Green Harbors Project

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Outdoor Classroom at the Mather Elementary School

Original Schoolyard Initiative Proposal  
Current Mather Schoolyard Proposed Design

Mather Elementary School (K-5), the first public elementary school in the USA (1635), has  the most beautiful ‘top of the Hill’ position overlooking Dorchester Bay and Boston Harbor.

The schoolyard project will strengthen the collaboration between families, local community partners and neighbors, and prove that vision and hard work make changes.


In order to recognize the complexity of our community from all over the world, we count on volunteers to contribute good planting strategies and demonstrate traditional small farming practices from their countries in the designated part of the future school yard landscape. An important part of the project is to select indigenousplants and  trees of the Dorchester area, and the Dorchester Historical Society members will serve as horticultural consultants to help
in this task. 

Our community partner, Dr. Anamarija Frankic, has presented the possibility of creating a ‘LivingLab classroom’ as part of the school yard landscape that will present the connection between the school environment and the nearby coastal environments (Malibu Beach and Dorchester Bay). This outdoor classroom will be a small educational site for kids to learn about the relationship between the people and the watershed where we live. This approach will not only beautify the landscaping of the school yard, but also teach children why to choose certain plants and trees, where to plant them, and the importance of water and the ocean in our lives.h