Clearspring Middle School Rain Garden

Urban rain gardens are innovative and practical solutions designed to capture and filter storm water run-off from buildings and surrounding green space. The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) adopted the Rain Garden Program in 2008 with the hopes of introducing a new way of watershed-thinking into the urban area. As urban development continued on historical agricultural land in the City of Steinbach, the Hanover School Division was committed to implementing sustainable development techniques in the construction of their new Clearspring Middle School (CMS) that would also double as a unique learning opportunity for their students. For the playground, this meant including a rain garden in the design to capture most of the run-off from the roof and green space. Hanover School Division approached the Conservation Disctrict and an agreement was made to cost-share the project, with the SRRCD also taking on the task of organizing the student planting day with the expert assistance of the Steinbach & Area Garden Club.

Before the planting day the SRRCD and the Steinbach & Area Garden Club taught the students about the significance of a rain garden to increase water quality, the techniques involved with building this special water-filtration garden, how rain gardens help to alleviate water quantity and quality concerns resulting from augmented urban development. On the day of the long-awaited rain garden plant, the Steinbach & Area Garden Club members each mentored a group of 5 students to guide them in planting each area of the garden, already prepared with a prescribed mix of sand and compost. They followed the planting guide to ensure each plant would end up in its proper place according to its water needs. The local paper had a chance to interview a few students, who all agreed that planting the rain garden at school was a lot more fun than at home!

The CMS grade 6 and 8 students, with the support of a teacher-lead Sustainability Team, are committed to maintaining the rain garden for the years to come, essentially “passing the torch” as each class moves on.

Goals:

  • Manage urban and agricultural drainage systems to enhance productivity, while minimizing impacts to others
  • Maintain, protect and restore surface and ground water quality in the Red River Basin
  • Improve stakeholder participation and awareness of land and water issues

Proponents:

  • Seine-Rat River Conservation District
  • Hanover School Division
  • Clearspring Middle School Grade 6 & 8 Students
  • Steinbach & Area Garden Club