Monday, March 4, 2013

Be the Next Rain Water Steward on Your Block! Sign Up For a Rain Garden Class!

Want to build a rain garden but not sure where to start?  We can
help you from start to finish.  Sign up for our classes!
by Sage Passi

Stopping Water Where It Drops, our free rain garden class series for the public, kicks off in April. (Details here) This is your chance to be a role model on your block! In 2006 we initiated a pilot program to train Master Gardeners to mentor schools, residents and churches to build rain gardens in their yards to address storm water run-off issues and to help improve water quality in our local lakes and rivers. Over the years, this training process has sprouted many demonstration projects throughout the watershed district. Each year we learn more about the art form of teaching rain garden design and construction. There’s always a lot to learn so come join us!

Ramsey Gardener, Carol Mason Sherrill measures the drainage area by calculating the roof area for a demonstration rain garden project in the Battle Creek neighborhood.  She partnered with Battle Creek Middle School students to provide assistance to several residents in St. Paul who live near Battle Creek.

Maplewood has been promoting rain garden education for the
public for many years.  Our introductory class for the
Stopping Water Where It Drops series kicks off at the
Maplewood Library on April 18th.
The City of Maplewood is a great partner in teaching the public. They team with us each year to put on these classes. You don’t have to be an engineer to take our workshops. We can help you through the process from start to finish. After all Maplewood knows a lot about building them – the city has created over 700 city rain gardens as a part of their street reconstruction efforts!

Our classes are taught by technical advisors from Ramsey Conservation District. They are known for their fun approach to teaching and their expertise in rain garden design. Get ready to be inspired and take the first class in the series on April 18. Learn why, where and how to build a rain garden in your yard.

The second in the rain garden series, "Site Assessment: Drainage
and Soils" puts a participant's muscles to the test while she
performs the soil auguring test at a residence in North St. Paul.
Get your hands dirty and join us on May 2nd for the second class, a hands-on field session at a home in North St. Paul. In that workshop you will learn how to assess your yard, calculate the run-off that comes from your site, learn about the type of soils you have, figure out how large to make your rain garden and determine how fast water soaks into the ground in your yard.

In the third class, having applied what you have learned in the first two classes, join us at Maplewood Nature Center on May 22 and we’ll help you come up with some basic planting plans for your own rain garden. Get inspired by the Master Gardeners on hand who will be there to provide personalized advice. Our technical consultants, in the meantime, can provide further advice through a home visit and walk you through our cost share application process. They can develop a design and provide technical consultation.

Our Best Management Incentive Program can even help you pay for your rain garden if you live within the District! You can even hire a contractor if that is the route you’d like to take and these funds will pay for that. Click here for more details on this cost-share opportunity. Staff from Ramsey and Washington Conservation Districts will provide technical assistance through this program.

Kris Gjerde's rain garden in the Battle Creek neighborhood before the sod is stripped and the ground is excavated (left) and after the rain garden installation (right).  She and her husband worked through the BMP program to receive consultation and cost share funds. 

Kris Gjerde's rain garden one year later.

Already Have a Rain Garden But Need Some Help? Don’t Despair!
“Divide and Conquer!”

A rain garden that could use a
little help.
Maplewood has added two new classes to the series for those of you who already have a rain garden but are experiencing some challenges. The titles of these classes resonate with a lot of us who have a few “bugs” we’d like to work out in our gardens. If you have a rain garden that needs some TLC, check out these two classes, “Rain Garden Rescue” on April 25 and “Divide and Conquer In Your Rain Garden” on May 16. I’m guessing that those of you who sign up for these two classes will appreciate learning some tips for taming your garden.

So whether your yard is a blank slate just waiting for a rain garden or if you've got one installed that needs taming, sign up for a class or the series by contacting us today and join the hundreds of stewards who are taking on the challenge of “Stopping Water Where It Drops.” Together we can help protect our lakes, wetlands and streams!

Registration information, dates and phone numbers to get more details at - scroll down to Events & Workshops.

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