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Let’s Catch the Rain

2021, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Morgan and Allison worked to reduce non-point source pollution and combined sewer overflow while promoting water conservation by adding rain barrels to a local elementary school and their community garden. At Vermont Elementary School they added two fifty-gallon rain barrels, and the elementary school kids are able to use the recycled water to water their school garden. In addition, Morgan and Allison taught a lesson to the students about the importance of saving water and the effects of runoff. The rain barrels they installed are painted with designs picked out by the fourth graders themselves to add a fun touch (they chose fish and raindrops with the Wyoming School District logo!). They got a group of volunteers to come and help them paint the rain barrels, and using the new research and innovation center at their high school, they made templates of the fish and Wyoming logos to assist them in painting.

At the community garden Morgan and Allison first added a gutter system to the pre-existing shed to collect water. Then they connected to two fifty-gallon rain barrels to the downspout to divert the rainwater. Gardeners are able to help conserve water and reduce runoff by using the recycled water when watering their plants.

To better spread the word about their project, water conservation, and the impacts of surface runoff, they created posts on the school Instagram page and a community Facebook group. Additionally, they created a sign placed next to the rain barrels at the elementary school so curious students and parents can learn more. Lastly, they created a website that can be reached through the QR code on the sign and through links on the social media posts. The website includes information on the Mill Creek Watershed, information about water conservation, tutorials on how to install rain barrels with links to the products, and a description about their projects.