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Organize a free rain garden tour or presentation for your work group or club! Watch for dates and locations of upcoming public rain garden tours in the summertime.
View the most recent report on the Anchorage Low Impact Development / Rain Garden Program. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support keeps this program growing, your support makes the program thrive.
Urban Forestry and Sustainable Development Conference put on by the state Community Forestry Program at UAA Commons. Rain Garden Programmer Kari Sherman helped lead an LID tour with Tamas Deak and Patricia Joyner during the afternoon portion of the conference. We had about 25 people on the tour. We visited the Alaska Industrial Hardware landscaping, Taku Lake Rain Garden, the airport wetlands and landscaping, Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank Rain Garden, Centerpoint's grass geogrid fire lane, and the new green roof between A and C street. One of the more diverse and comprehensive LID tours in Anchorage. Forestry is closely linked with Low Impact Development as are all plants within our city.
100 Rain Gardens Party! ~ at the Woodland Park Boys and Girls Club Rain Garden with live music by UAA's Jazz Jammers and fresh salmon donated by Steve Ellis. The best part of this year's summer party had to be the friendships made. People have been coming up and telling me, all summer, how they really enjoy the great people they meet through the Rain Garden Program events. It's a non-stop good time, great garden ideas, and tasty treats. Don't miss next year's event!
South Anchorage Rain Garden Tour, 7 rain gardens in 7 miles, by bike or car. There was a good turnout from our core group to visit the rain gardens and learn new bike paths in the south Anchorage area. We saw Klatt Elementary, Taku Lake Park, Campbell Creek Condo Association, and three great residential rain gardens.
The Low Impact Development talk at Loussac Library went great. Kari went a little beyond the basics to inundate the dozen listeners with all she could about plants, water, soil, and city development. If you want strong trees in your city, they need to be watered when it rains, automatically. We not talking water trucks anymore, let LID deliver.
We pulled together thirty hardy, rain garden curious, bike riders for a downtown tour of rain gardens by bike this evening. We visited four lovely residential rain gardens, two public gardens at Westchester Lagoon and Central Middle School, and one little yard with a huge gorgeous berm. Thank you so much to all those who opened their home to show us their garden. It was a fun-tastic event and we plan to do more in the future!
United Way Day of Action, Rain Garden Building at the Woodland Park Boys and Girls Club! Volunteers came out with a bundle of energy and helped us build a beautiful rain garden with the boys and girls at the club. There were some great volunteers out from Enterprise, UAA's chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Green Earth Landworks, and the local community.
The Alaska Mill and Feed Rain Garden Talk was a success! With about twenty people out to learn about rain gardens on a springy Saturday morning, who could ask for more? Talk to your local AK Mill and Feed managers for suggestions on great rain garden plants. They're a great resource!
The Rain Garden Programmer gave a little lunch talk for UAA's American Society of Civil Engineers, student chapter. With about ten students listening and asking great questions we had a lively discussion where everyone learned a bit more about urban stormwater landscapes. We hope to continue to work with ASCE, strong mentors for our community, to build and maintain rain gardens in town.
The Alaska Craftsman Home Program, ACHP, held a Rain Garden Forum (flier) last night. We talked about smart drainage design, protecting your foundation, adding value to your property and helping the environment. One gutter professional in the audience found the information particularly interesting in relation to how he installs gutters. Thanks for the good questions, please follow up for home site visits!
The Girl Scouts of Alaska, Women in Science and Technology day at UAA was a well rounded event. The rain garden program offered a workshop building Flinkers with k-6 grade girls. A flinker is something that doesn't float or sink, it flinks! While building flinkers we talked about various storm water treatment facilities, and how they deal with floating and sunken debris.
Alaska Rural Water Association annual meeting. Kari Sherman presented the basic science behind rain gardens in Anchorage to a well engaged crowd. Presentation was followed by a math activity challenging participants to size rain gardens for hypothetical scenarios.
Annual End of Season Rain Garden Party was a tremendous success! Bringing experience from all walks together in celebration of a common good, the party was well attended. Grilled salmon was moist and the music was hoppin'. Claim Stakers, local bluegrass band provided lovely music for the evening, indoors and out. Hope to see you all again next year, new faces too!
