Building Rain Gardens
Through the Students for Stormwater project, we’re designing, building and maintaining six school rain gardens in the Credit River Watershed. With the help from students and their teachers, we’re designing unique gardens at the following schools:
- Belfountain Public School
- Credit Valley Public School
- Janet I. McDougald Public School
- Mineola Public School
- Our Lady of Fatima
- Whitehorn Public School
The Benefits of Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are a type of low impact development and help us adapt to climate change. We’re seeing more rain and heavy rainfall. These gardens will slow down, soak up and filter rainwater coming from nearby rooftops, driveways and parking lots before flowing into the stormwater system. As the water flows into the garden, the plants and layers of soil clean the water as it soaks into the ground. Rain gardens help to keep our streams, rivers and lakes clean while reducing localized flooding. They reduce pressure on municipal stormwater systems, improve schoolgrounds and build climate change resilience in our communities.
Once the rain gardens are complete, they will provide a great learning tool and outdoor classroom for teachers and students.
Building the Rain Gardens
In the last 10 years, we’ve installed five school rain gardens. We’re building off that success and completing six rain gardens within a short three-year window, reducing the overall cost per project and getting more rain gardens in the ground faster..
The project will span over three years from 2020 to 2023.
The first step to building a rain garden is to complete a site investigation. CVC staff visit the schools and walk the properties to find the best location for the rain garden. A team of experts at CVC work together to understand the existing drainage systems by conducting detailed drainage mapping and modelling. With this information, we determine the size of rain gardens based on the soil and site conditions. This ensures the gardens are both beautiful and functional for stormwater quantity and quality control.
Students at each school are involved in the design process virtually. Students watch a video about rain gardens and learn how they can help to design the rain gardens. After watching the video, students cast their vote to pick which plants and other features they would like in the rain garden at their school.
Construction began at the first three schools in fall 2021. A contractor removed sod and completed minor excavation according to the designs. Construction of the final three rain gardens is starting 2022.
Students, teachers and volunteers have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and help plant the rain gardens. The rain gardens are planted with native plants to improve the biodiversity at each school.
Once the rain gardens are complete, students will care for the rain gardens completing tasks like weeding and watering. The rain gardens also provide a safe space for outdoor and hands-on learning.
Janet I. McDougald P.S.
This projet was undertaken with the financial support from the Government of Canada’s Federal Department of Environment and Climate Change through the EcoAction Community Funding Program.