Summertime: The Plantingâ€™s Easy!
CNT continues to bring communities together with the planting of rain gardens at three new sites in June. The plantings are demonstrating both the beauty of natural landscapes and the ecological benefits of rain gardens to reduce and filter stormwater runoff. Ultimately, these projects aim to raise awareness of green infrastructure and build community momentum towards implementing sustainable stormwater management practices on a grander scale. Here are our latest steps along the path to sustainable stormwater management in greater Chicago.
On Saturday, June 21st, CNT staff and 27 Bellwood volunteers planted over 300 native Illinois prairie plants in two rain gardens. The gardens, sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Village of Bellwood, are located at the Bellwood Public Library and across from Bellwood’s Water Department. Bellwood’s Mayor, Frank Pasquale, helped with the planting, as well as many of the Village’s Trustees, city department heads and citizens. Community volunteers from the Bellwood Lions Club, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and others of all ages and interests came out to participate in a fun outdoor activity to benefit the entire Village.
Bellwood residents learned of the aesthetic and ecological benefits of native plants, while Mayor Pasquale and city officials put their muscle behind the greening of the landscape that Bellwood aims to become a signature of its local development strategy. Rain gardens provide a simple and beautiful solution to muddy yards and can reduce stormwater entering sewers via disconnected downspouts.
More photos of Bellwood planting at CNT’s Flickr page.
Hanson Park School
As part of “Hanson Park School Conservation Day 2008″ on June 4th, CNT staff, along with Hanson Park School students and staff, planted 120 native Illinois prairie plants in two rain gardens. The CNT planting was supported by the Prince Charitable Trust as part of an outreach program aimed at partnering with community groups to raise awareness of the benefits of green infrastructure throughout Chicago. CNT staff demonstrated the effectiveness of rain gardens as alternatives to conventional stormwater management practices. With their planting, students helped to reduce water pollution, add beauty to their school, and increase wildlife attraction-all while having a fun time outside.
The two rain gardens were placed next to the school’s kindergarten trailer. The 750 ft2 roof drains into the two new gardens, simultaneously providing relief to local sewers and beautifying the school grounds.
More photos of Hanson Park Elementary School planting at CNT’s Flickr page.
Gallistel Elementary Language Academy
In early June, with the support of the US Environmental Protection Agency, CNT provided another city demonstration at the Matthew Gallistel Language Academy on Chicago’s east side. As part of a Chicago Conservation Corps program, the school’s Environmental Club partnered up with CNT to bring a rain garden of native plants to the school grounds. Students received a hands-on lesson about the hydrological benefits of native vegetation and enjoyed an outdoor activity. The planting at Gallistal was another step in CNT’s community outreach program focused around the city’s Calumet region.
CNT will be continue to extend the benefits of green infrastructure around Chicago’s urban communities, with the goal of removing impervious surfaces from local parks, schools, churches and other community spaces. Projects include the removal of a layer of asphalt from under a south loop park and the conversion of a former outdoor stage into green open space at the Hanson Park School.
With an emphasis on community outreach, CNT is partnering with community groups to organize demonstration plantings and raise awareness of green infrastructure for stormwater management. If you are interested in volunteering or bringing these demonstrations to your local church, school, or community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.