First ever rain garden tour, by BIKE! We had a great turnout of spunky ladies, road all over the Turnagain neighborhood. Took a look at four exemplary rain gardens and even got a surprise rain chain demonstration. Ryan Kennedy turned his garden hose on to show us all how the gutter directs water down the length of a two story rain chain, into a wooden bucket filled with rocks, out the bottom of the bucket into a rock channel, and finally over an 8 inch drop into his rain garden. Keep an eye out in 2012, these bike tours are too fun to miss!
Presentation to the Girdwood Board of Supervisors, Community Council Meeting on the Rain Garden Program. This meeting is also broad cast on the local radio station, expanding the audience for the meeting far greater than those in seats. Well attended, teachers from Girdwood School are moving forward with rain garden plans for this spring.
The Walking Rain Garden Tour was a ball, over 20 people came out for the walk. We met at the Anchorage Senior Center rain garden. From there we took the new trail down to the bridge where we joined the Chester Creek Trail and walked north to view two lovely rain gardens in Airport Heights neighborhood. We had one more garden on our list, across Northern Lights, but with the sun setting and smiles on our faces, we chose to turn for home. Email me to get your own map of this walking tour.
Another rain garden summit! Planners from Kenai Fish and Wildlife Service, Homer Soil and Water Conservation District, and the City of Soldatna, came into Anchorage for the day to tour Anchorage's largest rain gardens. Straight from the airport we piled into an abnormally large van and drove to the star that is Taku Lake Rain Garden. From there it was a whirl of school, business, and park rain gardens, (Klatt Elementary, Mears Middle, Jewel Lake Park, CFAB, Habitat for Humanity apartments) and a slew of shining residential examples. Can't wait to go view rain gardens in these other towns soon. View a map of the tour here!
Rain garden presentation for the managers of AK Mill and Feed. As this business gets up on the rain garden gig, they will be better able to pass their knowledge onto the public. I look forward to offering a rain garden presentation to the public at AK Mill and Feed next spring. Thanks for having me out to speak.
Coordinators from Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District, Matsu Borough, and the Municipality of Anchorage were guided on a tour of rain garden projects in the Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District. We are calling it the first "South Central Alaska Rain Garden Summit." A number of great projects to be seen next time you visit the valley; Idita Park, Meadow Lakes Senior Complex, Big Lake Elementary, and Cottonwood Creek Elementary School all are outfitted with outstanding rain gardens. Keep an eye out at the Recycling Center for a large rain garden coming soon! 7/29/11: Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) has a new rain garden! new rain garden, see a picture here.
The second monthly Tour of Rain Gardens was a grand success. It was a whole new group of people. We met at Taku Lake Demonstration Rain Garden, then traveled to Mears Middle School Rain Garden, Jewel Lake Park Rain Garden, and finished at the Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank Rain Garden. Several tourists signed up for initial site evaluations, others got new ideas for their rain garden plans.
6/10-6/11 The Annual Alaska Botanical Gardens Fair
Another successful fair this year. Another thirty people signed up for more rain garden information. Anyone who saw our touch and feel table on soil but didn't touch it missed out! We had clay, mud, sand, loam, and gravels to touch and feel the differences between.
5/26/11 First Monthly Neighborhood Rain Garden Tour
This was a great first tour for the year. We visited the Mears Rain Garden and three hillside residential rain gardens. Tours will continue throughout the summer. Please contact us if you want to have a tour of the gardens in your neighborhood.
The Scoop the Poop Day events at Connor's Bog and University Lake, Off-leash Dog Parks were a great success. There was a large community turn out from park users and the surrounding neighborhoods. Fecal coliform is the number one pollutant in Anchorage's creeks. Thanks for helping us keep our creeks clean.
Thanks to all who stopped by the Rain Garden booth at the Annual Spring Garden Show at the Mall at Sears. We talked to tons of people, thirty of whole signed up for an initial site visit for next month. Everyone is getting excited about rain gardens this summer.
The Watershed Management Section of the Municipality of Anchorage hosted the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Annual Meeting last month. At this event the Rain Garden Program gave a short presentation about our progress over the last three years. There was a lively panel called "Leave it to Maintenance" on the disconnect between design, construction, and maintenance of storm water controls, along with how we can incorporate more low impact development features into our projects and maintain them for the future.
