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Rain Barrel Projects to Benefit Community Gardens

Design Work Rain Barrels Some elementary students in Tonawanda are hoping for a wet spring with plenty of April showers to fill four rain barrels with enough water to irrigate two future community garden projects.

Teams of students at Mullen, Riverview and Fletcher schools are painting the 35-gallon rain barrels with colorful designs. Three of the barrels will be placed at the new Millstream community garden on Luksin Drive, the site of a former school district playground. The community garden will include a new playground and three plots have been dug for gardens for hummingbirds, blue jays, cardinals and finches, a frog pond and a butterfly garden. Construction has an estimated completion in 2017.

Mandy Sampson, a teaching assistant at Riverview, began working with Brian Fose, a city resident who began the Team Up to Clean Up initiative last year, and decided to turn the former school district property into a community garden where children can see nature in their backyard and observe local fauna.

The fourth rain barrel will stay at Riverview Elementary where a beautification project will create a garden near the school building’s sign.

A rain barrel collects and stores rain water from your roof that would otherwise flow across lawns, driveways, roads and parking lots – picking up dirt, oil, fertilizers, and other chemicals along the way before emptying into storm drains or streams. Contaminated stormwater runoff is the number one cause of pollution in our waterways. Rain barrels help reduce the volume of runoff, and therefore its potential to convey pollutants.

Riverview's is complete! The 35-gallon barrels will hold enough water to irrigate many plants in the new gardens. Working on the designs with students are Mrs. Sampson and Rosemary Gresock at Riverview on the barrel that will stay at that school. Leading the student design teams for the Millstream Community Garden are Deb Allen at Riverview, the Lighthouse team at Mullen and Jen Leone at Fletcher.

The Fletcher students are working on their plant and flower designs using Sharpie markers and Mrs. Leone will paint the background and apply polyurethane to protect design.

A grand opening ceremony will be held after all rain barrels are installed. If you would like to help Riverview students and Project Team Up/ Clean Up with the development of this community garden, please contact Mrs. Sampson at  Plenty of opportunities to volunteer will be coming soon as the weather breaks and spring arrives.