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Clean Water Starts Here

Evergreen Rain Garden

Evergreen Rain Garden

SILVER SPRING,Md.-  Evergreen School learned that adults like to play in a garden as much as children like to play on a playground.  And the entire school community celebrated when their rain garden won a top honor at the its 25th annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) award ceremony held by The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) on October 19.

The contest was designed to encourage those in Montgomery County to undertake landscape activities and neighborhood beautification projects that improve the overall appearance of the County.  MCDOT supports beauty without toxicity by encouraging landscaping projects that utilize conservation measures which keep pesticides and fertilizers out of local streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Evergreen’s landscaping project involved transforming its playground into a sustainable rain garden using only native plant species. The new landscape design prevents polluted run-off rain water from flowing into the storm water system and eventually into the Chesapeake Bayby channeling it from the school’s parking lot through a filtration swale and catch basin. Over the course of a year, thousands of gallons of dirty water are kept out of creek and river systems.

The project was completed through the collaborative effort of Evergreen parents, staff, students and volunteers, led by Lourdes Barden, a teacher at Evergreen school. Barden’s students assisted the project by conducting a water flow survey of the school grounds surrounding the play area. The landscape design was created by Beth Knox from Greener than Green Gardens, which specializes in ecological gardening practices.  Bryne Kelly, president of The Greensfield Company, a business dedicated to sustainable landscape architecture completed the excavation and earth-moving.

“It is an honor to be recognized for doing the right thing,” said John DeMarchi, Evergreen’s head of school. “Our garden project was a true community-wide effort, and now we are doing our part to keep tributaries and rivers a little cleaner.”

The rain garden, started in 2009 and completed in 2011, builds on the Evergreen community’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Evergreen is recognized as a green school by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in part because of initiatives like using Clean Currents wind power, promoting no-waste lunches and having an active recycling program.

Evergreen is an independent, co-educational Montessori school for children from two years old through 3rd grade, located in Montgomery County since 1964. The school’s mission is to help each individual reach his or her fullest potential and to prepare them to be independent thinkers, lifetime learners and responsible citizens.

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