By Kristin Rover
Staff, students, and adults in programs at Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities got their hands dirty planting a rain garden June 2 at the Wildey Center campus.
The rain garden is becoming a fixture on the campus thanks to the Clermont County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Duke Energy Foundation.
“This is a nice partnership,” Dan Ottke, assistant superintendent at Clermont DD, said. “It’s an opportunity for our individuals and also to give back to the community.”
Ottke said Clermont DD found out about a grant opportunity for a rain garden through the Clermont County Soil and Water Conservation District.
John McManus, administrator of the Soil and Water Conservation District, said the district gives out $200 grants to home owners interested in building a rain garden.
But when Wildey Center applied, McManus said they felt the organization was better suited for one of the larger rain gardens that the district gets to build as part of a Duke Energy Foundation Grant.
“We applied for the grant through Duke Energy Foundation to plant public demonstration gardens,” McManus said.
McManus said they have already built one garden at Veterans Park in Union Township and said they decided to build their second garden at Wildey Center.
He said rain gardens are beneficial for a variety of reasons.
“What rain gardens do is they capture water and hold it for a day, maybe two,” McManus said.
He said with an increase in development and concrete use, their goal is to get rain water to soak into the ground rather than running off into a drainage basin and into a creek.
“It can also help remove pollutants before it enters the drainage system,” McManus said about a rain garden.
McManus said the rain garden they are building at Wildey Center is in a location where water from the parking lot runs off.
He said the rain garden will enable that water to collect as well as provide a garden for the adults and students in programs at Wildey Center.
Adults and students at Wildey Center were able to help the rain garden come to life June 2 by planting a variety of plants in the garden.
Once it is complete they will also share responsibility in maintaining the garden, according to Ottke.
“This is amazing for them,” Judy Krebs, education coordinator with Clermont DD, said. “For them to be able to join in gives them ownership.”
Tammy Plank, program manager at Clermont DD, said the garden is beneficial in many ways.
“We see a difference in them when they are outside experiencing nature,” Plank said. “It is calming and they enjoy it.”