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Rain. All life depends on it.
But Unfortunately this vital resource can also carry pollution.
A lot of that pollution, comes from cities.
Millions of miles of roads. Countless square feet of roofs. Impervious surfaces just can’t soak up rain like natural surfaces can.
That storm-water becomes “run-off,” traveling and mixing with oil from cars, pesticides from yards, feces from pets, and other pollutants. All of which hitch a ride right into our into our water sources.
So how can you combat runaway-rain?
Students from W.B. Saul Agricultural High School are working with a landscape architect, environmental engineers from CH2M, and The Nature Conservancy to use green infrastructure to create a stormwater solution—bringing sustainability to their campus while learning about different career paths and gaining skills they can carry into the workforce.
One form of green infrastructure is a rain garden.
Rain gardens filter and absorb stormwater to avoid pollution, flooding, and erosion.
Rain gardens are full of native plants that thrive in their environment and support local wildlife. The gardens also include deep-rooted plants that can absorb more water.
To bring a rain garden to your community, here are the steps to follow:
Put your project in motion with a plan. Assemble a team with fellow students, teachers, community partners, and experts. This is going to be a group effort.
Together, identify and survey your site. Maybe it’s next to the basketball court, a parking lot, or another impervious surface..
Determine average rainfall and test the soil drainage to plan a garden large enough to capture the runoff and let it infiltrate the soil.
Research any approvals or permits you’ll need before you build.
Are there electric, gas, or water lines you need to work around?
Have you talked to your school administration and maintenance crew to make sure they’re on board?
Do you need to get permission from your city or district?
All stakeholders need to be in support of your project to guarantee success, and your community partners can help guide you through these processes.
Next, design your garden.
Create your own map or use existing ones. A Google satellite image or a map of your school’s campus is a great place to start.
Bring your map into the field and use it to record measurements and notes about the site.
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