New Rain Garden

Carver Middle School students spent some of their last day of school establishing a rain garden and planting trees. The improvements to the school’s greenspaces were the result of a project based learning unit developed in collaboration between the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and Springfield Public Schools. After four field trips to the Watershed Center and a great deal of research, teams of students presented their environmental improvement designs to a selection committee on May 5th. The committee members were impressed with the all of the students’ depth of knowledge regarding stormwater runoff issues and Best Management Practices. The winning team’s design included installation of a rain garden and planting trees on the Carver campus. The team of students explained that rain gardens are a cost-effective solution that reduces pollution and erosion resulting from storm water runoff. Rain gardens with their native plants provide an added benefit of creating habitats important to wildlife.

The Springfield School District funded the implementation of the students’ proposed plan. After the school’s grounds crew excavated the rain garden area, students and volunteers worked to remove the rocky construction debris. Master Naturalists Jesse and Carl Haworth generously donated plants, their time, and their expertise as they guided the planting process. Native plants were used throughout the rain garden. Native plants require less maintenance, increase water absorption into the soil, and provide valuable habitat. The rain garden is designed to catch the stormwater runoff from the adjacent parking lot and building rooftops.

Students from Reed Academy and Pleasant View Middle School will start their improvement projects soon. Reed students will also be creating a rain garden on their campus. Pleasant View students will be creating habitat improvements within their courtyard area. We look forward to continuing working on our collaborative efforts.

Jeff Birchler, Watershed Center Coordinator