Rain gardens are easy to make and are beautiful additions to a yard. When you make a rain garden you can improve local water quality because it allows rain to seep into the ground. This prevents polluted runoff.
Polluted runoff is a big problem in cities where much of the ground is covered with hard surfaces such as roads, streets, parking lots and sidewalks. When water flows across the hard surfaces it picks up pollutants and eventually runs into the storm drains. This water flows directly into local lakes, streams, and rivers.
If you make a rain garden, you are creating a beautiful natural area that will attract birds and butterflies while doing something good for the environment.
What makes a garden a rain garden? All it takes are a few simple steps!
How to create a rain garden
1. Select a location in a naturally wet area.
2. Dig a hole as long and as wide as you like and approximately 6" -8" deep.
3. Take the soil from the hole you just dug and use a shovel to mix it with sand so that you have about 25% soil and 75% sand.
4. Break up the soil in the bottom of the hole.
5. Spread the sandy soil mixture evenly in the hole.
6. Find out which plants are native to your area. Place the native plants in the sandy soil mixture. Remember to consider sunlight and spacing when selecting plants.
7. Place a layer of mulch around the plants that is about 4" -6" thick.
8. Make sure your garden gets plenty of water while it is trying to grow. Enjoy!
In India, a program called CLEAN - India is using students to analyze the drinking water, investigate the conditions in the environment, and take action to solve the problem. CLEAN - India is a way for children from across the country of India to help monitor the water. Other countries also use students to help monitor water quality. This proves that many people realize that the key to the future of our water is KIDS.
Visit the site - CLEAN - India
|TVA in Tennessee has set up Watershed Teams for kids who want to be involved in keeping the water clean!
How Can I Help?
Start helping by learning to do things on your own! Kids cannot always wait for an adult to have a great idea. Kids have great ideas and everyone can pitch in and help keep the environment clean. You've already taken the first step by reading this website! Now, get your friends involved and start your own project in your community, town, or city.
Be a volunteer. Get some friends together and monitor a stream by collecting insects that live
in the bottom of the stream. It is a fun and easy way to find
out if the water is clean.
Have a stream walk. This is for groups who want to educate volunteers about pollution problems. Volunteers walk and look to see if the habitat is clean. Don't forget to bring trash bags!
Set up a clean up day at your
local stream, river, pond, lake, or other body of water. You
could announce it in the newspaper, at school, and make flyers
to hang in stores around your town. You could ask volunteers to come and help clean up the trash on the land around the river. Get people with boats or canoes to help clean up the trash and debris in the water. You could even adopt an area and clean it up on a regular basis.
Conduct water chemistry studies. Volunteers can train and learn from someone who helps them conduct water chemistry studies.
Other Ways You Can Help
1. Keep your own yard and neighborhood clean starting
with your own room!
2. Join a group trying to stop pollution.
3. Recycle as much waste as you can.
4. Walk or ride a bicycle instead of riding in a car.
5. Try to buy food that was grown without chemicals or pesticides.
6. Contact your senator or representative and ask them to help with laws to keep the water clean.
There were some good ideas from a website in Australia about ways communities (and kids) can help with monitoring the environment !
Gutter Guardians - a program to monitor and remove leaf litter from gutters.
Drain stenciling - a program that involves learning about storm water pollution and
stenciling local drains with water quality messages.
Idea is from "Water-Learning and Living" in South Australia