In Metz, schoolyards swap bitumen for vegetable gardens

In Metz, schoolyards swap bitumen for vegetable gardens

Removing the asphalt to make way for nature in schoolyards: this is the objective of the City of Metz, which is taking advantage of the summer holidays to start these projects.

Less than three weeks before the start of the school year, construction machinery is still stirring up the earth at Le Graouilly elementary school: in July, when the children left it, it was completely asphalted.

The summer will have allowed the municipality to remove the tar and prepare a more vegetated courtyard, designed by the children and their teachers. They will have small earthy gardens, places with hard ground as well as areas of synthetic lawn to continue the usual activities such as ball games.

Responding to climate issues

The site will increase soil permeabilization by 60%, explains Anne Stemart, deputy mayor in charge of education, to the press. Prior to this work, heat islands regularly formed in the courtyard: temperatures were sometimes recorded 5 degrees higher than the readings from the nearest weather station. The town hall has set itself the objective of having greened all the schoolyards of Metz, which had 3,470 students during the last school year, by 2026.

Propose new educational projects

In addition to a response to the challenges of global warming, the adaptations of playgrounds are part of defined educational projects: children “can teach outside, in the shade, in very hot weather“, she explains. They will plant the trees and shrubs themselves “at Saint Catherine’s” (November 25).

In the heart of Metz, the Notre-Dame school will also benefit from this work next year: a courtyard, closed until now, will be opened for more light, and green spaces left fallow will be rehabilitated to make a vegetable garden. A chapel, present in the courtyard and “open to the public only once a year, for heritage days”, lined with greenery, will be open to residents, and a playground will be built there, says Ms. Stemart. These oases of freshness will be, according to the needs of the districts, open to the public on certain dates which have yet to be defined.