over the coming years, that she felt motivated to look closer to home, and how her child’s school could improve in shade offering and green cover.

Paringa Park has already been at the forefront of sustainability education in recent years with their amazing Nature Play space and outdoor classroom movement.

With the support of the school, she was successful in obtaining a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant to green the school through more shady trees and groundcovers (low growing plants that spread across the ground and stop weeds from growing). Read on about Jen's Grassroots Grant story:

Why is this grant project important?

There’s no denying we experience hot and dry summers in Adelaide. This means more money spent on cooling our homes, businesses and schools.

These hot, sticky summer days are predicted to get worse, with the number of days with temperatures soaring over 40 degrees likely to increase.

By adding green cover to an area, it not only provides shade and protects the ground, it also reduces the air temperature.

Not only this, but more trees means better air quality, improved health and wellbeing, increased biodiversity and attractiveness of the places we live, work and visit.

A greener school means more shade for students and teachers to enjoy, and provides an opportunity for the students to learn about local native plants and animals.

How did the Grassroots Grant help?

The funding from the grant enabled Jen to purchase and plant 20 established native trees and 100 native groundcovers. She undertook all the planning, garden design and consultation with local nurseries herself, which proved to be a lot of work, but very satisfying and ensured the best results.

Greening Paringa Park Hardenbergia
Hardenbergia was one of the species planted at the school.

The Grassroots Grant funding was also used to cover the cost of equipment hire and delivery. Jen arranged with the school groundsperson to hire an auger and dig holes for the larger trees the day before the working bee, so parents just had to enlarge the holes, improve the soil and plant the trees.

How did the project improve the environment for the community?

Jen arranged a working bee over 3-4 hours on a weekend, once the trees were ready. Around 20 people from the school community turned up to help, shovels in hand and motivated to improve the school environment for their children.

The planting day was a great way to engage the school community in positive change and also a great social opportunity for all involved.

Jen has had some great feedback from the parents, particularly those involved with the planting and it’s become a conversation starter at school pickup.

For Jen personally, she’s filled with a sense of pride when she rides her bike past the school each day, knowing she has helped to improve the amenity for students and teachers, and has demonstrated that it only takes one person to take action to improve your local area for the better.

Apply for the next round of Grassroots Grants

Green Adelaide’s Grassroots Grants is an annual program that puts much needed funds into the hands of individuals and groups to help them transform their local environment.

Subscribe to the Green Adelaide monthly newsletter for the latest on these grants straight to your inbox.

Words of advice for future grant applicants

Jen’s advice for any school parents thinking of applying for a Grassroots Grant for greening their school is to talk to their school’s Environment Committee or leadership team.

Once you’ve agreed on suitable planting locations, talk to local native nurseries about the types of plants suited for the area. Many nurseries are happy to provide advice and they’ll even deliver the plants for you.

Like what you’ve read? Browse our other nature stories, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.