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Why not organize your own Ugliest School Yard Contest to help put barren schoolyards on the agenda in your area?

Wherever you live, here are some basic guidelines:

One year to 10 months Invite a local group to host the contest. Groups to consider are: environmental, nature and health groups; parent and teacher organizations; local governments; public utilities; and the private sector.
10 months Form a committee of members of the group or groups hosting the contest and other interested individuals.
10-8 months Find a sponsor or sponsors willing to donate a cash prize. $5,000 for the project and $5,000 for project planning and coordination for one year is suggested.
10-8 months Recruit an organization or individual to help the winning school design and implement the greening project. Make sure that whoever you choose understands the importance of involving children in every step of the School Grounds Transformation process described on this website.
8-6 months Identify six individuals willing to judge the contest entries. Members of the organizing committee and the sponsoring group can be judges. You may wish to invite a politician or someone from the local media to sit on the judging panel.
6-4 months Design your Ugliest School Yard Contest package and write a covering letter to send to the principal and parent council.
4-3 months Send the covering letter, entry forms, contest rules and Schoolyard Information list to all schools in the city. You may also wish to send it to the local media and issue a press release describing your reasons for organizing the contest.
3-2 months It's a good idea to follow up with a phone call to the school principal, parent council chair or environmental representative and the media to make sure that your package has been received.
1 month Choose a location for the Judging Panel to examine the entries. Each school's plans, mounted photographs and written material can take up quite a bit of space, so make sure you have enough wall or floor space to display all the entries for the judges to review.
Contest deadline Examine the entries as they arrive and check to make sure that schools have complied with the contest rules. If an entry is incomplete, the contest organizers should decide whether to call the entrant to give them the opportunity to submit missing information or disqualify them automatically.
After the deadline Display the entries for the judges. You may wish to invite the media to view the entries after the judges have made their decision. It is often very difficult to choose because of the bleakness of most schoolyards. The judges may find it necessary to shortlist the bleakest schools and go on a site visit to help decide on the winner.
The winning school Publicize the winner at a special award ceremony in the schoolyard. Invite local politicians, school board administrators, trustees, contest sponsors and the media to attend. In press releases, encourage additional donations of funds, materials and labour to the project by individiuals and businesses in the community.

After project implementation Hold a special event to celebrate the completion of the project. Invite the local politicians, school board administrators, trustees, contest sponsors and the media who were present at the award ceremony and everyone in the community who has contributed to the implementation of the project.

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