At the start of this week I was able to visit the Dominion middle school rain garden and nursery and speak with its founder Marsha Bracken. The Rain garden is not yet two years old and already looks pretty mature and currently has butterfly weed in full bloom.
This rain garden is located at the entrance of the school’s parking lot and was previously just a curb island covered in grass. Planted and modified this rain garden now filters rain water, serves as habitat, and is a much more pleasing sight to be had.
This picture shows the intake from the parking lot. As you can see sediment has drained from the parking lot into the artificial rip rap. The rip rap helps to break the flow of the water and slows it down. If not for this piece of green infrastructure all that sediment would stay suspended in the water and would add to the already murky state of the Olentangy and Scioto rivers.
In this picture you can see a species of Coneflower and other blooming natives in the background. These native species work to slowly filter the water back into the ground and also help filter the nutrients that could otherwise lead to algal blooms in a larger body of water. This also helps sort out other petroleum based sediments from the parking lot.
This Butterfly weed, a member of the milkweed family will be visited by pollinators and will also host the larva of butterflies such as the Queen or the Monarch.
Ms. Bracken also established a nursery behind the school in which her students start seeds taken from the rain garden, start them indoors and then plant them behind the school. This she hopes can be used for starting other rain gardens in the area while also aiding in her in the classroom as an educational project.