Volunteers Get Dirty for Rain Garden Installation

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Saturday, June 30th The Rain Garden Network helped install a Rain Garden at the Tennis and Health Club with various volunteers.

After attending a presentation for the Village of Park Forest done by the Rain Garden Network last fall, the Environmental Conservation Commission became interested and began working with them.

Sue Cubberly and her husband Frank, with the Network, explained the necessity of these gardens. They prevent the overcrowding of storm sewers and storm water pollution. Rain gardens help eliminate flooding and the cost of waste water. Polluted urban runoff is lowered significantly.

The company has been around for four years. However, Sue says two years ago the company started to intensify its work. Rain gardens began to take off in parts of Minnesota, Rock Island, and Moline.

Frank Cubberly feels that one must begin looking at the larger picture when it comes to the environment and water conservation.

“How does it start and how does it end?” asks Cubberly.

He urges people to think about how all bodies of water are ultimately connected, going all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

This slide show has photographs from Saturday's installation of the rain garden, courtesy Wendy Heise.  Arrows to navigate are at each side of each photo:

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Volunteers who participated were members from the park district, the Garden Club, Environmental Conservation Commission members Dave Bartlett and Jim Saxton, Village Trustees Mae Brandon, Gary Kopycinski, Bonita Dillard, and Dillard's grandson Evan, age 10, from Michigan.

Sue McCarthy, Sheila French Smith, and Marva King, Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois extension service were in also in attendance. Armed with trowels and extensive gardening knowledge, Sue McCarthy explained that they came to know about the Rain Garden Network at a Master Gardeners conference and how important it is for Chicago to embrace this technique.

Irene Van Der Hoek lived in Park Forest for many years and has always been interested in helping the environment. Van Der Hoek emphasizes the key role for helping the environment is education. She also suggests that due to this particular rain gardens location, directly across from Rich East High School, perhaps information about these gardens can be incorporated into the science curriculum.

“Through education is where we can make a large impact”, says Van Der Hoek.

The environmental impact of these gardens is important, but one might question how practical and cost efficient they are.

According to Sue Cubberly, the cost is not outrageous. For residential gardens it is approximately $10 to $12 per square foot and $12 to $15 for commercial projects.

Also, these gardens are relatively low maintenance. Watering these plants is not a high priority. Spring and beautification maintenance may be necessary, however.

For this particular rain garden, the village and the Raingarden Network worked together. The Network did the planning and the village did the excavating, which took three days according to Parks Superintendent Rob Gunther.

This garden makes use of 7 of the building's drainpipes and almost a quarter of the water runoff.

With over 20 volunteers in attendance, it was a heartwarming experience to see members of the community working together, not afraid to get a little dirty, for a greater cause.

"It was built as a demonstration, and our hope is that people will want rain gardens for their own homes," said Commissioner Dave Bartlett, "They can even help prevent flooding of basements during heavy downpours."

Main page photo: Trustee Bonita Dillard with her grandson, Evan. (Photo: Wendy Heise)