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Rain Gardens Will Continue To Be Installed Across Campus

By Justin Hardesty; For The Clock
On February 8, 2016

Rain Gardens Will Continue To Be Installed Across Campus

Justin Hardesty
For The Clock
jvhardesty@plymouth.edu

In September, students in the class Sustainability in Residences began work on the new rain gardens located next to the main entrance of Lamson Library. Professor Steve Whitman, the 11 students, Sherri Covell and Jody Schaefer of Physical Plant carefully removed the existing plants and regraded the area. This will allow water to seep into the soil rather than flowing directly into the storm drains. Then they added a variety of suitable plants so that the area will now function as a rain garden. Three separate workdays were needed to finish the project.

“These two rain gardens surround existing storm drains and work by mitigating pollutants that would otherwise flow into the Pemigewasset River,” said Professor Steve Whitman. “Rain gardens help slow down, spread and infiltrate water into the soil—this process hydrates the soil, creating a beautiful landscapes that supports a healthier environment.”

Before the work sessions began, students designed the landscape with plants thought to work best in this specific location. Physical Plant then reviewed the design with final plant selections, and provided the equipment and oversight during the project. “The student and university collaboration was very beneficial for both parties,” said student Emily Hyde. “Students used the knowledge they gained from class to create a suitable design. Staff from Physical Plant then gave feedback to further improve the design based on their experience.”

These students are leading the way for a new ‘Campus as a Sponge’ initiative. In years to come, members of the community will see new rain gardens implemented throughout campus. In spring of 2016, students will begin designing rain gardens that will be constructed in front of the ALLWell North facility.

“When I first started working here at Plymouth State University Grounds Dept. as the Gardener, I never realized how much I would appreciate having students work with me, and how I could positively impact their lives,” said Covell. “ “This collaboration gave me an opportunity to share something I have passion for with a larger group of students that I normally do. So, what do I think of student collaboration? I think it’s fantastic.”

Professor Steve Whitman and his students would like to give a special thank you to Physical Plant for assisting with this project.

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