Maintain That Rain Garden!
If you watch a Crystal city council meeting the subject most talked about is not the budget, or housing, or infrastructure, or the tax levy. The subject you will hear the most about is a rain garden! Yes a rain garden. The city devotes an entire page of their newsletter to the subject and council member Janet Moore is absolutely obsessed with them. And what good is a rain garden if you can’t indoctrinate kids into loving them. That’s what is happening in New Hope;
From KARE 11 news
Rain Garden Teaches Students and Impacts Local Lake
NEW HOPE, Minn. — It’s a hands-on learning experience that’s not only educational but is making a difference in the community, too.
“Through a few small steps here we can make a big impact,” says Tanya Drake, a science teacher at Meadow Lake Elementary School in New Hope. The students at Meadow Lake are in the process of planting a rain garden that’s helping to clean the real Meadow Lake a few blocks away. A rain garden is typically planted by a runoff source to capture rainwater and stop the water from reaching the sewer system.
One of the school’s parking lots was a problem. Rainwater combined with fertilizers, oils, and other pollutants were flowing over the pavement, down the street, and into the lake. But the students are now part of a solution. “This garden helps catch the rain and that water will be naturally filtered rather than flow into the lake,” says Drake.
It’s a lake that’s needed some help, too.
“A few years ago it was full of algae,” says Richard Buller, president of the Meadow Lake Watershed Association. It was as green as can be and as ugly as can be.” All that algae choked off the fish and the birds started flying away. Meadow Lake was more like Meadow Swamp. “But look at it now,” laughs Buller. “We’re doing something here!”
Neighbors, service groups, and other community leaders began making changes. Rain gardens were planted and folks have been careful what has gone down the sewer drains. Now, the students at the school are a part of cleaning up the lake, too. “We’re trying to teach them that they can be part of the bigger picture,” says Drake. “We’ve made the link between this rain garden to the lake and ultimately the Mississippi River.”
It’s a win-win, both in the classroom and in the community.
The Meadow Lake Watershed Association? What is that; another unelected arm of government? Maybe we should require everyone to have a rain garden! Oh wait, don’t give our cities anymore ideas!!