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Students Help Design Native Rain Garden

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Students Help Design Native Rain Garden

November 23, 2016

You’ve probably all walked past areas like this on campus: a constantly muddy and torn up patch of grass that is always in a state of trying to regrow. Until last month, the area outside of the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest fit just this description. Instead of letting it go, campus horticulturalist Tim Parsons took a different approach. He enlisted the help of two students, Morgan Raith ‘16.5 and Sage Taber ’16, to redesign the space between the building and the sidewalk closest to Hepburn Road.


Raith and Taber focused their search on native plants that are well adapted to wet soils. “We decided we wanted to create a functional rain garden but also make it possible for the garden to be taught from in the case that Environmental Studies professors found themselves inclined to talk about native plants and their important functions or ‘ecosystem services…’" says Raith.


After completing their research and design for the garden, Raith and Parsons purchased the plants from local nurseries. Parsons led his popular campus tree tour on the Friday afternoon of Fall Family Weekend and enlisted the help of students and visiting families to plant the garden. The transformation from muddy grass to beautiful native rain garden took about 45 minutes and has already made a significant difference in stormwater management.


You can learn more about Tim Parsons’ extensive work on campus by checking out his blog here, and stop by the Franklin Environmental Center to see the garden for yourselves.

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