The Skinny


Toxin-conscious moms and dads at a Cambridge private school.

When the International School of Boston decided to replace its old sand and gravel playground with artificial turf, many parents protested that the faux field would contain lead and other potentially hazardous materials. So ISB did what any self-respecting Cantabrigian establishment would do and went all-natural, dropping $300,000 to install the nation’s first artificial turf with an infill made of cork and coconut shell.

While the eco-friendly option might be too dear for other Boston-area schools (it costs 10 percent more than rubber infill), ISB head John Larner insists it’s worth it. "We were concerned about the children’s health," he says, adding that he’s also resolved "to be as environmentally friendly as possible." So far, mission accomplished—with an added bonus on the health front: Since the gravelly field was replaced, there’s been a 70 percent decrease in student injuries. "My job is definitely easier now," school nurse Christine Mabardy-Higgins reports. – Christina Koningisor



Number of "violence interrupters" Boston begins recruiting this month as part of a new initiative to reduce gang crime……25
Their expected workday……6 p.m.–2 a.m.
Year that members of a previous street-worker program unionized……1997
Their subsequent quitting time……9 p.m.