Students Slowing Stormwater: Raingers Training Starts Now!
No, we didn’t spell it wrong.
Introducing Hamilton’s newest youth profession: Raingers. Move aside Rangers, we’ve got a new group in town and these Raingers are taking Hamilton by storm, literally! Green Venture and the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) have teamed up to train and inspire students to be active keepers of our water. Entrusted with the important job of protecting and preserving the Hamilton Harbour Watershed we will empower our young leaders to make lasting change. These Raingers have a big responsibility!
In the natural environment, rainwater moves slowly through the land. Once in the soil, rainwater that is not absorbed by plants will eventually recharge the groundwater table or enter creeks. Approximately 10% of rainwater that falls in a forest will leave as runoff. The rest is absorbed by plants, evaporates or soaks into the soil.
In urbanized environments most to all of the historical landscapes have been paved over. Rain flows quickly over impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways and parking lots. Rather than entering the soil the water is redirected to nearby storm drains. This water picks up pollutants along the way such as road salts, fertilizers and motor oil. These pollutants enter storm drains and are conveyed quickly to our streams and Hamilton Harbour.
Through a hands on experiential stormwater management education program, Raingers will learn about the serious problems relating to stormwater and runoff including environmental and water quality degradation. Inside the classroom students will use model homes to measure stormwater, incorporating low impact development techniques such as rain barrels, disconnecting downspouts and rain gardens to capture stormwater before it hits the storm drain. The Raingers will then enter the urban environment (i.e. go outside) on an investigative journey to identify where water flows around their school and neighbourhood. The final step in training is when we see how far these students are willing to dig to create positive change. They will help to plant a rain garden at their very own school – capturing stormwater, reducing stormwater pollution and ultimately, protecting our watershed.
Rain gardens provide a perfect setting to teach about water quality, habitat creation and the impact of student actions on protecting Hamilton Harbour and its watershed. The native plants and species in a rain garden have high tolerance for excess moisture and increased levels of nutrients often found in stormwater. These gardens can be a powerful tool to make connections between land development, water quality, and personal actions. Today, a new era in stormwater management in dawning: managing rain where it falls, before it runs off.
What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a sunken garden (typically 4-8 inches deep) planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses designed to capture, absorb and naturally filter stormwater. A strategically placed rain garden will intercept the flow of stormwater and allow water to slowly infiltrate into the ground rather than contribute to stormwater runoff. Compared to a conventional patch of lawn, a rain garden increases ground water infiltration by about 30%.
The Raingers Rain Garden program is available to any school in the Hamilton Harbour Watershed. For more information about our Raingers Rain Garden program please contact Program Coordinator Laura Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905 540 8787 ext 158