If you have driven by the Rotary International Park on Rt. 419 recently, you have probably noticed construction activity. Work has begun on a new section of the Roanoke River Greenway. Eric Divers, a senior at Salem High School, is building a rain garden at the park for his Eagle Scout project.
The rain garden will capture storm water that will run off the new visitors parking lot. Rain gardens are an eco-friendly way to help prevent storm water from taking soil and other pollutants into rivers. Government studies have shown that as much as seventy percent of pollution in our rivers comes from storm water. The selection of the plants/shrubs/trees for the garden is based upon their ability to tolerate our climate and withstand dry to flood conditions.
Eric first became interested in the Valley Greenway project when he was assigned to work on a section of the Tinker Creek Greenway Trail as a volunteer with the Global Youth Service Day two years ago. “When I heard about the need for a rain garden at the Rotary Park, it seemed perfect for my Eagle Scout project,” he said.
While his garden will be 20′ by 100′, most rain gardens are much smaller. Many homeowners plant rain gardens to help with the water run off from their driveway or the roof of their house.
Eric is the son of Robert and Jackie Divers of Salem. He is a member of BSA Troop 51 which is sponsored by the First United Methodist Church in Salem.
Photos by Casey Dillon
Submitted by Eric Divers
To see where Eric got a lot of his research material as well as a how-to for homeowners, keep reading for a list of sites he provided:
A lot of information is available on the internet about this type of garden. Sites that were helpful are from the Virginia Department of Forestry: http://www.dof.virginia.gov/mgt/resources/pub-Rain-Garden-Tech-Guide_2008-05.pdf and the Virginia Cooperative Extension: http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-043/426-043.html.
A good “how to” manual for homeowners (which has sample garden designs) is published by the City of Des Moines: http://www.ci.des-moines.ia.us/departments/PR/Urban_Gardens/Homeowners%20Manual.pdf. You just have to substitute plants that would thrive in our climate.