Tule Elk Park Project
“If we are out of touch with nature, we are out of touch with ourselves.”
— Lynne Juarez, founder of the Tule Elk Park Project
Lynne Juarez’s belief inspired the creation of the Tule Elk Park Project, which took seven years to complete. The educators, donors, and builders, who spearheaded the park’s design, knew that children living in cities needed outdoor spaces to support their optimal growth and development. They saw the schoolyard as an untapped resource and realized the opportunity to address these growing problems:
- The increasing disconnection of children from the natural world;
- Diminishing educational and recreational resources for children, particularly those from low-income families;
- The importance of and need for early childhood education programs.
When you visit Tule Elk Park today, you will see children playing and learning in 20,000 square feet of green space complete with oak trees, redwood totem carvings, native plant and butterfly habitats, flowers, and their own vegetable and herb garden. The schoolyard and the garden comprise the outdoor classroom where children study science, math, literacy, and the visual arts in the dynamic structure of the natural world. Projects are designed to meet the interests of the children within the context of the environment that is revealing and renewing itself every day. These experiences are what influence the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of children and support their future success in school.
With the San Francisco School Alliance as its fiscal agent, the project receives donations and grants that support the staff, the environmental education program, and park maintenance. Our contributors have maintained this important urban sanctuary where children can discover themselves in nature. As a founding member of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance, we are committed to the educational and personal success of children and encourage you to learn more about the importance of nature in their lives.