NEW YORK -- Brooklyn public school students are now enjoying a playground they helped create. It's first of nearly two dozen sustainable community playgrounds coming to neighborhoods all over New York City.
Recess is always a great time to climb the monkey bars, ride the slide or simply take a stroll. But the playground at P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill isn't an average one.
"I think that it's amazing. The kids are going crazy for it. They're running around, they're getting some outside time," said 5th grader Kendal Ryant.
"Before it was like cracked cement, glass and dirt. It was not pleasant," said 5th grader Lauren Marrero.
"Students were getting hurt. Roots were coming up from the asphalt," said Principal Pascale Pradel.
The Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice joined forces with Trust for Public Land to improve green spaces at schools across the city.
"There are a lot of kids who live nearby in public housing who don't have access to their own backyard, don't have a really fun place to play," said Mary Alice Lee, with Trust for Public Land.
A student committee helped design the green roof gazebo, permeable pavement and artificial turn that captures storm water.
"We found that a lot of the litter will go into the sewers and then into the Gowanus Canal, therefore polluting it," said 5th grader Sherman Benshoff.
"The rain filters into the ground over there and the water gets sent out. And the green roof takes in the water and it grows," said Ryant.
A garden is also part of the students' experiential learning. It has plants that attract pollinators, like bees and butterflies, to help the food chain.
"The butterflies landed on one of the plants that a pre-K student had planted and that child got so excited, was like, 'It's working! It's working!'" said Lee.
"If anything is going to change this school, I want to help," said Marrero.
Some of the vegetables grown there can be used during after-school hours or given to parents to help feed their families.
Twenty sustainable playgrounds will be built across the five boroughs by 2027, each unique to its neighborhood.
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