Read our newest article - "Plant Healthy Landscapes ... and Breathe Easier"

The Allergy Friendly Schoolyard© is ‘the call’ of all school-aged children and teachers who are allergy/asthma sufferers. Our goal is very simple. We would like to have schoolyards for all the school aged children to have healthy places for them to have an educational area – exercise and play.

In the past schoolyards were frequently planted with shrubs and trees that triggered pollen allergies and allergic-asthma. The typical schoolyard is, unfortunately, all too often considerable allergenic than the surrounding landscape.

Today, more than ever, especially given the current epidemic of childhood obesity, children need to be encouraged to exercise and play vigorously. Schoolyards should be fun, safe, healthy places and always be allergy friendly.

The person who started this initiative is the Canadian horticulturist and award-winning educator Peter Prakke. Peter has been instrumental in changing the direction of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in Hamilton, Ontario – Canada to use the OPALS™ - Ogren Plant Allergy Scale. The first school boards in Canada.

Peter has also been instrumental in getting ‘allergy-friendly’ landscapes installed at new Bravery Parks© across Canada. Each park is named after a Canadian soldier who was killed overseas fighting for our freedom.

The website aim is to become a useful reference tool to start commitment conversations and help link together different groups of parents, teachers, principals, school staff, landscapers, arborist, health professionals and concerned citizens.

Please talk to the people in charge of planting shrubs and trees in your schoolyards. Strongly encourage them to include ‘allergy-friendly’ plants in all future shrub and tree selections for your schoolyards.

We encourage schools to use OPALS™ for all the plant selections. This is a numerical plant allergy scale, where landscape plants are ranked 1 – 10. With the scale 1 is best, least allergenic, and 10 is worst, most allergenic. This scale is now used worldwide for allergy reduction.

We need your help. Working together, we can make great things happen! If you need help in similar projects in your area, contact; Peter Prakke: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and

* Allergy Friendly Schoolyard© has the full backing and enthusiastic endorsement of Thomas Leo Ogren, author of Allergy-Free Gardening, from Random House Publishers.

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