Sharon Gamson Danks
Sharon Gamson Danks is an environmental planner and founding partner of Bay Tree Design, inc. in Berkeley, California, a women-owned landscape architecture and planning firm that collaborates with clients to develop lively outdoor spaces including ecological schoolyards. Sharon's schoolyard ecology background includes research, writing, and hands-on design and planning with school communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She has visited and documented approximately 200 green schoolyard projects in North America, Europe, Great Britain, and Japan over the last ten years. This has helped her develop design guidelines and best practices for green schoolyards and informs her work as an author and designer. Since 2001, Sharon and her firm, Bay Tree Design, have assisted over three dozen schools, using a participatory master planning process to help them transform their grounds from ordinary asphalt into vibrant ecosystems for learning and play. The green schoolyard master plans that Bay Tree Design creates follow ecological design principles and reflect each school's unique community, curricula and site-specific ecology. Sharon Gamson Danks and Bay Tree Design are currently working with San Francisco Unified School District on their cutting-edge green schoolyard program. Ms. Danks has directed three hands-on schoolyard ecology conferences for the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance and serves on their advisory board. She also serves on the national board for the Community Built Association. In 2008, Sharon and Bay Tree Design designed a Sustainable Schoolyard exhibit for display at the US Botanic Garden in Washington DC. Sharon has written a number of green schoolyard-themed articles that have appeared in Landscape Architect Magazine, Orion, New Village Journal, and Green Teacher. She is also the lead-author of the Green Schoolyard Resource Directory for the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to a MLA-MCP from University of California, Berkeley, Sharon holds a Professional Certificate in Natural Resource Management from U.C. San Diego Extension and a BA from Princeton University. Sharon is also the mother of two expert playground testers, ages 7 and 10.