As part of our Puget Sounds Starts at My School program, supported by grant funding through the Department of Ecology, Snohomish Conservation District constructed and planted a rain garden at St. Mary Magdalen School in south Everett in May of 2019. Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, our Sound Education team worked with teacher Margaret Sprague and her seventh-grade science classes to learn about what a rain garden is and how it helps to keep our water clean and reduce pollution and flooding. Students learned about stormwater engineering and had a visit from SCD engineer Derek Hann. They then researched different aspects of a rain garden installation project including considering how to appeal to stakeholders, which types of plants would be best suited for the different zones of the garden, and how they could involve the community in education about the rain garden.
The Veterans Conservation Corps did the actual construction of the garden next to St. Mary Magdalen’s gym.
As a culmination to their year-long project, the seventh-grade students led the rest of school in planting the rain garden. Over 250 students, from Kindergarten through 7th grade, made their mark on the school by putting a native plant in the ground. Margaret Sprague said that this project was her students’ favorite project of the year. This rain garden will divert 79,000 gallons of stormwater per year. Tangible and hands-on learning has a lingering impact.