This is it! Read the Anchorage Rain Garden Program Final Report here. The MOA Watershed Management Division has produced a report to summarize the activities of the Program over the last three years. The report contains statistics on reimbursements distributed, a map of funded rain gardens across the Municipality, and information on Low Impact Development. It all started back in 2007 with a small grant from US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), to design and install the Taku Lake Pilot Rain Garden, the first demonstration rain garden in Anchorage. Over the following three years, with continued support from FWS, the Program has grown into a full blown Low Impact Development (LID) incentive program with benefits for residents and stomwater alike! Still growing, the Program will continue to offer reimbursements for vegetated LID elements, including rain gardens, through November 2012!
Thank you to everyone for a great growing season! There were a total of 31 rain gardens built this summer. Amazing job to those of you who broke ground on the rain garden construction, and to all those who managed to fill the dirt back in and plant, exceptional! Cleaning up runoff is a team effort and we thank you for doing your part!
The Anchorage Waterway's Council hosted a "Meet the Creek" event on the Campbell Creek and Campbell Creek Green Belt (Lake Otis to the New Seward Highway) over the weekend. There were creek walks, informational booths about creeks, and the opportunity to meet and mingle with your local community creek advocates. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to learn how to coordinate your own "Meet the Creek" event next summer.
Loussac Library's "Water Your Mind" series presentation went really well Wednesday night. The cooperation between the Cooperative Extension's Invasive Plants Program, the Native Plants Club, and the Rain Garden Program went over better than we could have hoped. There was a great turnout, we'd like to thank all of your for your attendance, and thank the library for hosting such a good event.
Come on down and check out the new rain garden at Westchester Lagoon Park! A big thanks to the YEP, Youth Employment in the Parks, crew and crew leaders for all their hard work in construction, along with all the behind the scene's work necessary to get these projects in the ground. The YEP folks also put in a days hard work at the Eagle River Common's Park Rain Garden, making it look better than new.
Thanks to all who stopped by the Rain Garden Booth in the Educational Tent at the Alaska Botanical Gardens Fair this past weekend. Despite the less than sweltering weather there was a good turnout of garden enthusiasts and newbies alike.
The Rain Garden Program paired up with Gruening Middle School's National Junior Honor's Society and teacher Terri Semmler to build a small demonstration rain garden the last week of school May, 2010. The rain garden is located in front of the school to the right of the front wall and can be viewed from your vehicle. Check it out next time you're in the area. The students really put a lot of hard work into the ground to get out all the rocks and tight soils, very impressive job guys!
Dimond High School, AP Environmental Science students and teacher Brett Roth built a beautiful rain garden the last week of the school year May, 2010. The garden is located around the back of the school in front of the re-locatable classrooms to the right of the asphalt area across the driveway from the main building. Map of garden location. Thank you to all the local businesses who donated materials to the project, Green Earth Landworks, Anchorage Sand & Gravel, and Evergreen Nursery and Garden Center to name a few contributors. Great work guys!
Rain gardens make a sneak appearance in the 2011 Parade of Homes. Two homes by Cook Inlet Housing Authority feature rain garden landscaping! Who wants to buy a home with a built in watering system for the garden beds? The future will tell. Smart site design pays off for the short and long term!
Channel 2 News Clip! View story here, "Rain Gardens Become Growing Trend in Anchorage. The Municipality's Reimbursement Program Boots Interest."
Mears Middle School Rain Garden had some nice media coverage over the last two week. Channel 2, Channel 11, and KSKA Radio all stopped by the garden to take pictures and chat with us. There were over 200 students involved in the rain garden construction through out the process. A huge thanks to community volunteer and landscape architect Elise Huggins for all her support with this garden. Ian Turner with Chugach National Forest and Jeff Heys of the US Fish and Wildlife Service also contributed to the success of this project. Mears' science teacher Hearther Nissen put in countless hours above and beyond. Thank you everyone for working together to make this garden a success. Link to KSKA article and audio.
Students at Kent State, Ohio made a YouTube documentary on water pollution. The documentary highlights rain gardens as a way to help in your own community. Documentary creators asked to use photos of Anchorage residential rain gardens in their documentary. Watch the video here.
School Business Partnership with Steller Secondary featured in seasonal publication Partnership Press-Fall 2009.
- Anchorage Rain Garden Report 2007-2011
- Rain Gardens: How-To Manual for Homeowners in the Municipality of Anchorage