It says a lot about a school, business or organization that goes out of its way to implement an environmentally friendly project on its grounds. Lately I have been wondering why so many asphalt parking lots continue to get built, when we have the ability to install permeable surfaces. I would think that the City would have an issue with new asphalt parking lots, when at the same time it is trying to figure out the problem of rain water runoff that enters the outdated Combined Sewer System, which eventually overflows into our waterways (during heavy rain storms). It seems like there’s a lot of talk these days, without a lot of action.
Fortunately there is a new generation of Buffalonians who are learning the environmental ropes early on. Students and faculty at Elmwood Village Charter School (EVCS) have installed a rain garden to show that they can make a difference when it comes to protecting our natural resources. The garden was designed to retain water runoff from an EVCS parking lot on Hudson Street. The garden not only is efficient, it also looks great with all of the perennials that have been planted by the students – win-win!
Another important aspect of the project is the lessons that are taught in the classroom. The students learn about the environmental issues, and then apply real world applications to combat the problems. These are life lessons that they will take with them, and eventually teach their own kids someday.
The initiative was made possible through a partnership with The Kleinhans Community Association (KCA), along with grants from FreshWater Futures and Garden Walk of Buffalo. A decision was made to retain the services of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) to install the gardens. A design crew from Eco-logic STUDIOs was brought onboard to create a storm water management plan, which will ultimately serve as an outdoor classroom.
“Kansas City, Missouri, for instance, began a public initiative encouraging businesses and citizens to create 10,000 new rain gardens to improve water quality throughout the city,” stated EVCS. “Buffalo needs this type of governmental leadership to prompt homeowners and businesses to think about what they can do to keep rainwater run-off out of the sewer system. Elmwood Village Charter School and the surrounding neighborhood are proud to be a leader in promoting green infrastructure and to educate a new generation on what can be done to clean up our waterways.”