Minnesota Healthy Community Schoolyards

A Discovery Map

Welcome to the Minnesota Healthy Community Schoolyards Need Assessment: A Discovery Map from The Trust for Public Land

This interactive map illustrates which Minnesota communities would benefit most from park-like, accessible, and welcoming schoolyard spaces. You can use the tool to better understand the need to address health, equity, climate, and education at our schools and within our communities.

How this map can help

This interactive and user-friendly map draws upon GIS data to:

  • Help prioritize opportunity areas: The map pinpoints Minnesota schools that, if improved, would have a significant impact in:
    • providing high-quality, accessible greenspace in areas where close-to-home parks currently do no exist
    • combating and mitigating the impacts of climate change, extreme weather, and pollution
    • improving physical and mental health of students and community members
    • supporting marginalized communities, especially communities of color and low-income communities, who historically and systemically have access to less greenspace.
  • Help users identify nature gaps. Along with The Trust for Public Land’s ParkServe tool, this map helps identify areas lacking park access that would be served by new and improved parks, greenspace, and schoolyards.

Help users understand community- and school-level data. The map allows users to gain insight into student demographics and needs. Because Healthy Community Schoolyards are intended to be spaces for the community outside of regular school hours, the map also gathers data on those living within an easy walk of the school. The map includes the following health, equity, and climate indicators.

Schoolyard Use Survey

The Minnesota Schoolyards Survey seeks to better understand the quality and use of the state’s schoolyards. The survey is being conducted by The Trust for Public Land. It will help inform the development of its Healthy Community Schoolyards program and provide additional insights into the status of the state’s schoolyards that existing data sources cannot provide. We encourage schools to complete the survey.

Healthy Community Schoolyards Support and Resources

The Trust for Public Land is committed to supporting communities in their efforts to reimagine, renovate, and revitalize schoolyards. Our staff includes people from various disciplines and backgrounds and with a multitude of skills. We are accustomed to playing multiple roles, wearing numerous hats, and helping fill program needs on a case-by-case basis. In general, we can provide the following services:

  • Convener
  • Facilitator
  • Project Manager
  • Researcher
  • Technical Assistance Provider
  • Community Engagement Manager
  • Fundraiser

Check out our resource directory for additional resources and tools to help guide your efforts. For more information about our program, visit the Minnesota Healthy Community Schoolyards webpage or Community Schoolyards projects webpage.

Data-informed Project Planning

The Trust for Public Land and its partners are using this data to inform the development and growth of the Healthy Community Schoolyard program. The Trust for Public Land recognizes the unfortunate reality that many of our schoolyard spaces are in need of renovation. However, with limited resources, we are prioritizing schools and communities that most urgently need access to high-quality green space.

A Collaborative Effort

Special thanks to our partners for their support in creating this tool. Partners include Children and Nature Network, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance, and the University of Minnesota.

Funding for this assessment was provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Statement of Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the lands depicted through this map are the stolen homelands of Indigenous peoples who have stewarded them for thousands of years, including nations of the Ojibwe, Dakota, and others. Place-based education and access to land, which this map aims to support, must begin with a deep understanding of the true histories of indigenous land loss and the current realities of indigenous people’s relationship to the land. We hope this acknowledgment can be a small step towards restoring access to and sovereignty over these homelands and raising awareness among others as to the rich history and knowledge maintained by Indigenous communities for generations. We encourage all map users to understand these histories and current contexts of the land and consider how that impacts decisions you may make as you use the tool—our team at The Trust for Public Land endeavors to do the same.